News Release 170

Top 10 things you can do this Memorial Day Weekend in Missouri state parks

Volume 39-170 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MAY 27, 2011 – Wondering what to do this Memorial Day Weekend? Your best solution is to visit a Missouri state park. With 85 state parks and historic sites around the state, the possibilities and adventures are endless.

"State parks are close to home and they are a great value. You can spend the day or the entire weekend and make some priceless memories for years to come," said Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director.

Here the top 10 things you can do this weekend in Missouri state parks.

1) "The number one thing to do is get outdoors into nature and start a family tradition that will continue for generations," Bryan said.

2) This Memorial Day, don’t forget the reason we are observing the day and those who fought for our country. A great way to do this is at Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site near Laclede. Learn about this important military leader and the role he played in our nation’s history.

3) Camping is always popular for Memorial Day and campsites in Missouri state parks range from secluded walk-in sites in the heart of the outdoors to full-hookup sites where you can bring all the comforts of home. Your first night of camping would not be complete without sitting around the campfire enjoying s'mores with your family and friends. A great campground to enjoy is at Lake of the Ozarks State Park near Kaiser where you can choose from basic or electric sites, some with views of the lake.

4) Catching your first fish of the season can be the fourth tradition for Memorial Day Weekend. Try your hand at fly fishing for rainbow trout at Montauk State Park near Salem or casting a line for crappie at Pomme de Terre State Park near Hermitage. Both fish are great when cooked over an open fire at your campsite.

5) If you only have one day to spend at a park, discover a little bit of the Ozarks in northern Missouri at Cuivre River State Park near Troy on a trail. With 11 trails, there are plenty of opportunities for hikers, backpackers, bicyclists, mountain bikers and horseback riders to explore the park. You can see everything from prairies, savannas and glades to sinkholes, bluffs and streams. If you want to understand the park more, check out the exhibits in the visitor center. Another great trail is Katy Trail State Park and users will appreciate the new bridge that opened May 27 over the Moniteau Creek near Rocheport. The new bridge will allow access to the Rocheport tunnel to riders coming from the east.

6) Spending a day on the water is a good way to celebrate the weekend and should always be included in your top 10. You can try sailing at Stockton State Park near Stockton, a leisurely float in a canoe at Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, or a relaxing houseboat trip from the marina at Lake of the Ozarks State Park at Osage Beach.

7) Food always taste better outside so bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it in nature at a Missouri state park. You can choose from individual picnic sites or a shelter with a larger group of friends and family.

8) You can spend the entire day on Saturday, May 28 at Onondaga Cave State Park near Leasburg, beginning with a special photo tour of Onondaga Cave for amateur photographers. Regular cave tours are also available that day. Go from a natural wonder inside to the wonders of the sky outside with a “Discover the Night Sky” program beginning at 6:30 p.m. Learn about what you see in the night sky with the help of telescopes. Many state parks and historic sites have interpretive programs each weekend.

9) Another way to enjoy the night is at a concert by Wildheart at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 28 at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park at Wildwood. This Emmy award-winning group will educate and entertain all ages with a combination of original music that delivers a conservation message. Meet in the open yard next to the Old Nature Center on Guy Park Road and bring blankets and lawn chairs to sit on during the concert .

10) There are many aspects of our history that you can explore this weekend or any weekend. Tour a woolen mill and the home of a 19th-century plantation at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and Historic Site near Lawson or the home of famous ragtime composer Scott Joplin at Scott Joplin House State Historic Site in St. Louis. On your way, you can visit Civil War battlefields and covered bridges.

To learn more about everything you can do in Missouri state parks and historic sites this weekend, visit mostateparks.com.

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