Missouri - "The Show Me State" - has plenty to offer! This article brings you a selection of the vast range of sights and attractions to be experienced whilst driving Route 66 in Missouri including beautiful parks, monuments, museums, drive-ins and even the hide-out of Jesse James himself!
As with my earlier post regarding Illinois, this is not intended to be viewed as a definitive list, merely bringing you a flavor of what Missouri can offer. You can find a more extensive list of things to see along the whole length of Route 66 by clicking here.
Listed in order from east to west, here are my 10 things to see on Route 66 in Missouri...
The Chain of Rocks bridge was, for some time, the path used by Route 66 travelers to cross the Mississippi river. These days the bridge only carries walking and biking trails over the river, although parking is available at the start of the now pedestrian route for roadies wishing to stretch their legs and enjoy the view. The most notable feature of the bridge is the 22-degree bend occurring at the middle.
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Gary's Gay Parita is a recreation of a 1930 Sinclair gas station, lovingly constructed by the late Gary Turner but now cared for by his daughter Barbara and son-in-law George. The site includes a replica station, along with original pumps and other memorabilia from the heyday of Route 66. Barbara and George are wonderful hosts who will go out of their way to ensure that visitors are looked after.
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An iconic image of St Louis, the Gateway Arch stands 192m tall and 192m wide at it’s base making it the US’s tallest monument. Visitors can reach the observation deck via an elevator system comprised of a series of small pod-like trams. On a clear day the view can stretch for 30 miles!
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The Meramec Caverns have been allowing road weary travellers to cool off in their 7.4km cavern system since 1935. Legend has it that Jesse James used these caverns as a hideout, using the underground river to make a hasty escape through the “back door”! Meramec Caverns is a popular vacation stop along Route 66 and well worth a look - guided tours are a fantastic experience all year round and an outdoor zip-line experience is available from March to October.
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This great theatre is one of the last remaining drive-ins on Route 66. It usually opens the first weekend of April and runs through mid-September, depending on the attendance and availability of films. Each showing consists of 2 movies and a nostalgic intermission trailer. What better way to spend an evening on holiday than reclining a with a large popcorn…
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In 2002, Cuba was designated the “Route 66 Mural City” by the Missouri legislature. The many murals – a result of the development of the Viva Cuba organisation – have created a lot of interest and beautified the Route 66 corridor through Cuba. The murals continue to attract many tourists, as well as local people. With the community embracing the idea of public art, Cuba has become an “art friendly” town.
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Built in 2008, and situated at the Fanning 66 Outpost, this enormous structure once held the Guinness World Record for being the world's largest rocking chair. That was until it was usurped by an even larger chair in Casey, Illinois. Even so, this 42 foot tall rocker is still able to declare itself to be the largest rocker on Route 66! It no longer rocks however as the fear that tourists might flip it over became too great and the rocker was ultimately welded to it's base. Nevertheless, this is a great photo op!
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This Route 66 Museum is located with the Laclede County library. The exhibits are fun to walk through including an old gas station, a shabby-looking motel room and a mock up of a diner. There is also a good collection of vintage maps and collectibles including a large collection of salt and pepper shakers from Route 66 restaurants! Admission is free but there is a donation box for you to express your gratitude.
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Situated with easy access to the Meramec River, the Route 66 State Park is a welcome break for travellers who want to enjoy nature and see interesting historical displays showcasing Route 66. Bridgehead Inn, a 1935 roadhouse, serves as Route 66 State Park’s visitor center and houses Route 66 memorabilia. There are excellent opportunities to picnic, exercise, bird watch or study nature.
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Uranus Missouri, often called simply “Uranus,” is a tourist attraction located in the rural area of Pulaski County, Missouri. It is a shopping mall featuring a sports bar, nightclub, tattoo shop, festival food truck lot, and an outdoor store with a gun range and pro-shop. It’s also home to a Fudge Factory and General Store. A welcome stop for sweet-toothed lovers of fudge and other candy – the Fudge Factory is a particularly popular destination.
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