If you are new to the SWMO area, you’re in for a treat! Not only do the people of SWMO make you feel at home with their welcoming smiles and personalities, we also have some of the most beautiful scenery around. The Show-Me State has hundreds of conservation and natural areas as well as 87 state parks and historic sites. We’re fortunate in the SWMO area to have many great outdoor and indoor activities that are fun for the entire family.
If we leave out your favorite things to do in Southwest Missouri, write a comment below and share them with the rest of us!
What draws a lot of people to the Ozarks are our beautiful parks. Here are some of our favorites:
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park: Many opportunities await at this 10,000 acre slice of unspoiled Ozark paradise. The rugged landscape has been modified to provide access to visitors. Step aboard open-air trams for a guided tour. Try various activities: biking; walking; horseback riding; trout fishing; private jeep tours; and Segway tours. You may see waterfalls, caves, bison, elk and Texas longhorn cattle.
Roaring River State Park: is one of the most breathtaking settings in the SWMO area. It’s nestled in Cassville, MO. The park contains one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation, stocked each night. The natural setting – towering hills above a deep blue spring — provides a scenic backdrop for family adventures. Seven trails cut through the parks rugged terrain, and lodging options range from campsites to cabins, making Roaring River a place to experience a unique slice of Missouri.
Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park: Looking for a great pumpkin patch or a great place to host a birthday party? Well Rutledge-Wilson has it all. The 207-acre farm park was created to provide educational as well as various recreational resources for the community. It celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of the area. Facilities and attractions include a visitors center; an animal barn; gift shop; milking barn; gardens; 20-acre native prairie; pasture land; one-mile paved trail; farm-themed playground; and Wilson’s Creek. The park is open daily from May thru August, and it’s closed on Mondays during September thru June.
Sequiota Park: Are you are looking for a great place to enjoy a nice picnic in the park or hike? Look no further. This 28-acre park includes: A three-mile trail that connects to Springfield Conservation Nature Center; grills; lake, pond, water feature; picnic area; playground; restrooms; shelters.
Springfield Conservation Nature Center: This 80-acre slice of the Ozarks outdoors, within the city limits of Springfield, is a place to connect with nature and learn the importance of conservation. Enjoy: three miles of walking trails; educational and informative programs and events; nature and conservation exhibits. Trails open daily: March-Oct., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Nov.-Feb., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed. (Jogging is allowed only during specific hours.)
A few more outdoor activities:
Dickerson Park Zoo: Dickerson Park Zoo is a zoological park located in Springfield, Missouri that has more than 500 animals that represent 160 different species.
Fantastic Caverns: America’s Only All-Riding Cave Tour. The cave is toured in Jeep-drawn trams. Since you ride all the way, you experience the magnitude, the stillness and the splendor of Fantastic Caverns while preserving its natural features. The unique tour follows the path of an ancient underground river. Enjoy the beauty of a natural cave without the long walks, stairs or steep climbs. The guided, all-riding tour is ideal for seniors, families with small children and physically challenged travelers.
Of course, we can’t forget Silver Dollar City. If you’ve lived in the Ozarks for any amount of time, Silver Dollar City plays a part of your memory from childhood to adulthood. Silver Dollar City, an 1880s theme park located near Branson, Missouri, presents six world-class festivals from March through December. The 100-acre park has 12 stage venues, 30 rides and attractions, 12 restaurants, 60 shops and 1500 employees, including 100 resident craftsmen.
Here are some other family-friendly events to do near Branson:
Butterfly Palace: Visit Branson’s rainforest and walk among more than 1,000 live, tropical butterflies. Each self-guided journey includes: a 3-D movie about the life of a butterfly; a visit to the Rainforest Critter Center; a chance to get lost inside the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze; and the Coconut Tree Climb. This is an interactive, educational and entertaining adventure for the family.
National Tiger Sanctuary: The National Tiger Sanctuary is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to environmental education and caring for exotic wildlife. Get up close and personal with big cats, including tigers, lions, a black leopard, and mountain lions. You can even feed the big cats yourself! They only provide guided tours because it ensures the cats have enough time to rest. (Tigers need approximately eighteen hours of sleep each day.) Guided tour are offered at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Tanger Outlet Mall: This mall offers outlet shopping at your favorite name-brand and designer factory outlet stores where you can find great savings. This outlet mall offers more than 100 name-brand stores at discounted prices. Located in the heart of Branson, this is a must-stop shop.
The Track Family Fun Park: The go-karts and other rides and activities at the four Branson locations make kids feel like grown-ups, and grown-ups act like kids! Choose from 14 different go-kart tracks, including three unique high-rise tracks for family-style racing for every age level. Experience elevating, spiraling, twisting and turning on the four-story steel and concrete track called Heavy Metal Rise, or on the two wooden tracks, Wild Woody and The Lumber Jack. Each Track location has several other attractions and activities ranging from rides to cool you off on hot days to rides for thrill-seekers to arcade games.
Who doesn’t love a great Farmer’s Market!? We are lucky to have so many in our area, so click here to see a Farmer’s Market near you!
Looking for some great indoor activities:
Bass Pro Shops: Looking for something free to do? Well, a visit to Springfield, MO isn’t quite complete without a trip to Bass Pro! Think it’s just about hunting and fishing? Think again. This is a great place for all walks of life. From the young to the old, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. They have live-water aquariums, Hemingway’s restaurant, and the best Santa’s workshop in the 417 area code!
Discovery Center: Learn, Discover, and Play. The Discovery Center of Springfield (DCS) is an interactive, hands-on museum committed to inspiring people of all ages with a life-long love of learning and an appreciation of the world and our place in it. This is an interactive science center for all ages. Imagine, create, have fun and learn with hundreds of exhibits that explore physics, chemistry, energy, health and culture, all in an environmentally friendly building. Explore galleries and exhibits such as: HighWire Bike, Body Works, Discovery Town, an Water Works.
Mediacom Ice Park: Mediacom Ice Park provides ice sports entertainment. Whether you’re an experienced skater or trying it for the first time, check out the open skating or one of the instructional programs available for all ages and skill levels. Missouri State ice hockey provides exciting family entertainment.
Sky Zone in Springfield. This is a great place to have fun with the entire family and let the kiddos blow off some of their never-ending energy. Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. They has been voted the number one “out of the box” workout and the “best party ever.” Experience WOW – the weightlessness of bouncing, flipping and landing in a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes.
Have more fun ideas we missed and you’d like to share? Click on the comment button below and let us know! For other suggestions by SWMO mommas, click here to read our 5 Minutes with a Mom feature. The featured moms usually mention their favorite places to play here. Plus you might just meet a new friend!