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Travel: Top 5 family destinations

Thursday, May 10, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:44 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

St. Louis Zoo

Considered one of the best in the country, the zoo is nestled in Forest Park with River’s Edge, home to the elephants. The Penguin and Puffin Coast is a recent indoor addition and offers a cool place to be during the humid summer months. Big Cat Country shouldn’t be missed either. Did we mention admission is free?

McCaskill says...

“The perfect place to enjoy a sunset is with your family, on a deck overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks, while fresh crappie sizzle in the nearby fryer, with an ice-cold Budweiser in your hand.” CLAIRE McCASKILL, freshman Democratic Senator, 53 She says you haven’t really seen Missouri until you’ve tasted cheeseburgers in the following places, too: “Winstead’s on the Plaza in Kansas City, White Grill in Nevada, Village Bar and Grill in Kirkwood, Booches in Columbia, Ebbets Field in Springfield.”

1 Government Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110, 800-966-8877,

One of several caves in southern Missouri

Discover Missouri’s underground art while witnessing what’s taught in geology and anthropology classrooms. Millions of years worth of formations will leave visitors in awe and also provide a cool escape from Missouri’s hot and humid summer with temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees year-round. Here are just a few to choose from:

  • Bridal Cave: 526 Bridal Cave Road, Camdenton, MO 65020, 573-346-2676,
  • Fantastic Caverns: It’s the only drive-through cave in the United States. 4872 N. Farm Road 125, Springfield, MO 65803. 417-833-2010,
  • Ozark Caverns: 823 Ozark Caverns Road, Linn Creek, MO 65052. 573-348-2694

Lake of the Ozarks

The number of activities seems endless whether you spend two days or two weeks here. Possibilities include renting a boat or wave runner, going parasailing, enjoying a game of miniature golf, go-kart racing, shopping and listening to live music. There are also 10 campgrounds. Opportunities abound for fishing or taking a stroll through the woods by visiting Ha Ha Tonks State Park or Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Swinging Bridges is a must-see. Its name originates from the suspended wood-plank bridge over Auglaize Creek. Pack a sack lunch, enjoy the scenery and maybe even do a little swimming.

Canoeing or floating down one of Missouri’s streams or rivers

The Current River is the most spring-fed of all Missouri’s rivers. On any given hot summer weekend you will find the river loaded with people. The Jacks Fork River has been noted as one of the most scenic and craziest rivers to canoe. These are only two of the possible 29 rivers to float.

For detailed maps and mile-by mile descriptions, go to

Forest Park, St. Louis

Formerly home to the World’s Fair in 1904, Forest Park has become a landmark for St. Louis residents. The park houses a number of monuments, historic buildings, wildlife and landscapes as well as the St. Louis Zoo, museums, the St. Louis Science Center and the Muny Opera.

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