Cabin fever getting you down? Check out six fun activities and a whole slew of places you can visit in day trips this winter.
The long, slow march to spring is underway, but the abundance of winter activities in Missouri can help you avoid an outbreak of cabin fever.
In fact, exploring Missouri during the winter months is the perfect antidote – or preventive measure, depending on how quickly you act – to protect against such an outbreak.
Here’s a look at six ways to stay cabin fever free while enjoying winter activities in Missouri and waiting for the flowers to bud anew.
• Interact with nature:The Missouri Department of Conservation operates several Conservation Nature Centers, Interpretive Centers and Hatcheries where exhibits and activities keep kids enthralled.
The Conservation Nature Centers are Twin Pines in Winona, Runge in Jefferson City, Springfield in Springfield, Burr Oak Woods in Blue Springs, Powder Valley in Kirkwood, Cape Girardeau in Cape Girardeau and Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City.
Elsewhere around Missouri, the Department of Conservation has the Northeast Regional Office and Interpretive Center in Kirksville; the Northwest Regional Office and Interpretive Center in St. Joseph; Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center in Joplin; Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery in Branson; Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood; August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles; Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in St. Louis; and the Forest Park Office in St. Louis.
• Take a road trip: Travel Missouri’s section of Route 66 to see sights such Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield. Or maybe you’d prefer to travel across northern Missouri’s Highway 36 to connect with notable Missourians at places such as the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal and the Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site in Laclede.
• See a live show: Whether you’re choosing from among the popular shows found along the famous Highway 76 Strip in Branson, or a touring act visiting venues such as the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City or the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis, you’re never far from a great live show the entire family will enjoy.
• Go wild at the zoo: You may prefer to wait for one of those warmer days, but colder temperatures seem a little more fitting when you check out penguin shenanigans at Puffin and Penguin Coast at the Saint Louis Zoo and Helzberg Penguin Plaza at the Kansas City Zoo. Also, there’s never a bad time to feed the giraffes at Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield.
• Pamper yourself: Okay, you get to leave the kids with grandma for this one. Alleviate the stresses of daily life when you escape to Missouri spas. Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark and Spa Chateau at Chateau on the Lake in Branson are co-located with popular resorts, while Halcyon Spa in Augusta is a stone’s throw from the Katy Trail in the heart of Missouri wine country.
• Warm up in a cool cave:When it’s 20 degrees or below outside, a trip underground to one of Missouri’s caves feels like a warm spring day. After all, it’s usually 55 degrees or warmer in places like Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Bridal Cave in Camdenton and Smallin Civil War Cave in Ozark.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways for you to get out and experience winter activities in Missouri. Keep exploring VisitMO.com to create your perfect remedy for cabin fever.
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If you go....
Burr Oak Woods is a showplace for Missouri's fish, forests and wildlife -- a natural oasis in your own backyard, just 1 mile north of I-70 and minutes from downtown Kansas City. Explore on your own by hiking one of six beautiful trails. Experience the Nature Center as you come eye to eye with some fantastic wild animals, encounter nature's wonders and secrets with hands-on exhibits and catch a glimpse of resident wildlife in the wildlife-viewing room. Step just outside the backdoors and into the all new, all natural Nature Explore Classroom.
No fees are charged at the Nature Center.
Springfield Conservation Nature Center is an 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. The Visitor Center features an information desk, where visitors learn about the facility and its schedule of programs. Hunting and fishing permits are sold. The building includes a self-guided exhibit area, a gift shop, a 150-seat auditorium, classrooms and restrooms.
The grounds include a covered picnic area. There is pull-through bus and RV parking. Camping, hunting and fishing are not allowed on the grounds. 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.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is a place to discover how a young boy growing up in the small village of Hannibal became one of the world's most beloved authors. A self-guided tour of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum gives you the chance to explore the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens and experience the amazing stories he created through the his power of imagination. The properties include six historically significant buildings; plus two interactive museums whose collections include 15 original Norman Rockwell paintings and a wealth of Twain artifacts. Experience interactive exhibits, live performances, historic artifacts, treasured Clemens family belongings, original Rockwells and other items. Admission: $11; ages 60+, $9; ages 6-17, $6; younger than 6, free. Closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
St. Louis Zoo is a world renowned, 90-acre zoo is home to more than 14,000 exotic animals; many are rare and endangered. At the new McDonnell Polar Bear Point, visitors can go nose-to-nose with a polar bear in this state-of-the-art habitat that includes underwater views. New to the Emerson Children's Zoo are two Tasmanian devils. The Saint Louis Zoo is only one of six U.S. zoos to care for this species.
Penguin and Puffin Coast offers an underwater view of these oceanic birds. Sea Lion Sound is a 1.5 acre exhibit right in the heart of the Zoo. Visitors can walk through an underwater tunnel into the seal and sea lions' habitat to see the animals swimming all around them. The First Bank Sea Lion Show (in season) showcases sea lion behavior, animal fun facts and the need for conserving the sea lions' ocean habitat. General admission is free. There are fees for some special attractions.
Fantastic Caverns is 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. Group rates offered. From I-44, take Exit 77; follow Route 13 north 1.5 miles, follow the signs. Open year-round. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Free App at www.bransonmap.mobi. Admission charged; children younger than six, free with parents.