ROAD TRIP ADVENTURES
Where do you go when you’re craving a weekend getaway with your family? In partnership with Visit Missouri, we embarked on a fun road trip through the state to explore and find adventure!
Our first stop after arriving in Springfield was Fantastic Caverns. This ride-through cave, discovered in 1862 by a farmer's dog and originally explored by an all-women crew, was such a fascinating and exhilarating experience. As the tour progressed, we could feel the magnitude and depth of the cave. The immense stillness down there was magical.
TRU BY HILTON
After our cave adventure, we checked into Tru by Hilton Hotel. This is a great place to stay, whether you’re solo or traveling with kids. They offer so many hotel perks and amenities. The
kids loved the lobby area that had a pool table and board games.
GAILEY’S BREAKFAST CAFE
Several Springfield locals told us Gailey’s Breakfast Cafe was one of the best breakfast spots, so of course we had to check it out. This Springfield restaurant is SUCH a gem. The entire aesthetic of the restaurant was relaxed and welcoming. On the weekends, they feature live musical guests which just adds to the experience.
We were in awe of the food! They offered all of the traditional breakfast favorites, like fluffy pancakes, French toast and breakfast scrambles. In addition to all the go-to breakfast entrees, they offered a wide range of vegan and vegetarian options.
BLACK LAB COFFEE CO
After breakfast, we explored downtown Springfield and made our way to Black Lab Coffee Co. I heard the coffee scene in Springfield was vibrant, and this particular spot had been on my list of coffee shops to visit for a while.
The overall vibe of the shop was cozy and inviting. My son Kailand said it was the most relaxing coffee shop he’s ever been to. As a coffee connoisseur, I ten out of ten WOULD recommend making a stop at this cute shop when in Springfield.
DICKERSON PARK ZOO
The weather was absolute perfection for a day at the zoo. Our first stop was the petting zoo area. The kids enjoyed feeding the goats and llamas. My favorite creature was the donkey, who would do just about anything to get a handful of treats. In addition to a wide variety of animals, Dickerson Park Zoo has a train, several playgrounds and a restaurant/snack bar.
SHEPHERD’S ADVENTURE PARK
Our first stop in Branson was THE spot to go, whether you’re a leisure seeker or adrenaline junkie! This adventure park offers a scenic zip line tour, ropes course and their brand-new mountain coaster. We decided to thrill ourselves on the Copperhead Mountain Coaster, and it was fantastic. This fast-paced ride takes you through the scenic and beautiful Ozark Mountains with exhilarating loops and turns. We also loved that, as a driver, you can control the speed of your ride depending on if you prefer a high-speed or relaxed ride.
Following the epic mountain coaster, we decided to check out Shepherd’s PumpkinFest for the rest of the day. Let me just say, it was the best decision ever because this place had it ALL. This epic fall festival had a petting zoo, a large indoor and outdoor playground, a bounce house and bounce pad, a rock wall climbing area, an ice cream parlor, and more!
DANNA’S BAR-B-QUE & BURGER SHOP
After a full day of fun, we were starving and decided to check out Danna’s Bar-B-Que & Burger Shop for dinner. I don’t eat barbecue often, BUT when I do, it has to be good. Danna’s understood the assignment. Kailand chose one of the shop's infamous cheeseburgers and said it was the best one he’s ever had. My other son, Maddox, went with his usual chicken strips, but ended up sharing the ribs my daughter Audri and I ordered. In the words of Maddox: “We give this spot a 100 out of 10!”
CLUB WYNDHAM MOUNTAIN VISTA
We checked into the gorgeous Club Wyndham Mountain Vista resort in Branson, and we were in awe. This is such a perfect spot, especially if you have kids! The resort offers a plethora of amenities, including multiple outdoor pools, an indoor pool and a recreation center with a game room, as well as daily activities planned for the whole family. They also have multiple room options, including suites like the one we had. The kids loved that they had their own room, and I loved that the space also included a washer and dryer!
Branson has SOOO many entertainment options, which can feel a little overwhelming. I’d suggest planning out the spots you want to see and purchasing tickets ahead of time.
We decided to spend our day at WonderWorks, the upside-down museum.This whimsically fascinating place features more than 100 hands-on displays and interactive exhibits with an emphasis on science and art. You can easily spend HOURS here because there is something for everyone. A few of our favorite interactive displays were the Bed of Nails, Astronaut Training Simulator and the Wonder Art Gallery.
Pro Tip: Do a height check at home before visiting this spot so you know which rides and exhibits each kiddo can do.
We arrived at our lunch spot, Billy Gail’s, ready to EAT. This Branson restaurant is known for its southern down-home cooking with favorites like fried green tomatoes and fried pickles. The fried pickles were our favorite!
After lunch, we went to the cutest, old-fashioned candy store that had all the nostalgic favorites. They also had freshly made fudge and saltwater taffy. We all recommend adding this spot to your itinerary when you visit Branson, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
THE BUTTERFLY PALACE AND RAINFOREST ADVENTURE
Our very last stop on this Missouri weekend road trip was The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure. This magical oasis showcases over 1,000 butterflies, a mirror maze, tree maze and exotic reptile area. Being immersed in the habitat of these beautiful butterflies was such a calming experience and the perfect way to end a fun-filled getaway.
At the end of our journey, we all agreed that this was by far one of our favorite road trips! We crammed a lot into such a short period of time and can’t wait to go back for round two soon!
Thanks to Visit Missouri for sponsoring this blog post. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
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