The Midwestern US State of Missouri has beautiful State Parks, rivers, caves and rolling wine country. Missouri's rich history - dating from westward expansion in the US and the Civil War - compliments today's exciting art, culture and jazz scene. Check out www.visitmo.com to discover casinos, wineries, museums, golf courses in abundance - plus fascinating cities such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and of course, the music capital of Branson.
There is truly something for everyone in the diverse state Missouri. There are outdoor activities such as boating and golf. You can explore quaint small towns rich in history and cosmopolitan cities. And you will discover every type of music including Kansas City Jazz, St. Louis Blues and the incredible variety of shows in Branson.
With 87 state parks and historic sites, Missouri State Parks has something for everyone. Visit the homes of famous Missourians, Civil War battlefields, and reminders of yesterday such as gristmills and covered bridges. The State parks also protect and preserve the state's most outstanding landscapes - deep forests, glades, prairies, blue streams and clear lakes - for everyone's enjoyment.
Opening summer of 2016, Echo Bluff State Park will be Missouri’s 88th State Park and an outdoor destination to experience all that the Ozarks have to offer. Whether you prefer a rustic campsite, one of 62 full-service camping sites or a night in the park’s iconic lodge, will have something for everyone. Fill your days with floating, hiking, swimming, fishing - or just relaxing in the shadow of the park’s namesake, Echo Bluff.
Outside of the State Park system there are many outdoor adventure opportunities in Missouri as well. Dogwood Canyon Nature Park covers 10,000 acres of pristine Ozark Mountain landscape and the park has miles of crystal-clear trout streams and dozens of cascading waterfalls. Acquired by Bass Pro Shops’ founder Johnny Morris in 1990, the park is managed by the Dogwood Canyon Foundation. Activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, Segway tours, fishing and more!
Other exciting adventures in Missouri include a ride aboard an electric cart for an exhilarating two-and-a-half mile nature trail journey when you visit the "Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail" at the Top Of The Rock in the Ozarks. Pass through covered Amish bridges and marvel at dramatic natural rock formations, waterfalls and caves.
A trip to Missouri is to travel through time – journey from the time of the explorers Lewis and Clark who opened up Westward expansion, to the of-the-moment glitz of Branson’s bright lights. And your journey takes you across varied landscapes from the Eastern boundary of the State formed by the Mississippi River to the Western boundary with Kansas and Oklahoma.
Astride the Mississippi, St Louis is a joy to visit. One of the most popular sights is the famous Gateway Arch, which celebrates Lewis and Clark's great adventure and defines St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West”. This stainless steel architectural masterpiece is the icon of the city and arguably of the State itself. It blends history (there is an excellent museum and giant screen film devoted to Lewis and Clark) with the modernity and symbolism of the Arch itself. Visitors ascended in a tiny elevator pod 630 feet above the Mississippi River for magnificent views from the apex.
The most perplexing aspect about St Louis is which of the many attractions to visit! New this year is the National Blues Museum. Few forms of American music can claim a history as long, as tradition-rich, and as complex as the Blues. Since its origins in the Deep South long ago, the Blues has been a bedrock for virtually all American popular music of the last hundred-plus years. The National Blues Museum is the only museum dedicated exclusively to preserving and honoring the national and international story of the Blues and its impact on American culture in the United States.
America’s largest brewery, the Anheuser- Busch Brewery, also has its home in St Louis. Home to Budweiser, the tour of this huge complex is entertaining and informative – from the Clydesdale horses to the mysteries of the brewing process. And a visit to the Saint Louis Zoo is great fun. It is set in 90 acres of beautiful Forest Park and the Zoo is home to more than 600 species of animals, many of them rare and endangered. It is also one of the few free zoos in the nation.
In Kansas City, a four billion dollar construction boom has created an energy about the city and resulted in some magnificent architectural additions to the Art Deco skyline. Visitors to the National World War One Museum will discover themselves on a glass floor suspended over a field of poppies one minute, then immersed in the sights and sounds of the trenches the next.
Kansas City is also home to the American Jazz Museum. From world class performances, award winning venues and exceptional educational programming - to striking jazz art exhibitions and stunning film collections – this is the destination for all things Jazz!
As well as taking in Missouri’s cities, any visit to the Mid-West has to include a road trip! And Missouri is home to more than 280 miles of Route 66 - the “Mother Road” - one of the most famous highways in the United States. And the Missouri section features some of the Route’s most historic tourist attractions as it meanders through the South West corner of the State.
Missouri also has a rich history to explore, including three hundred national historic districts. You can retrace the steps of outlaw Jesse James, revisit the Pony Express, relive the river adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer and walk the Santa Fe Trail. Visitors keep returning to Missouri. And when you come back, there's always something new.
The music capital of Branson is a remarkable vacation destination. It has 49 magnificent live performance theatres, more than 100 shows, pristine lakes, 10 championship golf courses, an award-winning theme park, dozens of attractions and museums, shopping galore, varied dining options and a host of hotels and resorts... all cradled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. The current $80 million dollar project to transform West Highway 76 will add even more fun and a unique sense of place to an already memorable visitor experience.
Branson is a great destination for fun family with indoor and outdoor water parks, museums and many fun eating places. Branson Landing Mall is home to over 100 shops and restaurants, as well as the Hilton Promenade Hotel and a $7.5 million water and fire spectacular.
Kids and grown-ups alike will also love “Titanic” – billed as the world’s largest museum attraction. This is a brilliantly interpreted self-guided tour through the tragic voyage of 1912, in which the visitors assume the identity of one of the passengers or crew. It personalizes the experience, generating a new level of respect and understanding for this fascinating disaster.
From the past to the here-and-now: Branson is the entertainment capital of the Mid West. For more than 50 years, live shows have been a staple of a vacation in Branson. Morning, afternoon and night, Branson offers a variety of entertainment options for every member of the family from comedy shows to classic country shows…..and from magic to music. All are good, wholesome family entertainment. No showgirls here – you can take your kids and your grandma to any of them.
Branson continues to reinvent itself each year with an exciting new line up of shows. So, for instance, at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center there are two Holiday Shows. The year will end with the return of "Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza" between November 1 - December 9, 2016. This is Branson's most popular Christmas show! But, in addition, for the first time Hallmark Presents "Maxine's Christmas Carol" November 1 - December 10, 2016.
Maxine will star in a live-action musical version of A Christmas Carol. The bright lights of Branson are set to shine on a brand new star of the stage, although there's a good chance she might find a reason to complain about them. During the 2016 Christmas season, Maxine, Hallmark Cards' self-appointed "Queen of Crabbiness," will star in "Maxine's Christmas Carol", a twist on the Charles Dickens' classic Holiday story, "A Christmas Carol."
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