Midwest trip -- Colorado, SD, Ozarks

Jun 27th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Midwest trip -- Colorado, SD, Ozarks

I'm starting to think about a trip next summer flying from Oregon to Denver, then driving to Mount Rushmore, then to my father's hometown in central Missouri and the Ozarks, and finally flying home from Kansas City. The main purpose is to show my children -- ages 13, 20 and 23 -- where my father grew up, but I want it to be fun. The kids are understandably reticent about this idea. I would love some tips from travelers who know these areas, especially the Ozarks.
Katie2004 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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Answering from Springfield, MO. What part of the Ozarks is your father's original home? Sounds like up Sedalia or Columbia way, maybe further north. For the children (actually two are grown ups) there are the caves and the streams for float trips...and Silver Dollar City at Branson. Or how about Shepherd of the Hills outdoor drama with Sons of the Pioneers? Here in Spfld the huge Bass Pro store is neat. Depends on interests. But how about a major league game in KC or St. Louis (are your 3 boys per chance)? I could go on also about things in KC area, like Truman home and library which is well worth the visit.

So you are flying to Denver, then driving to Black Hills and on to Missouri? But flying back to Oregon from KC? Hmm...what happend to the car? You certainly are planning well in advance. Right now it's too hot here!

Glad to advise further...Ozarksbill [email protected]
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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If you are going from Oregon to Missouri be prepared for a shock trying to get used to the heat and humidity of Missouri or the Midwest for that matter. The kids may only want a lake or swimming pool.

Rapid City can reach over 100 degrees almost any day of the summer - it can get very hot there.

If you do go to Mount Rushmore there is a neat cave that our boys liked. Jewel Cave. http://www.nps.gov/jeca
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jun 28th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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Thanks, Ozarksbill and bratsandbeer! I remember the shock of the weather -- I grew up near the beach in Southern California -- but I also remember fireflies! Is early summer better than late, or vice versa? My dad was raised in a small town near Versailles (Syracuse). My kids never knew him, and I'm hoping to connect them with him in a small way.

I remember visiting a big old house near Syracuse called Ravenwood or something like that. We also stayed on a houseboat on the Ozarks, which I think the kids would like. I did a little checking into that, though, and it seems mighty spendy. Yes to caves, water and the Royals (oh, two girls and a boy, but we all like baseball). And maybe to Branson.

As for the car (or minivan), we'll leave it in Kansas City.
Katie2004 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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I visited Ravenswood about 10 or more years ago, and it was fascinating. I don't have current info on it, but several things came up when I googled Ravenswood Missouri just now, including a couple of reviews that seem to indicate it's still possible to tour it. It was decaying when I was there so no doubt it is even more like a haunted mansion now. Maybe a local historical society or the MO historical society would have more info on it. it is located kind of between Boonville and Sedalia, I think the closest town is Bunceton.
aloha is offline  
Sep 1st, 2009, 07:17 AM
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Just a footnote. Weather has been splendid in Missouri this August! Feels like Santa Cruz or Boulder. May you be so blessed.

Ozarksbill is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 05:47 AM
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It's a long way from the Black Hills to Missouri. Definitely try to hit Branson for a couple of days. Go to Silver Dollar City (see Marvel Cave there). We went to the Dixie Stampede and it was fun - I think your kids would like it. Go to Dick's and see the Landing. Lake of the Ozarks is overrun with commercialism - the emphasis is on bar-hopping and big boats. I don't really recommend it, but it is very close to Versailles, so you might as well go for a little bit. Visit on a weekday. If you're baseball fans, see the Negro leagues museum in KC. Also visit Hallmark, another thing the kids can relate to and they have a good family tour. In Springfield, visit the wildlife museum next to Bass Pro. Have lunch at Lambert's in Ozark.
TTTStLou is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 05:51 AM
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Forgot to add - if you can fit it in, a float trip on the Current river would be fun for all. Do this on a weekday.
TTTStLou is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Well, TTTStLou has given you a full schedule! With children the float trip would be nice. Not a fan of Branson shows (especially Dixie stampede food) but we did go down from Springfield yesterday to the Yakov Smirnoff theatre...Moscow circus. Yes, Lake of the Ozarks is pretty touristy, as is Branson. BTW, Silver Dollar City which has an 1890s charm along with some rides but might be considered pricey. Of course much in KC and yes in Spfld we do have Bass Pro shop...and bun throwing at Lamberts which us locals avoid due to a long wait. Most of all though I detect a yearning to reach back in time...good luck.

Ozarksbill [email protected]
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 07:18 AM
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As a Nebraskan I guess I'll pitch my own state...

If you're driving south from Mount Rushmore on Highway 385, through Alliance, NE. in the western part of the state you should spend an hour at Carhenge. Is it art or is it junk? I personally find it very cool, and you can bring home great cheesy pics that friends will ask, "How did you ever find this place?!" =)

If you find yourself on I-80 in Nebraska, 25 miles south of North Platte, in Welfleet, is the Dancing Leaf Native Earth Lodge:
I highly recommend this out-of the way reconstruction of a primitive dwelling. The owners give tours and touch on the history and spirituality of early native people.

In the north central part of Nebraska is the town of Valentine and the Niobrara River. Canoeing or tubing down this fast moving river is fun & unbelievably beautiful and very easy for first-timers. Many waterfalls to see on the river or explore by foot. The upper part of the river is pretty quiet & peaceful, and the lower part is more like a fraternity party... many younger folks... lots of beer and water cannon fights (but they'll let you pass in peace if you're 'unarmed'.)
I've used Rocky Ford Outfitters to rent canoes and they're wonderful to deal with and can explain all you need to know.

It sounds like a great trip you have planned. You're going to see some beautiful country.
huskerbob is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 08:48 AM
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I'm from the East Coast but a couple years ago, we took our then 11 year old grand daughter to Branson, Missouri for a week--as part of a tour with Elderhostel, grandparents and grandchildren. I must say, she (and the other kids) just loved it. We didn't go to Silver Dollar City but took in several shows that appealed to kids. Loved the Hamner-Barber variety show, also the New Shanghai circus (a must see for kids and adults), Ricky Boen and the Texas Mud (a country music band with a 12 year old girl as lead singer--she was great), also the Dixie Stampede which I wouldn't think one would go to for the food but the horse show was good. Finally the DUCK tour through town and onto the lake was fun.
It was hot there in July but the kids spent alot of spare time in the pool. Lots of stuff to keep kids busy.
Margo is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 06:52 AM
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Well, Margo, sounds like a good time for young and old...and years ago we did a couple of Elderhostel intergeneration programs in Kentucky. Being just north in Springfield it is interesting to see what you did in Branson.

As for huskerbob, you left out a favorite spot in your state...Ft. Robinson and also Chadron. Lots to enjoy.

Ozarksbill is offline  

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