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Things to do in Springfield

    Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site Lamar, Missouri
    Visit the homestead of one of Harry S. Truman, the only Missourian to have been elected President of the United States, and born in Lamar, Missouri, just outside of Springfield, in the bottom bedroom of a wood frame house. He was the son of John Anderson and Martha Ellen Young Truman. The birthplace was occupied by the Truman family for another 11 months, and was constructed in 1880. They bought the house, a 20 by 28 foot structure, as newlyweds in 1882 for $685. It is open for visitation, with four rooms downstairs and two up, with a smokehouse, outhouse and well. The house is filled with period furniture and furnishings that were typical of the time, and the landscape that encompasses the house is also what was used during that time; although there wasn't any electricity or plumbing. In 1959, the United Auto Workers would donate the estate so that it could be preserved for all generations and it is now a historic site for the state. President Truman came to the dedication in April of 1959, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house seems to emulate the president's trademark country sayings and down-to-earth sensibility, inviting all visitors with welcome arms. What is really amazing is that they were able to put four rooms in just a 20 by 28 foot floor space? Not much room for anything or anyone, but times were different and they evidently didn't need as much space as we do nowadays.  As with many great men and presidents, Harry Truman wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and didn't have rich friends, family or otherwise. What he did have, was the dedication, perseverance and determination to do the job right the first time, and be sure. Harry started his education in Independence, Missouri in the last years of the 19th century, forced to go to work after high school so his brother and sister could get their education as well. He worked long hard hours on his father's farm, until his siblings were done and then went to work as a timekeeper for a railroad contractor in the mailing room of the Kansas City Star and then in two banks. In 1906, he had to go back to help with the farm, and seemed content enough with what he had and earned. If the first world war hadn't began, he might not ever has left Missouri, but it did and he entered the army in 1917, going to France where his character blossomed, and his outstanding abilities as a leader started to shine. He was promoted to commander of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, which was involved in some of the most violent fighting of the war; especially at the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. When the war finally ended, he went back home to marry his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth "Bess" Wallace on June 28, 1919 in Independence. He did try the business world again, and was doing good, until it declined and soon failed. Harry worked for the next ten years to pay off his debts from the business and soon met James Pendergast, the nephew of KC political boss, Tom Pendergast, that brought the sensible and honest Truman into politics and slowly but surely, he climbed to the top of the political ladder to the presidency. You can read more about this unusual man, who didn't have the political backing of the wealthy or the national parties, but did have the tenacity and friendship of the American public.  Harry S. Truman was the only president from 1897 onward that didn't have a college degree.

    Dickerson Park Zoo
    Dickerson Park Zoo Springfield, MissouriDickerson Park Zoo is located in Springfield, Missouri, started by the Springfield Park Board in 1922, and developed later by the WPA during the 1930s. It seemed to just exist from the day it was opened until the 1970s, with little development or support, so that by 1975, the zoo had become the run-down liability of the city. In fact, it was on the edge of being closed down, but the city and a newly created group known as the Friends of the Zoo go together and saved it from extinction and the next decade saw a rejuvenation that helped make the zoo a valuable cultural asset to the city and community. The revitalization of the zoo came at a time when the philosophical changes were being considered by zoos all over the nation. A new master plan was initiated in 1985, that saw a new and better zoo with geographical themes, as well as engaging in numerous species survival plans, most significantly, the Asian elephants, maned wolves and cheetahs; and gaining success in each category. Education programs in the zoo and the outreach programs helped them as well, getting community support, and helping the zoo to improve and grow. Today the zoo houses some 450 animals that represent 160 species. Their themed exhibit areas represent five geographic regions throughout the world and the Diversity of Life that is seen around the zoo and world. The regions are birds, reptiles and amphibians, Missouri habitats, mammals and tropical Asia.

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 2300 N. Apt. Blvd.

    Air and Military Museum of the OzarksAir and Military Museum of the Ozarks Springfield, Missouri
    The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks is located in Springfield, Missouri and is dedicated to restoring, preserving and showcasing the many relics of the military history and memorabilia for the community, and to the men and women of this country that died to save the freedoms we have fought so many times, in so many ways and places around the world. The museum began in 1989 and had only one showcase when it did. Their growth has been much like the museum's internal growth, gaining more than 5000 items of military history, that include vintage aircraft, rejuvenating the vintage military equipment and the continued support of the museum's school that offers the young people of today and tomorrow, the true history and science of this country's armed forces. More than 300 students attended this outstanding school, learning things about the military and this country that no public agenda could ever attempt or attain. The museum has a wonderful souvenir shop where you can pick up those authentic military patches, t-shirts, dog tags, pins and calendars, enabling many of you with collections to update theirs or just find one that you don't have. It is a great way to support the museum and at the same time help you get a great collection of either pins or patches. Depending on which branch of the service you or your parent was in, these pins and or patches look really great on a pea coat, or flak jacket or any other type of jacket you may have, the perfect place to showcase your collection. One of the most interesting things that can be learned on their web site is about the verbiage of the word; Jeep. It seems that during WWI, the motor pool grease monkeys would refer to the Ford GPs as jeep, short for gp. Ford had produced 3700 units of these GPs for the war effort in 1941, while Willys made 1553 Model MAs. It is quite interesting and something new to learn about these versatile vehicles that are one of the most popular off road vehicles produced in America.

     Fantastic Caverns
    Fantastic Caverns Springfield, Missouri
    The Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri is the only cave in America that you can ride through. It is a family business that was found in 1862 by a local farmer, although it was really his dog that crawled through a space in the brush and found the entrance. It would be five years later that the cave would be first explored, and that by 12 women from Springfield, who had answered an add seeking explorers to head off into the cave; and their names can still be seen on the wall of the cave today. As with most caves, they are quite vulnerable and often roped off or closed off to visitors, but this cave has solved that problem by taking you through the cave in a jeep drawn tram that lets you sit back and relax, all the while looking every which way you can. This way, the cave is preserved for all posterity and visitors for years to come. This year, the cave owners are encouraging local students to start one of the most exciting programs ever offered in these United States, the chance to enroll in CSI: Fantastic Caverns, bringing students to the underground classroom where they will learn all there is to learn about caves, stalagmites, stalactites and all the numerous terms for the magnificent rock formations that exist in caves. You will also learn about the discreet ways that we can harm the caves, that includes skin oils, hairs, lint and even pollution that is able to seep into the caves from above in the ground water. One of the features of this class involves a cave crime scene where vandals have struck and after leaving there are some clues that will help these modern cave CSI students figure out who dunit and what happened. It is a marvelous way to learn more about caves and the beauty that lies within.

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 2300 N. Apt. Blvd. Ste. 107
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Springfield Enterprise Rental Cars
-  3220 S. Campbell Ave. 
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Local Restaurants in Springfield

    Ocean Zen Pacific Rim Dining
    Dinner; crispy wok chicken with jasmine rice, sesame snow peas, pineapple citrus sake glaze; macadamia nut chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, Asian veggies, white cheddar cream sauce; shrimp pasta with tomatoes, spinach, bay scallops, lemon butter sauce; BBQ chicken & tempura California roll with jasmine rice, sesame snow peas, teriyaki butter sauce; hibachi salmon with jasmine rice, bacon scallops, roasted shrimp, citrus ponzu vinaigrette; double cut island style pork chop with vanilla sweet potato puree; chilled pineapple, coconut foam; slow braised beef short ribs & shrimp with garlic truffle potato puree, creamed bacon & spinach, creamy mushroom demiglace; 14oz. Mongolian rib eye steak with sautéed mushroom & asparagus; Asiago herb dusted steak fries, cognac cream sauce; pepper crusted seared ahi tuna with bacon cheddar risotto, roasted prawns, lobster bisque; cheesy vegetable au gratin with tomato basil linguini, grilled portobello, balsamic reduction; flame grilled 8oz. filet mignon with lobster macaroni & cheese, broccolini, braised portobello mushroom sauce; Mongolian lamb chops with horseradish potato puree, asparagus coconut curry sauce; pan seared oven roasted Chilean sea bass with creamy spinach & mushroom risotto, cheesy seafood puff pastry, crab cream sauce.

    Flame Steakhouse
    Starters; crab cakes with sweet Thai chili, remoulade; smoked salmon & Alaskan king crab dip with spinach, artichokes, blend of cheeses; fried calamari with remoulade, sweet Thai chili; tenderloin steak tartare with garlic aioli, horseradish mustard, pan-fried egg, lemon caper sauce, truffle oil. Entrees; 8oz. filet mignon, 12oz. filet mignon, 12oz. bone in filet, bistro medallions is 3 3oz. medallions wrapped in sugar bacon, maple Dijon, 14oz. KC strip, 14oz. rib eye, 24oz. porterhouse; half roasted chicken locally grown, free range & organic with mushroom marsala sauce; 14oz. pork chop with apple cider glaze, flash fried spinach; Alaskan king crab legs by half pound or pound; Atlantic salmon Oscar served medium, Alaskan king crab meat, asparagus, hollandaise; fresh ahi tuna in fresh coriander ginger crusted teriyaki glaze, wasabi slaw.


Mongolian Steak Rib Eye Ocean Zen Springfield, Missouri


Chilean Sea Bass Roasted Ocean Zen Springfield, Missouri



 Alaskan King Crab Legs Flame Steakhouse Springfield, Missouri


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    Springfield Art Museum Springfield Art Museum Springfield, Missouri
    The Springfield Art Museum was started in 1928, and relied on volunteers to run the show, and still needs the continued support of the community in these difficult economic times. It is located in Springfield, Missouri and has been located in numerous buildings before coming to the Phelps Grove Park in 1958, with the 392 seat auditorium being completed in 1974 and the entire restoration of the museum in 1984. Thanks to the generous donations of its patrons, the museum was able to open the Jeannette L. Musgrave Wing with four new exhibition galleries and storage space for the permanent collections in 1994. In 2008, the new entrance was finished with more galleries, library and gift shop completing the ensemble. It houses 8895 works of art that are representative of thousands of years of culture and history, with special collections in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries of watercolors, prints, sculpture and paintings. Current changing exhibitions include; Yvonne Jacquette: The Complete Woodcuts, 1987-2009; which had Yvonne high above her subjects in either planes or the top floors of the highest buildings so she could photograph down or look down on her subjects, gaining a different perspective and thus create marvelous magnificent woodcuts. The second exhibit is Between the Lines: the Katagami Sculpture of Jennifer Falck Linssen that utilizes the ancient art of paper carving called katagami from Japan. Then John Steuart Curry: Scenes from an American Life is John's paintings of the regionalist movement along with fellow painters, Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood during the 1930s. Another display is Selections from the Gifts of Samuel O. King from his donated permanent collections and MOAK 2010 4-State Regional Exhibition. Also included is the Watercolor USA 2011 which showcases the annual juried exhibit that features some of the best known artists and jurors; and the current exhibition from the permanent collection is Throughout the Year: Lithographs by Grant Wood. It is an exciting venue with many beautiful works of art being shown and highlighted by various exhibits, inviting all visitors and citizens to come here and relax while they enjoy some of the finest examples of art in the world.

    Discovery Center of Springfield
    Discovery Center of Springfield, Missouri
    The Discovery Center of Springfield, Missouri is a science center for children that offers hands-on interactive exhibits and displays that marvel and thrill the kids. The center was opened in 1998 after much planning and thought by the Junior League of Springfield that noticed a need for a science center that would complement the community's schools. The center went through a enlargement phase in 2006 that highlighted a green building that would be able to serve as an environmental exhibit. It's virtual library that was begun in 2001 occurred as the evolution of technology rose quickly and offered the center's visitors an opportunity to link up with the public libraries in the area to increase the understanding of many of the exhibits that were being displayed. Their outstanding use of videoconferencing to explore other venues as a tool has helped other centers learn more and adopt the methodology. It is an exciting venue that has been around for more than a decade, although it hasn't been used, nor reached its full potential. The center offers many exciting and informational educational opportunities that allow the children and other visitors to experience hands-on activities that encourage the visitors to learn, while having fun doing it. Some of these offers include; distance learning, field trips, book club, work shops, scout programs, homeschool and outreach programs. Just the workshop opportunities alone offer many exciting and valuable classes that will stretch your children's imagination to the limit with programs like; kitchen science, inventor's workshop, digging up dinosaurs, Suess science, ocean explorers, chocolate 101, cave explorers, survivor's science and many more that will amaze you and your child. This science center explores the outer edge of the envelope and beyond, allowing you, your child and every visitor to gain a greater understanding of the world around us and the enjoyable and fun rewards that are inherent in learning.

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Springfield Branson National Apt. Avis Car Rental  
 2300 N. Apt. Rd.

Avis Car Rental Springfield
- 1210 W. Sunshine St.

    Wilson's Creek National BattlefieldWilson's Creek National Battlefield Republic, Missouri
    The Wilson's Creek National Battlefield is located near Republic, Missouri, just outside of Springfield, preserves the site of the Battle of Wilson's Creek which was fought in August of 1861, and became the first significant battle of the Civil War that was fought west of the Mississippi River. The Confederate army somehow failed to take advantage of their victory which ended up keeping the state of Missouri in the Union. There is a marvelous 5 mile loop for autos, the Bloody Hill where the main battle occurred and the restorated Ray House; all just southwest of Springfield in the southwestern area of the state. The Battle of Wilson's Creek was known as the Battle of Oak Hills as well, with the Union troops needing to win the fight against the Missouri State Guard and save the state for the Union, along with St. Louis, which was an important port on the Mississippi River. It was established on April 22, 1960 and designated a national battlefield in December of 1970; as well as being listed with all the historic areas like this on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The visitor's center carries brochures about the 4.9 mile self-guided tour of the site itself, which does have special events. The museum, which had been called the General Sweeny Museum before being changed to the Wilson's Creek Civil War Museum houses many original relics and artifacts that pertain to the battle and war that was west of the Mississippi, as well as displays about the war and life during it. The outstanding 1850s Ray House is historical because it was used as a temporary field hospital for the Confederacy after the battle; but is only open on weekends in the summer months. The story is a very interesting one and should be read so that people will understand the effects of the coming war and the feelings that people had on both sides. It should be noted that the state did want to remain neutral, although the governor and many others in the state government were preferential to the south, since the majority of the folks living in the state had migrated from the southern states to own lands that were being given away. This almost jeopardized the Union's efforts to keep the state neutral, but events, like the Battle of Wilson's Creek, helped to make the decision as to what beliefs and ideologies should become the state's.

    Crystal Cave
    Crystal Cave Springfield, MissouriCrystal Cave, just five miles north of Springfield, Missouri is one of the most beautiful living natural caves in the nation, without any developments or changes the might affect the natural growth and magnetism of the cavern. It was found in 1893, and have not been upgraded or changed to magnify the natural beauty of the cave, which has become a proud point of the owners. Using the most natural formations to help visitors walk through the cave, you are guided around this historical cavern, with more outstanding formations and attractions that most of the caves in America. Some of the more outstanding natural features include; the upside down well, which is a solution cavity that goes up into the cavern ceiling some 12 feet and is about 6 or 7 feet wide; the rainbow falls are a flowstone formation the shows off the gorgeous colors of this natural phenomenon. The Washington monument is a steep conical stalagmitic dome that is topped with four conventional stalagmites that form grouping that looks like Siamese twins; the castle is a huge dripstone column, three times thicker than it is high; the cathedral is an amazing complex of columns, stalactites, draperies, flowstone cones, grapes, stalagmites, coral and popcorn. One of the most unusual features found in this cave or any other cave in the Ozarks is the splendid fossil crinoid calyxes; as well as the Indian symbols that have been etched into numerous walls. It is an outstanding cave to visit and view, with a constant 59 degree temperature and exciting tunnels and chambers. Visit their gift shop to purchase some of the amazing items that have come from the cave and other areas, including arrow heads. There are natural pathways, handrails and stone steps to help you get around, and it is state inspected to assure every visitor's safety. There are guided tours every day for your pleasure and enjoyment.

Thrifty Car Rental Springfield

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    Wonders of WildlifeWonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri
    The American National Fish and Wildlife Museum is also called the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium, the Wonders of Wildlife Zooquarium or just plain Wonders of Wildlife, is located in Springfield, Missouri and features over 225 species of live animals, saltwater and fresh aquariums, educational programs and interactive exhibits. The center is a 92,000 square foot structure that opened in 2001 and closed in 2007, with plans to reopen in 2008, but was delayed, with a partial reopening in 2010 and a grand reopening in 2011. The museum is the end result of a very intensive lobbying campaign and monetary support by John Morris, the founder of the Bass Pro Shops, for a ballot initiative that helped fund the $52 million cost of the new museum and a museum district that has a special tax to be collected at Bass Pro Shops and a little shoe store across from the shops to help fund the project. It was also able to get $1.5 million in federal funds. One of the highlights is a copy of the native Ozark habitat and numerous Missouri wildlife species; as well as the community pond that offers visitors a marvelous view of Missouri pond life from it underside. There are many meeting rooms available for parties, dances and receptions that can take care of up to 400 people in the lower and upper lobbies. They have an Out to Sea gallery that showcases a 21 foot deep, 225,000 gallon aquarium that contains many types of tropical fish, sharks and rays. In the near future, the museum will host the Archery Hall of Fame and Museum as well as the Fred Bear Museum.

    George Washington Carver National Monument
    George Washington Carver Monument Springfield, MissouriThe George Washington Carver National Monument is part of the National Park Service that can be found about two miles west of Diamond, Missouri, and dedicated on July 14, 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was the first national monument that was ever dedicated to an African American, and the first to a non-President. It preserves the site of the boyhood home of Carver, the 1881 Moses Carver house and the Carver cemetery. The site houses a nature trail and museum that sits on the land that Carver wandered through as he grew, and contains prairies, rolling hills and woodlands. The 210 acre park contains a three quarter mile nature trail, interactive exhibits for students and the museum which contains many marvelous items, memorabilia and items that will inspire you and your children to become the best that you can be, regardless of circumstances or choices. The magnificent cultural setting is the perfect place to spend some time reflecting on nature and its many wonders, the fresh clean air and environment that is so conducive to learning and exploring. Young George soon became known as the plant doctor, spending many hours nurturing his secret garden while helping with the day to day chores of a working farm. These years and trials would help him as he grew into a world renown scientist of agriculture. Carver really believed that the majority of life's problems could be solved using the many facets of nature, based upon his experiences growing up on the farm, and the park service rangers today offer hands-on science lessons to students of all ages. When the Carver family moved to southwest Missouri, they constructed a 12 by 12 foot cabin, which eventually would birth George to a slave woman named Mary near the end of the Civil War. You can see where that cabin stood, and inside the museum you will see some of the relics discovered when an archaeological dig was conducted by the cabin's foundation. The 1881 Moses Carver House was built after a tornado torn apart many of the structures on the property, including the cabin George was born in. If you follow the nature trail along, you will come to this marvelous old house and visit a while, imagining what it was like to live in such a small space that is today about the size of many children's bedrooms. One note to be mentioned is that the bridges that are seen on the property have been constructed out of recycled plastic and sawdust.

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    Missouri Institute of Natural Science - Riverbluff CaveRiverbluff Cave Springfield, Missouri
    The Missouri Institute of Natural Science was created after an unbelievable discovery, on the very day that the United States suffered its worst historical attack to this country ever. It was September 11, 2001, and as road crews were blasting away rock formations and outcroppings to make way for the new road, south of Springfield, Missouri, word arrived to cease all the blasting, although they were already several loads in place. Since these explosives couldn't be safely removed, permission was received to continue with those blasts and during the aftermath, an exciting and amazing discovery was made. One of the blasts had released an unknown cave system that would become known as Riverbluff Cave, filled with fossils, formations, claw marks and tracks from prehistoric animals that had lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, that is more broadly known as the Ice Age. Using the most modern dating techniques available, scientists discovered that the cave is the oldest Ice Age fossil cave in North America to date, which excited the world, although at the time, it was really subdued because of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Because of the importance of this discovery, some 50 acres of land was preserved and protected, in and around the cave; but some kind of entity would be necessary to maintain, support and run the splendid resource, so in 2003, the Missouri Institute of Natural Science was officially created. The first priority of the new institute was to start a natural history museum to educate the visitors about the past environments so that we can become better caretakers of our climate and natural resources, to preserve and protect the new cave system, with all of its fossils, biological samples, minerals and artifacts. Over the next few years, the cave was able to have a live broadcast fiber optic cable system installed, a geologic library and lab building and office constructed and finally in 2009, the opening of the state's first natural history museum. The response has been phenomenal, with more schools asking for field trips and lectures, as well as local groups using the facilities for various reasons and requests for research assistance with paleontological, archaeological and geological projects. It has been a fantastic time for the region, the institute and the people involved, with only a bright future to behold. While all of this was going on outside the cave, the cave itself was being fitted for an air-tight locked door and passageway system to keep out intruders and was finished in 2002. Some of the magnificent findings include many bear and large cat claw marks, mammoth bones, wolf bones, turtle shells, small rodent tracks and skeletons, peccary tracks (Ice Age pig), horse bones and snake skeletons. The cave is still having archaeological digs conducted and it seems that every time that one of these occurs, another prime example is uncovered. But the cave system itself is a marvel of historic proportions and well worth a visit. The next time you need a vacation or time off, this would be an amazing place to visit and enjoy the beauty of this cave, the findings in the museum and the entire project that is still going on.

    Gray/Campbell Farmstead
    Gray/Campbell Farmstead Springfield, MissouriThe oldest house and farmstead in Springfield, Missouri is the Gray/Campbell Farmstead that was moved to the Nathanael Greene Park in 1984 so that the Kansas and James River Expressways were built. The house was constructed in 1856, as was the log kitchen, log granary and two crib barn; by James Price Gray, who later sold it to his brother-in-law, John Polk Campbell, who was the nephew and namesake of the founder of Springfield. The Campbell family continued to live in the house until the 1950s from 1865. There are many exciting opportunities for the visitor at the farmstead, but the 5th grader program is one of the best. It involves the students in the history of the farm, a pledge of allegiance to the 1860s flag with 34 stars, the house tour and artifacts view, rope beds and tightening, kitchen tour with cookie making, washing with lye soap in the dry sink, prairie living, the granary, washing clothes and sawing wood, the barn with all its old time tools and their usage, as well as sharpening techniques, the daily chore of making cornmeal as well as taking the corn off the cob. Once all the groups have finished their tours, they meet and enjoy homemade cornbread, by one of the groups, lunch and then off to visit the cemetery and finally storytelling and music. A marvelous time for the children and one that many people would also enjoy. It is a day well spent, with plenty of history and education about the life and style of living these apt folks enjoyed during the simpler times of living in these United States.

National Rental Cars Springfield

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Springfield Reg. Apt. National Car Rental 

 2300 N. Apt. Blvd.