Missouri may be known for the Gateway Arch, but the fact is, at 284 miles across and 308 miles north to south, Missouri has plenty to offer to those who live there and those just passing through.
Here are 10 Things to Do with Kids in Missouri
Let’s start with the things that are most iconic and also give you some ideas of things to do that are a bit off the beaten path to make your time in Missouri fun with kids.
1. Of course, we need to start with the Gateway Arch. At 630 feet high, this symbol to westward mobility will definitely catch your eye when you realize just how tall and wide the arch actually is. Choose a journey to the top or just walk the area and be stunned by the arching stunning curves designed by architect Eero Saarinen.
2. Visit Silver Dollar City, near Branson. This is a fun theme park in the theme of the Old West and more. With 40+ rides, plenty of attractions and a variety of festivals, you’re bound to have fun there.
3. The Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis are some of the best. Whether you decide on a one-time visit to see what they offer or want to participate in one of their educational programs you’ll learn a lot, and will also get in touch with nature.
4. Named for Ulysses S. Grant, Grant’s Farm, located near St. Louis is a fun, active “farm” that’s a zoo full of fun. With over 1,000 species of animals you’ll see something new and some of your stand-by favorites as well. Be sure to ride the tram that winds around the former Busch Family estate.
5. Make a day out of a visit to central Missouri and the Lake of the Ozarks. The Lake of the Ozarks is a large reservoir created by enclosing of the Osage River in the northern part of the Ozarks in central Missouri. From above this “lake” looks like a serpent or maybe a dragon and is known as “The Magic Dragon.” Spend time fishing, hiking, trekking or just having fun as a family. There are plenty of parks within the area, as well as a dam that will catch a budding engineer’s eye for sure.
6. The Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal, Missouri is a great place for a family outing. No matter what the outdoor temperature is, the cave is always a stable 52 degrees. The cave is a great place to explore for all ages since there are no steps and there are smooth even walkways throughout the tour. There are several different lengths of tours available and there are fun activities for your kids to do such as panning for precious gemstones.
7. Have some little ones that love the zoo? The Kansas City Zoo offers all of the wonderful things that a zoo has to offer plus day camps and special programs that will keep your children entertained. Catch one of the special animal shows such as the Sea Lion Splash or take the Zebra Tram to make your visit even more magical.
8. Did you know you can actually visit the home of infamous villain Jesse James? Yes! Located in St. Joseph, MO, The Patee House, also known as Patee House Museum, was completed in 1858 as a 140-room luxury hotel and now serves as a museum full of 1800s and “wild west” artifacts. While visiting the museum, be sure to see the house where outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed by fellow gang member Bob Ford on April 3, 1882. Exhibits include artifacts from Jesse’s grave, which is on site of the Patee Museum grounds.
9. Kansas City, Missouri is home to the National World War I museum called the Liberty Memorial. The Liberty Memorial Museum is home to the largest collection of World War I artifacts in the United States. The inscription on the museum says, “In Honor of Those Who Served in the World War in Defense of Liberty and our Country.” Since this was actually made BEFORE the Second World War, it really shows you how times have changed and how war has altered the world.
10. While in or near St. Louis, visit the Saint Louis Science Center. From Dinosaurs and a Planetarium to Environment and Hamster Wheels, the science is hands-on fun. The Ecology and Environment Gallery is located on the lower level, while the first floor contains the Life Science Lab, a gift shop and a food court. Don’t miss the Energizer human hamster wheel that powers the Energizer Ball Machine (that is three stories high!). There is a bridge-tunnel that connects the main building to the Planetarium, where there is also Flight Gallery to keep you entertained along the way.