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 The Wonders of Missouri

Named after the river, which in turn was named after the Sioux Indians whose Illinois name is ouemessourita or those who have dugout canoes, with no real knowledge of how it went from the one to Missouri. In the Midwest, the state of Missouri is bounded by eight states, with Jefferson City the capital. At first, it was part of the Louisiana Purchase and became known as a territory, in 1803 and admitted to the U.S. in 1821 as a slave state, part of the Missouri Compromise; becoming the focal point for people heading west. Boat traffic on the Mississippi was very important to the state's economy and to help control flooding along that area, built 140 miles of levees.
In 1812, the New Madrid earthquake's epicenter was in the state and probably was the worst quake since the country became the United States, and fortunately the area was sparsely populated at the time.

The western areas of the state were soon inhabited by southerners migrating from the south to the plains area along the Missouri River where their former culture and slavery could continue. Then, in the 1830s, Mormons arrived from the northern states and Canada and homesteaded near Independence and the land north. It wasn't long before problems arose between the newcomers and the southerners and the Mormon War exploded. The Mormons were not as experienced with fighting as were the plantation owners and in 1839 were forced out of the state. During the 1830s and 60s, its populace doubled with immigrants coming from the east, Ireland and Germany; and not at all partial to slavery. Over the next few years, after the outbreak of the Civil War, there was a greater conflict within the state as factions from both sides tried to win over the majority to go either north or south. One such terrible slaughter occurred in St. Louis which later became known as the St. Louis Massacre, as men, women and children were indiscriminately killed with the prisoners captured by the union General Nathaniel Lyon and his mostly non-English speaking German immigrant soldiers. This naturally enflamed the citizens of the state and the fighting continued until 1861 when most of the rebels were driven out and the state became union.

Once in a while, Confederate troops raided the state, but most of the fighting was guerilla warfare by some very infamous people. One of these, Colonel William Quantrell, with his group included; Frank and Jesse James, the Younger brothers and William Anderson; conducted small fast raids wherever they could disrupt the union forces. These inspired similar groups to do the same in other areas of the state; however, since the James gang continued to be outlaws after the war, they became more well known.

The state is certainly a melting pot of the United States and has the distinction of being a bellwether state in politics; predicting the president in every election since 1904, with only the 56 and 2008 elections being incorrect. It sits in the middle of the country and this imaginary divide has created some vagueness about the state. St. Louis is often called the western most eastern city, while Kansas City is called the eastern most western city. South Missouri is in the Ozark Mountains and North Missouri in the plains; with the Missouri River dividing the state and sections in two. The Mississippi and Missouri River meet in St. Louis.  The four most populace areas are St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City and Springfield.

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 Tours in Missouri

There are an infinite number of activities to get involved in in the state of Missouri. The area known as Branson has exploded with theaters, showplaces, restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, boutiques and any kind of store or business that relates to the entertainment industry. With over 100 places to visit, Branson alone can boast of over 115 attractions itself. Not to mention the mere fact that there are over 6000 caves to tour, visit and explore in this show me state that will show you theirs. Branson has so many places to tell you what is there or for you to plan on seeing, we won't be talking about them. There are another 100 places that we will spend some time discussing.

While in St. Louis, take a tour of the City Museum that is wonderful and full of exciting sights to enjoy. It is an interactive learning center, with an enchanted forest sitting on many levels, a huge aquarium and a fun circus. There is also a museum of very weird oddities that will stretch the limits of your imagination. Take some time to tour the St. Louis Zoo that is free, with penguins, elephants and apes living in their own environments. Set within Forest Park; which happens to be bigger than Central Park, would beckon you to spend more time than you would have thought. The famous Clydesdales are here at the Anheuser Busch Brewery for you to tour and enjoy, with a chance to sample this famous brew. The Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site is a national park and historic site of his beautiful home. This architectural home is an elegant reminder of the greatest general of his time. Get ready to learn all about this great man that became a president after leading his country in the bloodiest battles this country ever fought. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis contains over 40 million pieces of tiles set in mosaics taking almost 80 years to complete. Built sometime in the early 1900s, it is a beautiful monument to the tenacity and artistic abilities of great artisans.

At the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park you can tour the fantastic buildings, the awesome monument and other wonderful sights. The Missouri History Museum is where you will learn the state's incredible past, as well as the city's and the Campbell House Museum is another historical home turned into a modern day museum. Another great museum to visit is the Magic House at the St. Louis Children's Museum. The Casino Queen is a gambling mecca on a replica of the 19th century side wheel riverboats, 4 stories high.

In Kansas City, with over 60 marvelous sights to see and visit; you might try the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the only museum of its kind devoted to people, objects and historical collections found no where else in the world. Modern techniques help make this museum one of a kind and thoroughly unique in its expanse coverage of the first war to end wars.

Also in Kansas City, is the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, where even the title is a remembrance of the past. This museum is very unique since it contains information about quite possibly the best baseball players ever. No one knows for sure since these players were not allowed into the white league that have been known, recorded and occupied the center of the baseball history. No one will ever know..

The Arabia Steamboat sunk in the Missouri in 1856 and has been since brought up and made into a museum with artifacts from the military, history and transportation eras. The Hallmark Company is located in Kansas City and holds everything from the beginning of this well known and loved company until now.
This fabulous city holds a plethora of museums, besides the ones mentioned above, there is the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, American Jazz Museum, American Royal Museum, the Kansas City Museum; set in a renovated 50 room mansion, Toy and Miniature Museum, and the Airline History Museum.

If you love bikes, hogs, motorcycles I mean; then visit the Harley Davidson Factory here that will fulfill your dreams of the open roads, wind in your hair and someone fantastic sitting behind you holding on for dear life.
The start of the famous Santa Fe Trail begins here and is a wonderful place to walk, hike, bike or jog and view the land that helped many imagine their way to Santa Fe, Mexico. Or the other famous trail head that lead west, the largest one and most used for the travel of dreamers going to a greener pasture loaded with treasures of gold, land silver and the real American dream; the Oregon Trail.

For the history buff, you can take a tour called the Gangsters Tour which will show you where they lived, worked, gangstaed and died. You would certainly want to visit Union Station while you are here, site of the infamous massacre.

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Things to do in Missouri

Of course no visit to St. Louis would be complete without a trip the Gateway Arch, symbolizing the gateway to the west, with its observation deck, monument and the wonderful historical museum. The Old Courthouse is another special landmark, where the well known Dred Scott Case was decided. The Laumeier Sculpture Park is full of fantastic modern sculptures. Another interesting venue is the International Bowling Museum Hall of Fame where you can see all the info about bowling from places all over the world.

With names like Josephine Baker, James "Cool Papa" Bell, Grace Bumbry, William Burroughs, William Clark, Jimmy Connors, John and William Danforth, Dizzy Dean, Phyllis Diller, T.S. Elliot, Redd Foxx, Ulysses S. Grant, Charles Lindbergh, William T. Sherman , Ike and Tina Turner, Virginia Mayo, Betty Grable, John Goodman, Rogers Hornsby, Scott Joplin, Vincent Price, Tennessee Williams, Joseph Pulitzer, Branch Rickey and a famous host of others, it is no wonder that the St. Louis Walk of Fame is a sight to behold and visit. There are many more that have been inspirational, heroic, great speakers, leaders, scientists, actors, singers and the like. This is one attraction that will take you many pleasurable hours to see and read the bronze plaques telling you what these amazing and unique people have done for their country, city and families. Well worth visiting and doing.

And the list of things to do and tours to take go on, with still the entire rest of this unbelievable state to visit, tour and enjoy. With so many places to go and things to see, you can well imagine the scrumptious meals that can be found here to please your palate. With world renown chefs, unknown local cooks that have and use family recipes passed down over many generations, you will not wonder what to eat, you will have to wonder what to choose, and where. You will be amazed at the smorgasbord available in this dynamic state.

Traveling around the state will lead you to many historical towns and cities. One infamous town is Saint Joseph, home to the Jesse James Home Museum, that contains all the information available about the famous outlaw, his family and also the stories that rose afterward. One very interesting display explains how his body was exhumed in 1995. Definitely worth the visit, if you are interested in Jesse James and the gang. The Pony Express Museum is here also, as are a number of interesting museums.

In Independence you will see all the information about Harry Truman, as well as his home.
The Crystal Cave is in Springfield and an awesome cavern to visit. The beautiful aura of this cave is beyond words. The Fantastic Caverns are here also and they are the only ride through cave in America.
Hannibal, Missouri; ring a bell? Home to Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, and the place that launched Huck Finn. Twain's home and museum is a place to visit without a doubt, as well the cave named after him. You can visit Huck's house, as well as Becky's, then go see the statue of Tom Sawyer and Huck, and enjoy the Mark Twain Riverboat Dinner Cruise down the mighty Miss.

If you are passing by or stopping in Carthage, then you really should stop at the Precious Moments Park that is a sanctuary with 52 inspirational murals depicting the Bible. In the evening, stop at the 66 Drive-In Theater; one of the last remaining drive-ins still operating on this famous route.

The national park system has some wonderful parks to visit in this great state; George Washington Carver National Monument, Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. Some of the most publicized cave are Bluff Dwellers Caverns and Browning Museum, Bridal Cave, Talking Rocks Cavern, Cameron Cave, Smallin Cave, Cathedral Cave, Round Springs Caverns, Crystal Cave, Ozark Caverns, Fantastic Caverns, Onondaga Cave, Fishers Cave, Meramec Caverns, Jacob's Cave, Marvel Cave and the Mark Twain Cave mentioned earlier. Inside these underground worlds, you might run into many of the 900 species of animals found there so far.