When thinking of things to do and see in Missouri, take a turn off the more traveled road and discover some places you just won’t see anywhere else. Some creepy, some historical, some just plain odd, cross each one of these off your must-see checklist and you won’t be disappointed.
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. World's Largest Rocking Chair, Cuba
This rocking chair is over 42 feet tall and was built in 2008 for the sole purpose of breaking the Guinness World Record for such a thing. It used to rock but that was considered dangerous and scary to the tourists, so it is now strongly secured to the ground. You can only sit in it one day per year, on "Picture on Rocker Day". It is located near, and was commissioned by, the Route 66 Fanning Outpost.
2. Jesse James Home, St. Joseph
This unassuming little home became famous when Robert Ford shot and killed Jesse James within its walls. You can even see the hole where the bullet hit the wall.
3. Bonne Terre Mines, Bonne Terre
Once a lead mine, and now one of the largest fresh water dive locations, the mines are also referred to as the "Billion Gallon Lake". It's not just for divers, however, there are also walking and boat tours.
4. Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins, Camdenton
Located in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, this once grand castle began construction in 1905 by a wealthy businessman from Kansas City named Robert Snyder. The project was passed on to Robert's sons after his death in a car accident in 1906. The castle was finally completed in 1920 and one of the son's moved in only to eventually lose all his money due to lawsuits over land rights. Later, the castle was opened as a hotel and lodge, but sadly, in 1942, it was completely destroyed by fire. Now the park maintains the site as one of its attractions and people come from all over to wander the once grand castle.
5. Giant Book Shelf, Kansas City Library, Kansas City
Located in downtown Missouri, this facade in front of the parking garage near the library appears to be a giant shelf filled with books. When the structure was created, locals were asked to vote on which titles would be included. Each book stands 25 feet high and 9 feet wide.
6. Devil's Icebox, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia
What a great place to visit during these hot summer days! This cave is called the Devil's Icebox because it stays a cool 56 degrees all year. For the brave or adventurous, tours are available from April to May and August to October, but be prepared to get dirty and use your muscles.
7. World’s Largest Shuttlecocks, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
A total of four 18-foot shuttlecocks (3 on one side and 1 on the other) adorn the grounds of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Created in 1994 by husband and wife Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, the structures are made of aluminum and fiberglass.
8. Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph
Ever wondered about the history of psychiatric hospitals and their methods? Glare is just the place to find out. With replicas of equipment from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Creepy.
9. Leila's Hair Museum, Independence
The displays at Leila's Hair Museum are wreaths and pieces of jewelry made from actual human hair, some dating back to the 17th century!
10. City Museum, St. Louis
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 feet funhouse, complete with a ten story spiral slide, caves, theme rooms and exhibits, climbing structures inside and out, and oh, a bus hanging off the roof. You really have to see it to believe such a place exists. You definitely won't be bored. Find out more at www.citymuseum.org.
11. World's Largest Ball of Twine, Branson
Housed at the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in Branson you will find the World's Largest Ball of Twine. The building was actually built around the ball of twine, which Ripley's bought and moved there in 1993.
12. The Awakening - The Buried Giant, Chesterfield
Where else but Chesterfield can you see a 70 foot giant clawing its way out of the ground?
13. World's Largest Fork, Springfield
35 feet tall!
14. Jim the Wonder Dog, Memorial Park, Marshall
There was once a dog named Jim who had magical powers. Whether you believe that or not, there is a park memorializing him in Marshall.
15. Wax Museum of St. Louis
Madame Tussaud's this is not. Also known as Laclede's Landing Wax Museum, this museum is like nothing you have seen before. Taking up the entire 3 story building with even more to see in the basement and sub-basement (the creepy stuff is down there), there is plenty to see and experience.
What are some other unique attractions in Missouri that you have heard of or seen? Share them below, and they might make our next list.