Missouri is definitely a land of variety. Every direction
from Whiteman AFB offers a new adventure. Visit the home of the Pony Express, enjoy a
country show in Branson, or trek into the back hills of the Ozarks. Let us take you on a
brief tour of some of what Missouri has to offer.
PONY EXPRESS- St. Joseph is the original beginning of the famous Pony Express
route. Located only two hours from Whiteman it makes for a wonderful day trip. You can
relive the days of yore in the Patee House Museum. Once a four-story luxury hotel opened
in 1858 it was the first headquarters of the Pony Express. It now showcases exhibits on
communication and transportation. Next door is the house where Jesse James met his end.
The notorious robber's former home is now a museum exhibiting many items from the James'
family. You will also see the original hole from the bullet that killed Jesse James. Don't
forget to visit the Pony Express Memorial and National Museum. It houses the restored
red-brick stables where the first rider departed on April 3, 1860. Also, you can get info
and maps about the Pony Express National Historic Trail here. The trail follows the route
over 1800 miles to Sacramento, California. Admission prices are as follows:
PRECIOUS MOMENTS CHAPEL- You don't have to be a collector of these adorable figurines to
enjoy a visit to the Precious Moments Chapel. The Chapel, which was inspired by Sam
Butcher's trip to the Sistine Chapel, is located in Carthage, Missouri; approximately one
hour from Springfield. Scattered across 1500 acres are the Chapel, Fountain of Angels,
restaurants, gift shops, hotel, RV park, and wedding/convention facilities. Painted
murals, bronze angels, and stained glass adorn the property and make for a peaceful day
out. Collectors will be pleased to see the many gift shops with several exclusive pieces.
The best part is your visit to the Chapel is free though there is a charge for the house
tour ($5/adults and $3/ children 4 to 12) and the Fountain of Angels ($6/ adults and $3/
children 4 to 12). The Grounds are open 9 a.m to 9 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Years (they also close at 6 p.m. the eve before the above days).
BASS PRO SHOP- The Bass Pro Shop is more than just a store! It's a fun outing for
the whole family. After finding some bargains in their outlet store you can get a haircut
at the barber shop or have dinner in the restaurant which features a 30 gallon aquarium.
Don't forget to tour the Wildlife Art Gallery and the 17,000 sq. ft. Wildlife Museum.
Admission is $5/ adults, $2/ children (5-12), and free for children under 5. There is a
special rate of $12 for families.
AMUSEMENT PARKS- Whiteman's nearest amusement park is Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.
This park was opened in 1973 inspired by Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. It
is divided into five themed continents with a wide variety of rides and other
entertainment. Admission is $26.95/ over 48" through 59 years old, $13.50/ age 60 and
over, $5.95/ 4 years to 48", and free for age 3 and under. St. Louis hosts Six Flags
Over Mid-America. Six Flags offers something for everyone! Make sure to try the newest
attraction called Batman:The Ride. Parking is available at the entrance for $6 per car.
Admission is $29.95/ adults, $24.95/ children age 4-10, $15.00/ Seniors over 55, and age 3
and under are free. If you are looking for water fun try Oceans of Fun. This 60 acre theme
park includes a million gallon wave pool, seven wild water slides, two special children's
areas, sand volleyball, and an adult-only pool with a swim-up bar. Admission is $18.95/
over 48" tall through age 59, $13.50/ 60 and over, $5.95/ under 48".
BRANSON- Branson has become one of the world's most popular vacation
destinations. Its mix of down-home charm, entertainment, and central location draws
visitors from around the world. Definitely one of Branson's biggest attractions is Silver
Dollar City. A theme park of sorts, Silver Dollar City has rides, country cooking,
handcrafted art, shows and the Marvel Cave which was first discovered by the Osage Indians
over 400 years ago. It is fun for the whole family! Try dinner at Dolly Parton's Dixie
Stampede. Watch 30 beautiful horses and their talented riders perform a spectacular show
in front of your dinner table! Or you can take to the water on the Showboat Branson Belle.
Enjoy the Belle's multi-level dining theater; let the kids visit the wheelhouse and meet
ZOOS- There are three zoos located conveniently to Whiteman. The closest
is the Kansas City Zoological Gardens. It is a 200 acre park with approximately 1200
animals. This zoo is divided into several areas, each themed with a different region or
country. Cross the swaying bridge to Africa or feed the sheep in Farmland USA. For an
extra fee you can ride a camel, pony, train, or tram. Or take the Safari boat ride through
the wilds. Stroller and electric carts are available for rental. Admission is $5/ adults
and children over 12, $2.50/ children 3-11, and under 3 free. Tuesdays are $1 for
everyone!! If you are looking for a smaller zoo try the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield.
It is the home to 340 animals. Children will enjoy an elephant ride and the Outback Corral
Petting Zoo. Strollers and wagons are available for rent and wheelchairs are available
with a deposit. Admission is $4/ adults, $2.50/ children 3-12, and under 2 free. If you
are willing to drive further the St. Louis Zoo has 6000 animals and is FREE. Located in
the St. Louis Forest Park the Zoo is known for its Jungle of Apes and Big Cat Country. It
also features a children's zoo, educational center, train and a sea lion show.
LAURA INGALLS WILDER MUSEUM- Rocky Ridge Farm was the last home of the Wilders and the location
where the Little House books were written. It is now a tribute to the pioneering spirit.
An annual outdoor pageant, Wilder Days, and Rocky Ridge Days are all big events in this
small town. Take the time to tour the recently restored rock house that Almanzo and Laura
spent many happy years in. Also see the museum full of memorabilia mentioned in the Little
House books. While in Mansfield you might also enjoy a stop at the Laura Ingalls Wilder
Library and the cemetery where the Wilder family is buried.