With a new year comes the opportunity to set goals and make plans for the upcoming year. There’s so much to do in Missouri all year round, but where do you start? And what can’t be missed? While by no means is this a definitive list, it can still give you some suggestions or get your creative and explorer juices flowing.
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. Eagle Watch at Roaring River State Park.
Roaring River State Park celebrates its wintering bald eagle population with their Eagle Watch Program. Watch a video about Missouri bald eagles and then participate in a nature watch to catch the eagles coming in to roost for the night. The next watch is on January 16th. If you haven’t seen one of these majestic creatures up close, here’s your chance! Don’t forget your binoculars and warm clothes.
2. Attend the Queen’s Ball in Ste. Genevieve.
Each year for more than 50 years, the historic town of Ste. Genevieve celebrates its French heritage with the Queen’s Ball, a celebration of music and dancing. Although not required, guests are encouraged to dress in French Colonial costumes and learn traditional dances. You can bring your own basket of food and enjoy a cash bar for refreshments. It also goes to a great cause…all proceeds benefit the Ste. Genevieve Museum. The next one takes place on February 6th.
3. Catch a show at the Sight and Sound Theaters in Branson.
A popular choice is Dublin's Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies, performers from Ireland specializing in music of their heritage, from Irish favorite, Danny Boy to We are the Champions.
4. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Saint Patrick Shrine in St. Patrick.
St. Patrick celebrates with a daylong festival starting with coffee and donuts. While taped Irish music plays throughout the day, events and activities include a Leprechaun 5K race, a silent auction, a midday roast beef dinner, and tours of the church and museum. End the day with Catholic mass at the Shrine.
5. Explore the state capital.
With a view of the Missouri river and beautiful tree lined bluffs, our capital city is one of the most beautiful in the country. The Missouri State Capitol Building, the Supreme Court Building, and the Governor’s Mansion are models of unique architecture, a rich state history, and remembrances of the past. The charming downtown, museums, eateries, boutiques and parks are endless opportunities for new experiences. Recently named by Rand McNally as “America’s Most Beautiful Small Town,” Jefferson City is a must visit for every Missourian.
6. Take a float trip at Bass River Resort.
Bass River Resort near Steelville offers canoeing, kayaking and rafting trips on the Courtois, Huzzah & Meramec Rivers. A variety of lodging options are available, including primitive and RV camping. Spend the day hiking or mountain biking on the Ozark and Berryman Trails. Float down the river in a raft, and take in the beauty of the area. Located just 10 ½ miles east of Steelville on Highway 8, Bass River Resort has something for everyone.
7. Take a cave tour at Onondaga State Park.
Onondaga Cave State Park offers guided tours of the underground in Onondaga Cave through a world of towering stalagmites, dripping stalactites, and active flowstones. The cave is a National Natural Landmark and a great example of why Missouri is known as the “cave state.”
8. Check out the Great Forest Park Balloon festival.
On September 16-17, the St. Louis-based festival will be celebrating their 44th year as the oldest and most well-attended free hot-air balloon event in the world. The fun starts on Friday night with the Balloon Glow at Central Field followed by the PNC Bank Fireworks Finale. Saturday is filled with events headlined by the Balloon Race at Central Field from 12:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Live entertainment, a children’s area, a photo contest, skydivers, and a “hare” and “hound” balloon launch is concluded with the PNC Bank Fireworks Finale. Truly a sight to see! In case uncooperative weather forces the cancellation of Saturday’s race, it will be rescheduled for Sunday.
9. Have some rolls thrown at you at Lambert’s Café.
Lambert’s has three locations, with two in Missouri in Sikeston and Ozark. Known as the “Home of the Throwed Rolls,” people come from all over to dine on generous servings of food, all while having some fun and allowing people to throw rolls at them. They are open from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (or so). Also, keep in mind that credit cards as well as reservations are not part of the deal, but cash, checks and walk-ins are fine.
10. Hike to the highest point in Missouri.
When you climb to the top at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park you will find yourself at the highest point in the state. Located on 7,500 acres in the St. Francois Mountains, the park features hickory forests and rocky glades with a series of trails, including a portion of the Ozark Trail. A 12-site basic campground provides a place to stay while visiting, and a special use area is available for non-profit youth organizations or groups.
11. Go on a riverboat cruise.
Riverboat Excursions Inc. has operated the Mark Twain Riverboat on the Hannibal riverfront for more than thirty years. Discover the "Mighty Mississippi" with a 1-hour sight-seeing cruise, or a 2-hour dinner cruise featuring food, music and dancing. Cruises are available seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day. All aboard!
12. Catch spring at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis
Don’t miss the annual Orchid Show in February and March! The show provides visitors with the privilege of seeing a rotating display hundreds of orchids from the Garden’s collection inside the Orthwein Floral Display Hall. The theme of the show varies each year. You can also walk around and enjoy all the blooming flowers and plants along the winding paths of the beautiful botanical garden.
13. Ride all the roller coasters at Six Flags.
There are currently nine roller coasters at Six Flags in St. Louis: River King Mine Train, Ninja, Batman, Mr. Freeze, The Boss, Pandemonium, American Thunder, and Boomerang. According to the Six Flags website, Fireball, a new ride, is expected to open this year making it a total of ten. Visit Six Flags and check all ten off of your list this year.
14. Catch a Royals game at Kauffman Stadium.
Let’s see if the 2015 World Series Champs will have another good year. The 2016 season is tentatively set to start on April 3, 2016, with a Sunday Night World Series re-match between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
15. Catch a show with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.
Upcoming shows include The Diary of Anne Frank from January 29 to February 21, 2016 at the Spencer Theatre; Roof of the World from
February 26 to March 27, 2016 at Copaken Stage; The Fantasticks from March 18 to April 10, 2016 at Spencer Theatre; and the New Works Festival from April 22 to May 22, 2016 at Copaken Stage. Visit
for more information.
Which of these looks like the most fun to you? What do you feel are some other must-see’s for 2016? Tell us in the comments below!