After taking a week off, our online road trip is heading to Missouri. We are halfway through the country — we’ve been traveling alphabetically — and we are still thrilled by the sights our nation has to offer. We suggest that, while in Missouri, you take a look at the world’s largest fork, the world’s largest Amoco sign and world’s second largest rocking chair. After all, what’s the fun of a road trip if you don’t stop for local color?
We wanted to get outside this weekend, with the days getting warmer and with longer daylight hours! The state is home to a Six Flags amusement park, but we like visiting places that are a little more relaxed than that. However, a Six Flags is excellent if you have kids on your road trip or if you’re a thrill seeker.
Times Beach/Route 66 State Park
We suggest hitting the former town of Times Beach, located off Route 66. After a man sprayed motor oil laced with toxic waste over 23 miles of road to fight a dust problem, the EPA evacuated the entire town in 1982. People were ordered to take nothing with them. In 1999, after a massive cleanup campaign, the EPA announced the town was safe. The area was converted into the Route 66 State Park. Today, it’s a spot for hiking, fishing, horseback riding and more, with picnic areas and playgrounds. There is also, as you might expect, a museum about Times Beach and the history of Route 66. Get more info.
Missouri Botanical Garden
In 1859, Henry Shaw founded the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. One hundred and sixty years later, the garden is still open and is now a National Historic Landmark, considered one of the top three botanical gardens in the world. It is also the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the U.S. It features 79 acres of carefully grown plants and manicured landscapes including indoor conservatories and international gardens. The park also has beautiful works of art, like Chihuly’s giant glass sculptures. There are educational experiences and demonstrations. People rave about the Japanese garden, feeding the koi and visiting Henry Shaw’s 1850 house. Learn more!
Ulysses S. Grant built a log cabin on the land that now houses and wildlife conservation and preservation site. More than 900 animals from more than 100 species live on the “farm” owned by the former beer-brewing Busch family. The spot is also home to the Budweiser Clydesdales; they are the largest herd of Clydesdale horses on Earth. There is an amphitheater for educational shows about many, many of the animals who live there. Additionally, there is a tram tour to see the bison, zebras and more that have a natural habitat to roam. And you can feed exotic animals like camels. Parking is $15 but admission is free, and adults can have two free beers. Find out more.
Fantastic Caverns lives up to its name. And, for people with mobility issues, it’s a great spot. The site calls itself America’s Ride-Thru Cave. Because the caves are vulnerable to damage, instead of walking, tours are conducted on Jeep-drawn trams! The caverns were discovered in 1862 and feature columns that stretch ceiling to floor, shimmering stalactites and more. Plan your visit!
We hope you’ve had a wonderful digital visit to Missouri. If you were to plan a trip, what sights would you want to see?