5 Missouri Vacation Ideas the Whole Family Will Love
Missouri is filled with fun, family-friendly activities—it is the Show Me State, after all. Having too many vacation options might not be as fun as it sounds though, because you do eventually have to narrow down your choices. Here are five options for family fun in Missouri to help you pick a destination for a memorable vacation.
Be Entertained in Branson
Whether your kids enjoy musicals or a magic show, Branson has it all. Or if a date night, dinner show or classical music are more up your alley, Branson has you covered there too. Check out Presley's Country Jubilee (2920 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson, MO) for both music and comedy in a family-friendly atmosphere. The Grand Country Music Hall (1945 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson, MO) has an action-packed schedule each year, including a show that focuses on talented pets. Branson has outdoor activities to keep you busy after you get your fill of theaters too. Silver Dollar City (399 Silver Dollar City Parkway, Branson, MO) is a standout on TripAdvisor, offering a wooden roller coaster, an area especially for younger kids and a cave to explore. Visit in September to take part in the Autumn Daze Festival, which takes place downtown and offers arts, crafts and a musical festival.
Go Back in Time in Historic Hannibal
About two hours northwest of St. Louis, Hannibal is the hometown of author Mark Twain and “unsinkable” Molly Brown, a Titanic survivor. Fans of history will definitely get their fill, thanks to museums galore. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum (120 N. Main St., Hannibal, MO) comprises eight museums and other buildings, including a Tom and Huck statue. The museum suggests beginning at its Interpretive Center (415 N. Main St., Hannibal, MO). Kids will enjoy the Hannibal Trolley Company Sightseeing Tours (220 N. Main St., Hannibal, MO), which takes visitors to many of the town’s important places via trolley. If you’re visiting in the summer, don’t miss National Tom Sawyer Days, a multiday festival featuring contests, sports, fireworks and other activities.
Find Variety in St. Louis
If you crave a more big-city adventure and all the excitement it offers, it doesn’t get much bigger than St. Louis. The Gateway Arch, standing 630 feet high, will help you get the lay of the land. Purchase tickets at the Ticketing and Visitor Center (11 N. Fourth Street, St. Louis, MO) and walk about eight blocks to enter the arch. For a more up-close-and-personal experience, head to the Saint Louis Zoo (1 Government Drive, St. Louis, MO), which has 90 animal-filled acres to wander. One of the best parts? It's free. After you check out the lions and tigers, head to the City Museum (750 N. 16th St., St. Louis, MO). It was made with kids in mind, as is evident from the giant slides, Ferris wheel on the roof and large ball pit.
Get Back to Nature near Springfield
Springfield might be Missouri’s third-largest city, but it’s not all urban concrete. In fact, your family will find plenty of things to do in the outdoors not far from the city. An hour and a half northeast is the largest state park in Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks State Park (403 Route 134, Kaiser, MO). There you’ll find camping, tours through the Ozark Caverns from May to September and plenty of hiking trails for both the smallest and more experienced hikers. Less of a trek is the Springfield Botanical Gardens (2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, MO), which has multiple play areas and is filled with small gardens focusing on certain flowers or plants, such as the Wildflower Garden and the Ethnic Trail of Trees.
Enjoy Animals and Eats in Kansas City
Good barbecue is a Kansas City staple and the perfect focus of a foodie family vacation. Rated highly by sites like TripAdvisor and the Travel Channel, Jack Stack Barbecue (4747 Wyandotte St., Kansas City, MO) is a bit fancier than your normal barbecue joint and would make for a good date night. When dining with kids, check out Arthur Bryant's BBQ (1727 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, MO) for legendary ribs and a variety of barbecue sauces. Once you’ve had your fill, it’s time to meet the animals who dwell in the city. The Kansas City Zoo (6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, MO) has entertaining shows with birds and sea lions, as well as “zookeeper chats” where visitors can ask questions about the hippos, goats, polar bears and other animals. Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium (2475 Grand Ave., Kansas City, MO) values conservation and offers fun in the form of an interactive “doodle reef” and an exhibit all about crabs called Claws.