Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Antique Toy Museum: Stanton, Missouri

Like the sign says, If you were ever a kid, you'll love the Toy Museum. This unique little museum is just off I-44 exit 230 in Stanton, Missouri.

They're easy to find and well worth including in your Ozark travel plans.

The museum has such a wide variety of vintage toys that you'll be able to find something you or your children played with. From toy trucks to baby dolls. This exhibit has a quite a sampling of antique playthings.

Some of my favorites were the miniature doll house furniture, the Wizard of Oz display, the antique toy trucks, and the Archie and Veronica dolls. The items exhibited date from 1928-1964. If you'd like to start a collection of your own there is a gift shop.

Plan on spending at least an hour here maybe more. There are over 3,000 vintage toy tractors, cars, construction equipment, dolls, lunch boxes, full sized bicycles, scooters, motorcycles and full size trucks. The collection has been valued at more than half a million dollars. It makes me wish I'd hung on to more of my old playthings.

The museum has regular operating hours from May-October and is closed through the winter unless you have a group of 10 or more.

You can contact the owners at 573-927-5555 to arrange a special tour or check hours of operation.

Admission is $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and $2.00 for children.

Have a great trip!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Spend the Day Downtown: Rogers, Arkansas

You can spend an entire day in downtown Rogers, Arkansas. It's brick paved streets and one of a kind museums, shops and eateries it's a perfect addition to your vacation plans.
First you’ll want to stop by the Daisy Air Gun Museum at the corner of Walnut and 2nd Streets. There is an extensive display of air guns from around the world as well as all the Daisy models. You should allow at least half an hour to go through the display. There is a gift shop at the end of the tour where you can still purchase your very own Daisy air rifle. Admission is $2 for anyone over the age of 16. If you’re under 16 you get in free.

On the south end of 2nd Street you’ll find the Friendly Bookstore. It’s a used bookstore run by the Friends of the Rogers Library. They have a huge selection of books all very reasonably priced. If you’re a book lover think about staying for an hour or so here.

Rogers Historical Museum is stone’s throw from the bookstore. They have 2-3 new exhibits up at any given time. The store front and the Attic are staples. The Attic is an interactive exhibit for children. It is set up like a turn of the century home. There are dress-up clothes as well. This is a very hands-on museum so it’s a great place to take the kids. Admission is free.

One block over you’ll find
Frisco Park. The museum keeps a train caboose open there for touring. There is a playground and pavilion. The Farmer’s Market is May-November three days a week in the park. Every Saturday night from April through October Pickin’ in the Park is held. It’s a drop in jam session that starts about 6 pm. You’ll need to bring a lawn chair with you. Different groups set up around the park. You’re sure to find something you like. The park also has public restrooms. Admission is free.

Or maybe you’d like to catch a show at the
Rogers Little Theatre. It’s located between The Friendly Bookstore and the Daisy Air Gun Museum on 2nd Street.

It’s easy to spend the entire day and not leave downtown Rogers. In addition to the places I’ve mentioned there are great shops, art galleries and eateries. You can’t go wrong when you include downtown Rogers, Arkansas in your Ozark travel plans.

Have a great trip!

Daisy Air Gun Museum

Directions to The Friendly Bookstore

Rogers Historical Museum

Frisco Park

Pickin’ In the Park- bluegrass, country, gospel

Rogers Little Theater

Frisco Park Farmer’s Market

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tall Pines Camping Cabins:Branson, Missouri

Rooms in Branson can be a major expense so why not try a Camping Cabin. The cabins at Tall Pines Campground will sleep four comfortably. Each is outfitted with a queen size bed and a set of bunk beds. You must bring your own bed linens and pillows.

The cabins are heated and cooled and have a mini fridge and cable television. There is a front porch, picnic table, fire ring, grill and running water outside. The cabins are situated close to the bathrooms and showers. There is no running water inside the cabin. Pets are not allowed in camping cabins.

There is a no smoking rule inside the cabins. Wifi is available at the pavilion. A pool and a playground are available for your enjoyment.

You'll need to bring a mix of camping gear and regular travel stuff. Since you have a room you can actually bring suitcases but you'll still need your shower bag and shoes. I'd advise a flashlight for any after dark bathroom trips and maybe a nightlight for the cabin.

Don't forget to bring along all the gear you'll need for cooking and eating as well. Of course you'll want to eat out some of the time but a box of cereal and some milk or sandwich fixings can save you a ton of money. A small coffee pot and a cooler with cold drinks and water would be a good idea as well.

A camping cabin at Tall Pines will run about thirty dollars a night. They are available March 1-December 1 each year. None of them are handicap accessible. Call 1-417-338-2445 for more information or 1-800-425-2300 to make a reservation. They give 10% discounts to AAA, FMCA, AARP, Good Sam, Silver Dollar City Season Pass Holders and Veterans.

Their physical address is 5558 Hwy 265 in Branson just 1/2 mile from Silver Dollar City. Use the money you save to buy a Silver Dollar City Season Pass or visit the Dixie Stampede.

Have a great trip!

Tall Pines Campground Camping Cabins

RV Park Reviews by actual campers

Camping Cabins at Cardinal Hill (they do have some handicap accessible cabins)

The weather in Branson, Missouri

Map of Branson, Missouri

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Lyric: Harrison, Arkansas

The Lyric Theater is owned and operated by the Ozarks Art Council. They've done a lot of restoration on this historic theater but more is in the works.
They've installed new heat and air, updated the sound system, added restrooms and restored the 1931 wall murals. Updated seating is on the list.
They host several plays, movies and concerts here each year. If Harrison is in your Ozark travel plans then check out The Lyric's schedule. You never know what band may be playing.
Or maybe you can catch a speaker like photographer Tim Ernst.
Would you love to see Rear Window on the big screen again? The original one with Grace Kelly and James Stewart or Desk Set starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. The Lyric gives you this opportunity and tickets are only $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for students. Sunday afternoon movies start at 2 pm and Monday movies at 7 pm. Don't miss the chance to experience your favorite classics in the theater again.
The Lyric is definitely worth adding to your Arkansas travel must see list.
Have a great trip!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Attend Rodeo School: Humansville, Missouri

Ever thought you might want to ride bulls or broncs? How about a career as a rodeo clown? If it's a dream of yours maybe you should travel to Humansville, Missouri and attend the three day Sankey Rodeo School.

The school has classes for folks who are serious about making rodeo a career but they also have classes for us amateurs who just want a taste of it. It's a perfect addition to your Ozarks travel plans.

The Vision Quest Adventure Experience is designed to let people of almost any age try their hand at bull riding. Physical condition is more important than age. They've had riders from 7-70. Lots of men and women take this class. They go through the same training the professionals do except they have the option of not getting on a real bull. If they choose to do so, they have the option of riding a bull that may not be as aggressive as the regualr rodeo bulls.

If you're a serious rodeo person you can expect three days of riding, drills, practices and one on one coaching. You don't have to have any experience to take the class. At the end of three days a student rodeo is held. It's off limits to all except family so don't plan on crashing the party.

If you don't want to ride anything you have the option of going through ground training. You'd do everything the other cowboys and girls (Yes, girls) do except riding bulls or broncs. The cost is $60.00. Ground training is a good option if you're thinking of getting into the sport or if you just want to learn more about it.

You can bring your own rodeo equipment if you like and they'll help you fine tune it. If you don't have any, don't worry. Sankey provides everything you need except the boots. You can't wear Ropers, lace-ups, or high tops and nothing with a rubber sole. Just about any kind of a western style boot will work. It needs to fit well and have a close fitting shank. They sell competition boots if you don't already own a pair. You might want to order them now and break them in first.

You must reserve a spot in class ahead of time so they can have the proper amount of instructors and animals ready. If you just show up you'll be charged an additional $75.00

You should be physically fit when you take the classes. Sankey suggests the Body for Life program or something similar. You must also be insured except for Ground School. Make certain that it will cover rodeo activity. If you don't have insurance or yours doesn't cover this activity call Jim Chamley at 1-719-338-3428 to set up a temporary policy. Proof of insurance is required before they'll let you on the livestock.

They don't provide lodging, food or airport pickup so be prepared to find your own accommodations. Rodeo school is still reasonably priced at about $380.00 for the full three days.

All enrollees, even for ground school, receive a lifetime discount on rodeo equipment.

The Humansville classes take place at the Double J Indoor Arena. It's a 1500 seat arena, 10 miles west of Humanville.

Have a great trip!

Sankey Rodeo Schools

Sankey Ground School

Custom Rodeo Competition Boots

Questions about Rodeo School answered

Sankey School bull riders on YouTube

Weather in Humansville, Missouri

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Route 66 Mural City: Cuba Missouri

When you're traveling Route 66 through the Missouri Ozarks be sure to take the time to stop in Cuba. It's twelve full sized murals make it worth a look. The project started in 2001 when a bank commissioned the first one and it has snowballed from there.

The murals depict historical events from the town's history, such as Amelia Earharts' emergency landing in 1928, Harry Truman's campaign stop, the Gold Star soldiers from WWII, and actress Betty Davis visit to Cuba.

One mural is a set nine panels with a Civil War theme. Half of the money needed to complete these, $36,000 was raised by a fifteen year old Boy Scout as part of his Eagle Scout project.

There are plaques beside each mural that describe the events that inspired their creation. Allow about an hour to stop and enjoy these works of art.
While you're there you may as well drop in at Frisco's Grill & Pub for a piece of their famous Choo Choo Chocolate Cake. You'll need one piece and two forks. It's rich enough to satisfy any chocolate craving.

Cuba is 75 miles south of Saint Louis on I-44 and Route 66. Viewing the murals is free.
Have a great trip!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shiloh Museum: Springdale, Arkansas

Shiloh Museum is located on two wooded acres in the heart of Springdale, Arkansas. It's seven historic buildings as well as the 22,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting spaces make it unique to the area.

Plan on spending at least a couple of hours here. More if you attend an event or plan on doing research. The paths leading to the builings outside may be a bit uneven but not terribly so. It's safe to wear sandals when the weather permits. Admission is free.

Shiloh offers several educational opportunities for groups and individuals. They have a number of field trips, living history programs, and outreach programs. Seasonal programs are available as well.

If you have an interest in doing research it's best to make an appointment. The staff will pull documents, photos and research files and have them available upon arrival. Copies of documents and photos are available for a reasonable price.

Several groups meet at the museum. You can sit in on a free life writing class the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month at 10 a.m. with June Jefferson. Or visit the Tellers of Tales the 3rd Saturday at 10:30 (no meetings in July or August) The museum also holds antique appraisals from time to time. You can call 479-750-8165 if you have any questions.

If you aren't able to make it to the museum you can tour their online exhibits or checkout one of their many downloadable podcasts.

The museum is located at 118 W Johnson Avenue, Springdale, Arkansas. You can contact them at 479-750-8165. They are open 10-5 Monday through Saturday. They close on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day

Shiloh Museum of Ozarks History has many events, classes and exhibits throughout the year and it's definitely a must see on your trip to the Ozarks.

Have a great trip!

Calendar of Events

Rodeo of the Ozarks online exhibit

Northwest Arkansas History Podcasts

Groups that meet at the museum

Classes at the Shiloh Museum

Copy and Photo reprint fees

Monday, October 15, 2007

Civil War Battle Reenactment: Bentonville, Arkansas

It's time for the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Pea Ridge. The battle will be reenacted on October 27-28. Don't miss it because it's only done on odd years. The next one won't be until 2009. It's hosted by the Peel House Foundation and the Bentonville CVB

The schedule is as follows:


8:00 The gates are open
11:30 C.W. Webb, a historian, will present Medical Equipment of the Civil War.

1:00 pm the Battle begins.
1:45 Symposium with Dr William Shea and Dr William Piston

4:00 pm the Battle will commence once more


10:00 Period church service
1:00 another Battle exhibition takes place.

Admission is reasonably priced at $7.00 per carload. Bring lawn chairs and blankets for battle viewing. Period Sutlers and present day food vendors will be present. They are serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. I highly recommend having a bowl of soup and a chunk of cornbread or a funnel cake while you're there.

You can spend the entire day viewing the battles, attending presentations and visiting the camps where soldiers are preparing for battle. You can walk through the encampments where they'll be exhibiting medical care, clothing, and food. Questioning the reenactors is encouraged.

The battle is held on several acres. Parking is toward the front, it isn't paved and it's some distance to the site. Be sure to allow time to get situated before the excitement begins.

Please be advised this event is held on farm land. The terrain is not wheelchair or stroller friendly. Golf carts will be available to shuttle folks with wheelchairs and other assistive devices to the viewing area. The able bodied need to be prepared to hoof it. A pair of sturdy closed toed shoes would be ideal.

Some bleacher seating will be available on a first come, first serve basis. You're encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating. No coolers, alcohol, or glass containers are allowed.

Service animals are allowed but other pets should sit this one out. There are guns and cannon firing and horses involved in the reenactment. Many pets do not respond well to this.

There will be Porta potties on site.

If you've never been to a reenactment it's a great way to spend the day. You and your family can learn a lot from all of the knowledgeable staff and participants.

Have a great trip!

Peel Mansion Museum

Directions to the Battle

Weather for Rogers, Arkansas

Pea Ridge National Military Park

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Caving in Missouri

Missouri has gained the nickname "The Cave State". It has over 6,200 caves and about 100 more are found every year. Only Tennessee has more.

Over half of Missouri's caves are not mapped at this time and eighty percent of them are on private land.

Caving is not something to do on a lark. While it can be exciting and addictive you have to know what you're doing. If you've never been and would like to try it contact an area caving club or grottos about joining them for an expedition.

Some basic rules of cave safety are:

1. Never cave alone. A minimum of four people is ideal.
2. Each person should carry no less than four seperate light sources.
3. Inform a dependable person on the surface of you're itinerary. Let them know when you return.
4. Don't ever touch stalactites or stalagmites . Never leave litter behind.

There are three caves open on a permit basis. They are the Branson Cave, Lost Man Cave, and Bluff Cave. If you're an experience caver and are looking for someplace new to explore on your Ozarks vacation. Permits are available during the summer months only.

If you aren't ready to tackle a cave on your own. Why not visit the Round Springs Cavern. It's located near Eminence, Missouri on Highway 19 offer a lamp light guided tour of a beautiful cave so you'll get a taste for how it would be. Wear sturdy shoes and take a jacket. It costs $5 for adults, $2 for under 12. Tickets are for sale 30 minutes before each tour. Memorial Day-Labor Day. They only take 15 people at a time so get your tickets early.

Missouri Caving

Missouri and Federal Cave Laws

Ozark National Scenic Riverways Cave Use Rules and Regs

Find out about Ozark Caves

Get a Missouri Caving Permit

Find a Missouri Caving Club (Grotto)

Round Springs Caverns

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

War Eagle Mills Craft Fair: Springdale, Arkansas

People travel from all over the United States to attend the War Eagle Mill Craft Fair. With approximately 350 vendors, free admission and free parking it's a perfect Ozarks travel destination.

The fair started in 1954 as the result of an exhibition held after a week long weaving course and has been going strong ever since. Today it boasts about 350 vendors.

There are large exhibit tents and an exhibit hall as well as many outdoor booths. There is a wide variety of food available in addition to all the wonderful crafts. You can also tour the historic War Eagle Mill while you're there.

If you'd like to attend find the third Saturday in October on your calendar and it'll be that weekend from Thursday-Sunday. If you plan on going you might also check out the Arkansas Razorbacks home game schedule as this will have a direct bearing on how early you need to book a room. It can be hard to find a room anywhere in Northwest Arkansas during a home game.

The Craft Fair is open from 8-5 Thursday-Saturday and from 8-4 on Sunday. It's kind of like shopping at the mall. The earlier in the day that you go the less crowded it is.

You'll want to allow several hours to tour the War Eagle Craft Fair. Be sure to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. If rain is in the forecast you'll need an umbrella and be prepared for mud. Pets are not allowed at the fair unless they are service animals.

War Eagle doesn't have a spring show any more. Instead they've returned to their beginnings. Since the fair was started as the result of a weaving class, they've begun offering seminars in April instead. The cost is $100 for a five day class. Some camping may be available on the grounds, but it's first come first serve so have a backup plan.

The War Eagle Craft Festival is October 18-21, 2007 this year.

Call Shirley Sutton at 1-479-789-5398 for more information.

War Eagle Mill Craft Festival

Monday, October 8, 2007

Horseback Riding in Missouri

Any time of year is a great time of year to ride horses. Whether you are riding through crisp wintry air, a cloud of spring dogwood, basking in the warmth of summer or enjoying fall foliage. There’s no better way to enjoy your Ozarks vacation.

There are eighty two horse riding trails in the state of Missouri. Forty four of them are located in the Ozarks. That makes it the perfect place for a vacation. State and federal agencies worked together to create a listing of riding trails in Missouri.

To obtain a hard copy of the brochure you can call 1-800-334-6946 /1800-379-2419 (TDD # only) or email them at The brochure is also available online at the Missouri State Parks website. It lists private trail riding venues as well.

For information about rules, regulations and fees you’ll have to contact the trail manager. Phone numbers are listed on the brochure and on the web.

Be advised these trails are open to hikers and bikers also.

Missouri Parks have five designated Equestrian campgrounds.

Sam A Baker State Park

Su Casa Bed & Breakfast

Have a great trip!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Buffalo National River Rules and Regualtions: Arkansas

These are the River Safety Rules posted at Tyler Bend on the Buffalo National River. Some items are suggestions. Some are the law. It's all information you need to know if you plan on floating the Buffalo National River on your Ozarks vacation. For a copy of rules and regulations contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

River Safety comes first. Consider the following in planning a safe and enjoyable trip:

· Life Jackets are required of all boaters. State law requires that children under thirteen wear them at all times in a boat or canoe.

· Capsizing happens! Tie in your gear, but not your crew. Stay upstream from your canoe (i.e., don’t get between a rock and your boat), float on your back and point your feet downstream.

· Obstacles like fallen trees and large rocks appear and disappear with changing water levels. Scout out rapids before you run them.

· Glass containers are prohibited within 100 feet of the river and streams, in caves and on trails.

· Coolers, ice chests, and other storage containers must be sealed or locked to prevent them from emptying into water. A mesh trash bag that can be tightly sealed must be securely affixed to canoe or boat.

· Beverages not in storage containers around rivers and streams must be attached to or held within floating holders to prevent sinking in the water. Alcohol and boating don’t mix-save your drinks for later.

· Summer boating means lots of water-reflected sunlight. Bring sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and drink lots of water. Winter boating requires synthetic or wool (non-cotton clothes. Bring extra in a dry bag; wear a hat and waterproof mittens!

· Pets may be taken in boats, but must be restrained on a leash six feet or shorter when on shore.

· Motors must be below 10 horsepower and are not allowed upstream of the Erbie ford.

· Diving and jumping from bluffs into the river is dangerous. People have become paralyzed or even died after striking submerged rocks.

· Canoeing skills are a must before embarking on a river trip. Consult a ranger or as a canoe consessioner for a demonstration of basic techniques.

· Poisonous snakes and spiders are common, but rarely a problem. Be observant and respect their presence.

· Water from streams and springs is unsafe to drink unless purified. Protozoanx like giardia might be present causing prolonged illness.

· River rises occur rapidly and sometimes with little warning due to upstream rains. Stay informed of conditions and weather forecasts.

· Ticks can carry diseases. Frequent checks and proper removal can prevent disease transmission.

This information will help you plan a successful trip to the Buffalo National River.

Have a great trip!

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Basic Canoeing Video
Poisonous snakes of Arkansas
How to Remove a Tick
What is giardia?
Safe river levels for canoeing
Current Buffalo National River levels
River conditions

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Have Your Picture Taken With a Star!: Springdale, Arkansas

When you're traveling through Springdale, Arkansas swing by Allen's Canning on Hwy 71 and take a picture with Popeye. Though we don't see much of him in the tabloids these days, he's still a bonafide star in my book. Best of all there's no admission cost. He's just standing beside the road waiting for you.

If you haven't seen a Popeye cartoon in a while YouTube has a ton of them. Many are public domain now.

The statue is on the east side of the highway past the Huntsville Road stoplight on Hwy 71 N. There is plenty of room to park and he's far enough off the road to safely take pictures.

If spinach is in season you might stop by a local Farmer's Market and pick up a fresh batch. The one at the Jones Center for Families is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through October from 7 am to 1 pm.

Have a great trip!

Popeye cartoons

Arkansas Farmers Markets

Jones Center for Families

Spinach Recipes

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fall Fun in the Ozarks

There are so many activities to enjoy year round when you travel the Ozarks. But fall is a favorite time for everyone. It brings Halloween, haunted houses, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. There are also train rides, leisurely drives to enjoy the fall foliage and craft fairs and festivals. Here are some links to help you get started.

Visit a pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkin. Some places have hayrides and games as well as pumpkins.

Pick pumpkins in an Arkansas patch, take a hayride
Pumpkin patches in Missouri
Visit a Corn Maze

Ready to be scared? Arkansas and Missouri have more than their share of haunted houses and caves.

Visit the Haunted Spanish Treasure Cave
Have Halloween fun at a Missouri Haunted House!
Haunted Houses in Arkansas

If you're more the fun and games type try out one of the many harvest festivals in the Ozarks.

Find a fun Fall Festival in Arkansas
Missouri festivals and events
Fall Family Festival at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale, Arkansas

Join The Big Sit! bird-a-thon. The object is to tally as many species of birds as you can see or hear in a 24 hour period.

Feeling crafty? People come from all over the country to attend Ozarks craft shows.

War Eagle Mill Craft Fair
Applegate Craft Fair
Spanker Creek Farm Crafts

Cruise the scenic byways and catch the fall foliage show.

Fall foliage report
Scenic Highways in Arkansas (Most roads in Arkansas are scenic already. Try I-540 between Fayetteville and Fort Smith. It's breathtaking.
Missouri Scenic Byways
Take a train ride on the Arkansas Missouri RR

Drop in at a Farmers Market

Farmers Markets in Missouri
Arkansas Farmer's Markets

Want to kick back and relax? Go to the Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival. Pull up a lawn chair and a bag of kettle corn and relax.

Whatever you decide to do remember the weather in the Ozarks is unpredictable. It may be 85 degrees one day and 53 degrees the next so pack a jacket and come prepared to have a blast.

Have a great trip!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Airport Cafe: Springdale, Arkansas

When you’re traveling the Ozarks there is always an opportunity to eat somewhere other than a chain restaurant. While something is to be said for the familiarity of eating at Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee’s or even McDonald’s it’s also a lot of fun to try out the local eateries. A hands down favorite breakfast and lunch spot is the Airport Café in Springdale, Arkansas.

As the name indicates it’s located inside the Springdale Municipal Airport. The café is on the second floor and can be reached via elevator or a staircase. One wall of the Airport Café is windows and there is an area to dine outside on the balcony if you wish. You’ll have a perfect view of the runway and can watch airplanes take off and land while you eat.

The food is consistently good and the double bacon cheeseburger is hard to beat. The secret is that Fred Phillips, owner of the Airport Café, does all the cooking. He or his wife normally pop out and make sure that everyone is satisfied with their meal. Something you don’t get at Micky D’s.

If you’re traveling in or around Springdale, Arkansas just follow the airport signs and they’ll lead you right to it. The address is 802 Airport Avenue, Springdale, Arkansas if you’d like to map it. The phone number is 479-756-3339. They are open Monday-Friday from 6-2 and Saturday and Sunday from 7-2.

While you’re there you should definitely try an apple dumpling ala mode. Yummy.

Have a great trip!