There is no doubt of the beauty of nature. It amazes and transforms the human soul. Sometimes, man takes this nature and converts it into something equally awe-inspiring. Whether it be our man-made lakes, architecture, art, or a recreation of nature itself, we are amazed by the brilliance of these wonders.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Truman Reservoir
The Truman Reservoir (also known as Truman Lake) is the largest man-made lake in Missouri. Its 55,600 acres offer 958 miles of coastline. It is located on the Osage River between Clinton and Warsaw, and extends south to Osceola. Truman dam created the lake and manages the lake's water level. It is located in Benton County.
2. Lake of the Ozarks
The 54,000-acre reservoir named Lake of the Ozarks was created by impounding the Osage River in the northern part of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Parts of three smaller tributaries to the Osage, the Niangua River, Grandglaize Creek, and Gravois Creek, are included in the impoundment. It features 1,150 miles of shoreline in total. The total drainage area is over 14,000 square miles. The lake has been given the nickname “The Magic Dragon” due to its serpentine shape.
3. Bull Shoals Lake
Another beautiful man-made lake in the Ozarks is Bull Shoals Lake. It is located in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. It has hundreds of miles of arms and coves that are perfect for water recreation. There are 19 developed parks around the shoreline that provide campgrounds, boat launches, swim areas, and marinas.
4. Table Rock Lake
A very popular destination near Branson, Table Rock Lake is another of the Ozark’s beautiful artificial lakes. Impounded by Table Rock Dam, it was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1954-1958 on the White River. The beautiful Table Rock State Park is located on the east side, both north and south of Table Rock Dam. In addition, the Missouri Department of Conservation operates a fish hatchery downstream from the dam. The hatchery is is used to stock trout in nearby Lake Taneycomo.
5. Hidden Valley Ski Mountain
Not enough snow for a ski resort in Missouri? This was no problem for Tim Boyd, owner of Hidden Valley Ski Area in the St. Louis suburb of Wildwood. He just made the snow. He started with only one run in 1982. Today, nearly every square inch of skiable terrain at the resort relies on man-made snow.
Hidden Valley uses 110 elevated snow fans that together bury 30 acres under a foot of snow in 24 hours. The warmer climate in Missouri creates even more obstacles. Although the resort may not be Boyd’s most profitable resort, it prevails due to its low cost, convenient location, and lack of nearby competition. It is located in the bluffs above the Meramec River.
6. The Gateway Arch
Perhaps one of the world’s most impressive man-made wonders, The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot monument in St. Louis. It is the world’s tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri’s tallest accessible building.
The stainless steel arch was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It has become the symbol of St. Louis internationally. The arch sits at the site of St. Louis' founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River.
The Gateway Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947. Construction of the monument did not occur until 1963 and was completed in 1968. It opened to the public on June 10, 1967.
7. Missouri Botanical Gardens
The Missouri Botanical Garden is also known as Shaw’s Garden. It was founded by Henry Shaw in 1859, and is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the country. It is made up of 79 acres of gardens and historic structures, and is a National Historic Landmark. It is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard.
8. City Museum
The City Museum in St. Louis is difficult to describe. It's not much like a museum at all, really, but rather some crazy 600,000 square foot funhouse.
City Museum is the brain child of sculptor Bob Cassilly. In 1983 he bought an old shoe factory in downtown St. Louis and proceeded to install complex caves, a 10-story slide, a rooftop Ferris wheel, a ball pit and a massive jungle gym made from old airplanes and a fire truck. The building was transformed into a wonderland, named the City Museum, and opened to the public in 1997. Now it attracts over 700,000 visitors each year.
9. Lake Taneycomo
Lake Taneycomo originated upon the completion of the Powersite Dam near Forsyth in 1913. It is a man-made lake or reservoir located on the White River in Taney County. From 1913 until 1958 it was a warm water lake. The Missouri Department of Conservation constructed the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery on the lake in 1957. It is a destination for a variety of activities including hiking, fishing, swimming, hunting, boating and water skiing.
10. Pensmore Mansion, Highlandville
The 72,000 square feet all concrete Pensmore Mansion is being constructed in the hills South of Springfield near Highlandville. When complete, the house is designed to withstand an earthquake, bomb blast and a direct hit from an F-5 tornado. In addition, there are rumors and conspiracy theories that believe the site is being built as some sort of bunker for the Illuminati. Supposedly, the new government, after surviving some sort of Armageddon but having been safe in Pensmore, will use the place as a new American White House from which they will rule.
11. Bonne Terre Mines
Founded in 1860, Bonne Terre Mines is one of the world’s largest man-made caverns. The lower three levels form a one billion gallon, seventeen-mile long lake. It is also home to the largest fresh water scuba diving venue in the world.
Located off of Rt 67, one-hour south of St. Louis.
12. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a work of art in itself, is considered one of the top art museums in the United States. It is known most notably for having one of America’s finest collections of Asian art. The Bloch Building is a Steven Holl-designed neoclassical building that contains galleries of contemporary and African art, photography, as well as special exhibits.
Outdoors you'll find the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, a collection of sculptures by many of the 20th century’s finest artists. The giant shuttlecocks have become a symbol for the museum almost as much as the amazing architecture and fascinating exhibits.
What is your favorite man-made wonder is Missouri? Did we include it here? Please let us know in the comments below.