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Outdoor Fun

The summer heat is here to stay, and that mean it’s important to find places in town where you can beat the heat and have some fun in a pool. Luckily, Columbia has several places to cool off and relax. Whether it’s a public pool or sprayground, people of all ages are bound to enjoy themselves.

Public Pools

Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center

The Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center is Columbia’s largest outdoor municipal pool. With a play area for the kids and diving boards for the more adventurous, a great time will be had by all.

ARC Water Zone

With a leisure pool, lazy river, vortex and more, the ARC Water Zone is an incredible indoor way to have fun this summer.

Douglass Family Aquatic Center

A double loop slide, climbing wall and spraygrounds are some of what you’ll find at the Douglass Family Aquatic Center. It’s a wonderful place to

Lake of the Woods Pool

Relaxation is close to home. Located on the east side of Columbia by the Lake of the Woods Golf Course, this pool offers slides lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Little Mates Cove

This pirate-themed water play area features waterfalls, slides and sprinklers. You’re guaranteed to have fun in the sun.

Spraygrounds

Flat Branch Spraygrounds

The spraygrounds at Flat Branch Park sits in downtown Columbia and is free and open to the public. it’s a great pace to cool off and enjoy a beautiful park.

Douglass Spraygrounds

Part of the Douglass Family Aquatic Center, the spraygrounds play the role of the kiddie pool. It is perfectly suited for those looking to splash around this summer.

Stephens Lake Beach & Spraygrounds

The beach is closer than you think. Stephens Lake Park offers a place to swim in the lake and soak up the sun by the spraygrounds.

Photos courtesy of the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department

 

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Happy Parks and Recreation Month!

Throughout the month of July, we will be spotlighting some of the beautiful places and exciting activities you can see and do outdoors in Columbia. Not so surprisingly, many of those places are parks managed by the City of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation department.

Check out these hidden gems the next time you plan to go on an outdoor adventure.

Capen Park

 

The scenic overlooks should never be overlooked at Capen Park. With bridge connections to Grindstone Nature Area and the Hinkson Creek Trail, the park covers 31.9 acres.

Martin Luther King, Jr. at Memorial Garden

  

“Breathtaking” does not do this garden justice. Featuring a stunning sculpture by Barbara Grygutis, this hidden gem hosts outdoor weddings and is a trail head for the MKT Trail.

Nifong Park

  

History is a major component of Nifong Park. It is home to the Boone County History & Culture Center, the Village at Boone Junction, the Maplewood Home and grounds as well as the Maplewood Barn Theatre.

Philips Park

 

Home to a 40-acre fishing lake and fish from the Missouri Department of Conservation, this park is a sight to see. There is a 1.4-mile gravel trail that surrounds the lake and beautiful scenery wherever you look.

Rock Quarry Park

  

Rock Quarry Park is an excellent place to go out and play. With a playground, tennis courts with pickleball lines and baseball and soccer practice fields, there is so much fun to be had.

Go outside this month and celebrate the phenomenal outdoors we are fortunate to live near. Be sure to tag your photos with #ShowMeCoMo.

Photos Courtesy of the City of Columbia Parks and Recreations Department

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Happy Fri-yay, Columbia!

What a crazy cold week it’s been! Luckily, it looks like warmth is on the horizon. We’ve certainly earned it after that Polar Vortex shenanigan!

While we are super excited for some warmer weather, we just might be even more thrilled by the amazing things happening this weekend! Let’s dive in, shall we?

 

 

 

First Friday

Not only is it the first day of February, it’s the first Friday of the month! That means the North Village Arts District is celebrating First Friday, a free gallery crawl where residents, visitors and tourists are encouraged to come and enjoy the music, arts and entertainment that help make Columbia the vibrant city that it is. It’s the perfect way to kick-off the weekend!

True/Love

We are officially in countdown mode for the True/False Film Fest (happening Feb. 28 – March 3), but that doesn’t mean we have to wait the entire month for some True/False fun! True/Love is a one-day event where 10% of of the day’s proceeds from participating local retailers go back to True/False. Plus! Ragtag Cinema will offer a free ticket to shoppers with a purchase of $20 or more! Just be sure to save your receipts and redeem your ticket no more than 10 days after the purchase date. If this isn’t a motivation to shop local on Saturday, we don’t know what is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbia Winter Farmers Market

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., everyone is welcome to attend the Winter Farmers Market at Parkade Plaza. Everything sold there is sold by farmers and artisans who help sustain our region. What’s more, there is live entertainment, activities for children and even prepared food! Sounds like a great way to start your Saturday!

 

No matter where you spend your time this weekend, enjoy the glorious warm weather coming our way!

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Spend the day exploring the outdoors in Columbia, Missouri

By Danny Lee

Finding fun outdoors comes easy around Columbia, Missouri, where residents and visitors can explore a landscape crowded with parks, trails and other outdoor action areas. Columbia offers enough forest-y fun for any nature lover, from the Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary to the wild appeal of the rails-to-trails Katy Trail. With a multitude of other invigorating outdoor venues, as well as facilities for more organized recreation, such as hiking, biking, swimming and casual picnicking, there’s an activity for everyone.

children bicycling on the MKT Trail in Columbia, Missouri

The MKT Trail, which connects Columbia to the Katy Trail, is a popular jogging and bicycling trail.

Finger Lakes State Park

All-terrain vehicles and woodland recreation coexist within the generous expanse of Finger Lakes State Park. Rolling hills, rippling waterways and forested glades thrill visitors who might never suspect that it’s all on reclaimed coal-mining land. A water trail accessible by canoe or kayak leads around the park’s lake, also popular with fishermen, and a pleasant beach is perfect for a refreshing dip after a hike or mountain bike outing through the woods. Visitors can lounge around the campfire and lay down their heads among the trees and quiet nighttime rustlings of a naturally wild environment in one of the 19 basic or 16 electric campsites.

Capen Park

The rocky topography of Capen Park takes Missouri outdoors adventure to another level. Rock climbers and rappelers love the challenging outcrops looking down on Hinkson Creek. Those who don’t fancy dangling from or clambering up and down the sheer limestone cliffs will certainly relish the tranquil, wooded trails along the creek’s flat-rocked path. One great place to enjoy the stream is from the graceful old iron bridge that crosses its course. Hikers love to sit on the bluffs looking out across the green and leafy property, tucked away in an in-town location that seems remote but is actually almost as convenient as your own backyard.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

A short jaunt south of Columbia, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park showcases a variety of trails, wooded glens, hills and dales making up a fascinating karst landscape. It’s alive with sinkholes, crystal-clear springs feeding into streams, and the underground limestone features that jut unexpectedly into the open air or give way to yawning caverns below. Connor’s Cave makes a great self-guided exploration. Hikers, horseback riders and bikers share the 15 miles of trails tracing through shady woods and wildflower-sprinkled meadows in the park and adjoining Gans Creek Wild Area. Families gather in broad picnic areas and shelters and fill the playgrounds with happy laughter

At the heart of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park lies the popular Devil’s Icebox Trail. It’s a .5-mile loop boardwalk trail that features plentiful opportunities for nature viewing; it’s mostly wooded, shelters uncountable wildlife, and passes by sinkholes, a limestone glade, and a valley formed by a collapsed portion of the limestone caves that underlie the whole area.

Every level of hiking is available, from forested trails to well-maintained boardwalks, and you can’t beat the admission price: free!

Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary

Nearly 100 acres are devoted to the preservation of a large natural expanse that offers visitors to Bonnie View a beautiful getaway. Broad meadows filled with daisies, Queen Anne’s lace, bellflower and yellow corydalis open from woodland edges. Birdwatchers love the diverse landscape for its possibilities. Paved walkways and a modern shelter open the park up to enjoyment in all weather. The property includes the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary, which has recorded 146 bird species in the area. In the spring the diversity swells with the arrival of migrating Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets along with flycatchers, many varieties of warblers, American Woodcock, and Swainson’s thrushes.

Katy Trail

At 240 miles, Missouri’s Katy Trail is one of the nation’s longest rails-to-trails parks, and provides Columbia visitors an excellent route to explore the state’s wilder areas. Tracking along the Missouri River, the trail serves bikers, hikers, and joggers 12 months a year, displaying brilliant colors in the fall, silent snowy vistas in the winter, wildflowers in the spring and a summer full of the relaxing buzz of crickets, katydids and yearly broods of cicadas. Birds and other wildlife make frequent appearances along the way; raccoon and deer, squirrel, chipmunks and opossum have their own daily and nightly rounds, which sharp-eyed hikers and bikers can enjoy keeping tabs on. The rolling Missouri serves up plentiful fishing holes, and fans of wild edibles will find natural treats no farther away than the nearest blackberry bush. The trail also features the MKT Trail, which connects Columbia to the Katy Trail.


With a variety of activities and outdoor venues, the parks and trails of Columbia are an outdoors paradise.

Explore the outdoors of Columbia.

#ShowMeCoMo

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megan
Hi, I’m Megan. I do Marketing and Communications here at Visit CoMo and I’m also a Columbia native!  I love traveling (that’s me with a glacier in Alaska), the Mizzou Tigers, live music, ice cream, my cats and a good nap. I’m also lucky enough to get to promote my hometown every day. There are so many different ways to enjoy Columbia and each month I’ll be bringing you some of my favorites. Let’s go!


megan-and-brenna

Brenna and me at a CBT event

Autumn in Columbia is my very favorite season. I love the crispness of the air, the leaves changing, the sound of drumlines that signal football is back. It’s also the perfect time to get out and spend time with friends. My favorite days spent out in CoMo lately are with my pal Brenna, who is the Editor over at the Columbia Business Times.

We like to mix something active with a nice dose of leisure, so this fall day out is perfect! This itinerary is more of a suggestion, though Brenna and/or I have done all of these things here in Columbia. Brenna would like you to know that I promise action photos from our next day out (Winter) because we’re going to plan it now and then document our day! Ok, ready to spend a great autumn day here in CoMo? Let’s do it!

Ladies’ Day Out – The Fall Edition

First thing’s first: sleep in a bit. You thought we were going to get up at the crack of dawn for our day out? Ha! You do not know Brenna and me well enough yet.

Ok, so you got some extra rest because you worked hard this week. Now the day out can begin. Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one of the best stops in Columbia is at Café Berlin. It’s down in the North Village Arts District and the food is amazing. Look at this weekend brunch menu and salivate:

cafe-berlin

Only Café Berlin could make something called the Compost Pile mouthwatering.

One of the local favorites is the Starving Artist because gravy, but for my money it doesn’t get any better than the Apples & Sausage on a Pancake. A heaping plate of food plus coffee in one of Café Berlin’s random mugs means you’re ready to shop. Or take a nap. No! On to shopping…

The District, Columbia’s downtown, is full of fun little shops to explore. We have a few favorites that we always stop by so we can see what’s new!

Route used to be known as The Mustard Seed, but it’s still the incredibly unique free trade shop you always loved. The beautiful handcrafted pieces from around the world range from jewelry to scarves to décor. Last time we were in, I picked up a beautiful silver vase for my mantle at home and a black and gold ring I can wear when I want to look fancy while supporting Mizzou.

poppy

Every time I walk into Poppy, I decide I probably need one of everything. Photo from Poppy’s Instagram (@poppymadebyhand).

Poppy is also home to a great array of handcrafted pieces that make it very difficult to leave without something new. The fabulous owner, Liz, curates the best in jewelry, greeting cards, baby clothes, art and so much more, so that Poppy is the perfect place to shop for a gift. I’ve gotten everything from wedding shower gifts to Mother’s Day gifts at Poppy. They also partner up with Christy at The Ink Café for calligraphy classes that are a blast – even for people like me who have terrible handwriting and can only draw stick people.

yellow-dog

Yellow Dog always has the best window displays! Here’s theirs from the True/False Film Fest this year. Photo from Yellow Dog’s Instagram (@yellowdogbookshop).

One place we absolutely never ever miss (ever) is Yellow Dog Bookshop.  This small shop is owned by a wonderful married couple and is stuffed full of used books. They have a huge non-fiction selection on all sorts of topics, a Missouri section, and a fiction section that I love looking through to find treasures to add to my to-read list.  Anyone who knows me even a little knows I cannot leave a bookstore without buying at least one book (and usually more), so Yellow Dog is my favorite downtown escape.

Alright, I managed to keep myself from running out the door to go book shopping. Once our shopping has finished, it’s time to spend the afternoon outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Sometimes this is as simple as a walk on the MKT Trail here in Columbia, but when the fall colors are really out I love heading south of town to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

rock-bridge

Fun fact, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is even more beautiful than this picture makes it look.

Trail options are plentiful at the park, but my favorite is the wood-planked trail that leads you through the heart of the park. The trail allows you to take in the most impressive geological features of the park, including the actual rock bridge the park was named for, and you can also explore Connor’s Cave. The trail itself is under a mile long, but is has plenty of stairs and offshoots that allow hikers to experience the best the park has to offer. Plus, we’ve been shopping, so a lengthy hike isn’t really needed, right? Right.

After a long day of shopping and outdoor adventure, a nice dinner is in order. Brenna and I both have plenty of favorites when it comes to restaurants in CoMo. One of the most difficult decisions to make when you have such a great culinary scene is where to go for dinner. Just in opens in a new windowThe District alone, it’s almost impossible to choose!

For this fall ladies’ day out, we’ll stay in the south part of town near the park and hit Sophia’s for dinner. Like most places in Columbia, the atmosphere is casual but sophisticated, and their patio is a great spot for a fall evening. The menu ranges from incredible pasta dishes to flavorful tapas and flatbreads. With an impressive wine list, Sophia’s is also the perfect spot to linger and make the day out last a little longer.

Now for some ladies’ day out enthusiasts, there would also be another activity like dancing or cocktails somewhere fancy. But, to be honest, that’s not how Brenna and I roll. After dinner, our day ends with a big hug and a retreat to our homes where we can put on pajamas and watch Netflix. Of course, if I’ve really done a day out right, there will also be some Sparky’s Ice Cream waiting in the freezer for me.

Thanks for spending a ladies’ day out with Brenna and me! We’ll be working on our next day out as the weather gets colder and bring it to you in January. Next month I’ll feature some of my favorite CoMo dishes from all over the city. See you then!

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It’s only mid-June and we’re already seeing temperatures in the 90s – it looks like it’s going to be a opens in a new windowhot summer! From opens in a new windowpools to indoor fun, here’s how you can stay cool in Columbia:

Pools

A-O pool users 062811

Albert Oakland Family Aquatic Center | 1900 Blue Ridge Rd.

June – August hours: M-F 12-7 PM | Sa 11-5 PM | Su 12-5 PM (July 4th, 12-5 PM)
Last weekday: August 12th | open weekends 12-5 PM (Aug 13-14 | 20-21 | 27-28 | Sept 5-7)

Pricing:
Adults (16+): $3.75
Ages 2-15: $2.50
1 year or younger: free

Outdoor 50-meter pool with double-loop enclosed flume water slide. Includes a children’s play area with sprinklers and a slide. Concessions, shade umbrellas, and lounge chairs are available.

Douglass Family Aquatic Center | 400 N. Providence Rd.

June – August hours: M,W,F 1-7 PM | Tu,Th,Su 12-5 PM | Sa 11-5 PM (July 4th, 12-5 PM)
Last day: August 7th

Pricing:
Ages 2+: $1
1 year or younger: free

Outdoor facility with water slide and climbing wall. Includes concessions, a shaded shelter, and spraygrounds.

Flat Branch sprayground

Flat Branch Park Spraygrounds | 400 Locust St.

Open until September 30th | free

Spraygrounds activated by push button.

Lake of the Woods Pool | 6700 St. Charles Rd.

June – August hours: M,W,F 1-7 PM | Tu,Th,Su 12-5 PM | Sa 11-5 PM (July 4th, 12-5 PM)
Last day: August 7th

Pricing:
Adults (16+): $2.75
Ages 2-15: $1.50
1 year or younger: free

Outdoor facility with a country club setting. Includes a water slide, shade umbrellas, and a concession stand in the clubhouse.

Little Mates Cove | 2500 Chapel Hill Rd.

June – August hours: M,W,F,Sa 11-5 PM | Tu,Th 12-7 PM | Su 12-5 PM (July 4th, 12-5 PM)
Last day: August 7th

Pricing:
Adults (16+): $2.75
Ages 2-15: $1.50
1 year or younger: free

Outdoor children’s water park with slides, sprinklers, water cannons, and falls. Concessions are available.

Stephens Lake Park

Stephens Lake Park | 100 Old 63 N.

Open until September 30th from dawn-dusk | free

Unguarded sand beach with spraygrounds and restrooms.


Indoor Fun

Empire Roller Rink | 1305 Business Loop 70 E.

You can still get some exercise without being out in the heat! Head to opens in a new windowEmpire to roller skate during their public sessions:

Wednesdays: 12-3 PM and 6:30-8:30 PM
Thursdays: 12-3 PM
Fridays: 7-10 PM (Family Fun Fridays)
Saturdays: 9-11 AM (9 years and younger), 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM
Sundays: 1:30-3:30 PM

Columbia Public Library

Columbia Public Library | 100 W. Broadway

While you do need a opens in a new windowlibrary card in order to check out the materials, anyone can stop by and look through the books. Have your kids pick out something to read quietly to themselves for a bit, and then grab a snack at The Perk Desk.

Lazer Lanes | 3412 Grindstone Parkway

Bowling, lazer tag, bumper cars, snacks, an arcade… you can keep your family busy for hours at opens in a new windowLazer Lanes.

Going Bonkers | 3812 Buttonwood Dr.

opens in a new windowGoing Bonkers is a great option if you have young children – there is a multi-level ‘playground,’ arcade, food, and even a quiet room for you with WiFi where you can keep an eye on the kids.

ragtag3JM

Catch a movie: 

opens in a new windowForum 8 Theater | 1209 Forum Katy Parkway
opens in a new windowRagtag Cinema | 10 Hitt Street
opens in a new windowRegal Stadium 14 | 2800 Goodwin Pointe Dr.

Yogoluv | 201 S. 9th Street

If you’ve never been to opens in a new windowYogoluv, here’s how it works: grab a bowl, fill it with your favorite flavors of frozen yogurt, and then head over to the toppings and go crazy. Maybe not too crazy, though – the cost depends on how much your bowl weighs.


How do you stay cool in Columbia? Tweet us opens in a new window@ColumbiaMOCVB.

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Did you know that we have Pinterest? Take a look at what we’ve been pinning lately, and  opens in a new windowfollow us for more! 

5 activities

Five outdoor activities you can *actually* do in the mid-Missouri winter | Vox Magazine [ opens in a new windowGet Outside!]

2016 country music guide

Roots N Blues, Columbia MO, makes it onto The Essential 2016 Country Music Festival Guide – Nash Country Weekly [ opens in a new windowFestivals]

16 missouri adventures

16 Missouri Adventures You Don’t Want to Miss in 2016 | VisitMO Spotlight [ opens in a new windowThe Show-Me State]

healthy traveling

Trying to stay healthy while traveling? Here are 5 tips for staying healthy when you hit the road. [ opens in a new windowA Word About Travel]

chili

A Spoon Full of Missouri Chili | VisitMO Spotlight [ opens in a new windowEat Up Columbia]

dollar store dorm

Show your school spirit by making this wreath out of a plastic tablecloth. | 18 DIY Dollar-Store Projects That’ll Transform Your Dorm For Cheap [ opens in a new windowStudent Life]


We have 41 boards – what would you like to see us pin more of?

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6697small- AndreaHello! My name is Andrea and I am a sales manager for the Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau. I am an avid traveler, and I love the experience of meeting new people, experiencing new unexpected environments, the FOOD, the art, music and just soaking it all up.

Each month I am going to introduce you, our visitor, to all things Columbia, especially our fabulous arts community.  Along the way we will explore some of our fabulous locally- owned restaurants or one of our many music venues or fabulous festivals.   I hope you enjoy this city as much as I do, and of course, we would love to have you back many times to take advantage of WHAT YOU UNEXPECT.


Ah January. A new year… a fresh start… and for many of us, a chance to work off the holiday cheer imbibed over the holidays. If you are visiting our community and want to stick with your health resolutions, never fear: Columbia has many opportunities from our hiking and biking trails and fitness facilities to our great restaurants.

Columbia is an active city. You will find pedestrian lanes on the major thoroughfares and over 50 miles of City trails where you can walk, run or bike.

If you didn’t bring your bike, no worries – opens in a new windowCycleExtreme [19 S. 6th Street] and  opens in a new windowWalt’s Bicycle Fitness & Wilderness [at the corner of Rogers & College] have bikes for rent or purchase.

Rock Bridge State ParkIs a walk in the park more your speed? Columbia has 76 opens in a new windowparks for you to choose from, five with exercise stations. If hiking is your style, be sure to visit opens in a new windowRock Bridge Memorial State Park, a gem in our city that features hiking, equestrian, and bicycle trails. The park is home to the Devil’s Icebox, a 63 foot-high natural tunnel known as the Rock Bridge, and a double sinkhole entrance to Devil’s Icebox and Connor’s Cave.

Another walking option is the opens in a new windowPublic Art tour, with over 25 works of art and traffic box art in the downtown area. It’s a perfect way to get some exercise and take advantage of the artsy side of Columbia.

If you prefer a full on workout, the opens in a new windowActivity & Recreation Center, affectionately referred to as the ARC, is Columbia’s popular fitness center. The ARC is a full fitness facility and offers an indoor leisure pool, gym and indoor track.

Main Squeeze Tofu TacoNow that you have remained true to your resolution to stay physically active, you might want to replenish with some of our healthy restaurant choices. opens in a new windowMain Squeeze is Columbia’s original vegetarian restaurant that offers a variety of healthy options from soups and salads to baked goods and smoothies. You can also choose from one of Columbia’s many ethnic options. Our newest restaurant, opens in a new windowRange Free, is located on Orr Street and specializes in allergen free specialty diets offering everything from pizzas and pastas to baked goods.

We hope you enjoy your time in Columbia and take advantage of all our town has to offer. Come back to see us soon!

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Parks are probably best known for playgrounds, walking trails, and ball fields and courts. Next time you’re in Columbia, be sure to check out some of the more unexpected activities you can enjoy in one of the opens in a new windowcity’s beautiful parks.

TOSS A DISC

albert oakland disc golf course

Looking for an alternative to just throwing a disc back and forth? Check out opens in a new windowAlbert-Oakland Park and try your hand at one of two disc golf courses. Set among beautiful ponds, trees and creek beds, these challenging courses are not your average walk in the park.

GO FOR A SWIM

stephens lake park swimming beach

Columbia may not be anywhere near an ocean but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a great swimming beach. Head to opens in a new windowStephens Lake Park to cool off with your family – the beach has no lifeguard so stick to the Spraygrounds if you’re worried about the little ones.

CATCH A FISH

stephens lake park fishing columbia mo

Nine spots in Columbia are perfect for taking your fishing pole and spending a quiet afternoon trying to reel in a big one. Check out the full list of opens in a new windowpark fishing lakes and pick your perfect spot. Many lakes are stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

GET ON A ROLL

Cosmo Skate Park - P and R FB

Have a daredevil or two in your family? Check out the opens in a new windowColumbia Skate Park in Cosmo Park. Completed in 1999, the park has an elaborate street course designed to entertain and challenge skaters, whether they are beginners or experienced. The Skate Park is free to use and is open 6:00 a.m. until dusk each day, attracting skaters from across the country, even hosting a demonstration from world famous Tony Hawk.

CHECK OUT THE VIEW

capen park, columbia mo

You might be surprised to find the bluffs and scenic overlooks of opens in a new windowCapen Park hidden right in the middle of town. Rock climbers and hikers will appreciate the rewarding views.

BOND WITH YOUR PUP

twin lakes recreation area dog park

Columbia has three fenced opens in a new windowdog parks and two leash-free areas – perfect for letting your fur-kids run free and make new friends. Check out  opens in a new windowTwin Lakes Recreation Area, which has three separate fenced-in dog parks – one for the winter (to keep dogs safe from falling through ice), one for small dogs only (no taller than 18 inches at the shoulder), and Lakeside Dog Park, which can be used by all dogs and has access to the lake.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, Columbia is exactly What You Unexpect. And if the beaten path is what you’re looking for, we have some of those, too. Find out more about CoMo’s trails.

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Spring is arriving, and that means more time in the great outdoors! Check out a few of our favorite parks and trails below, and find out what you shouldn’t miss out on.

MKT Trail

What to do: The MKT Trail is a CoMo favorite. Walk, run, bike – even work out at the fitness stations located at the Stadium and Forum trailheads. The trail stretches for 8.9 miles from Flat Branch Park in downtown Columbia until it reaches the Katy Trail near McBaine

Don’t miss the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden, located at the Stadium trailhead. The structure includes eight columns, each of which holds an excerpt from King’s writings.

Cosmo Park

What to do: Cosmo Park has something for everyone – trails, soccer and football fields, tennis and volleyball courts, a skate park, an off-leash area for dogs, playgrounds, a mountain bike trail, and more. Pack a lunch and take a break in one of the park’s nine shelters.

Don’t miss the newly-renovated Steinberg Playground, which includes an updated version of a beloved past favorite, the rocket ship, along with dinosaur features, a tire climbing area, slides, swings, and other play structures. The playground is the largest in Columbia’s park system and will keep the kids entertained for hours.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

What to do: You can hike, bike, and even horseback ride (Gans Creek Trail) through Rock Bridge Memorial State Park’s 20+ miles of trails. With so many trails, you’re certain to find one suited to your level of adventure.

Don’t miss the park’s natural karst features. While Devil’s Icebox cave is currently closed to protect the bats that inhabit it, you can explore Connor’s Cave from May through September. Be sure to check out the natural rock bridge that gave the park its name.

Twin Lakes Recreation Area

What to do: Twin Lakes Recreation Area can be used for non-motorized boating, fishing, and jogging, and includes a playground and shelter area. In the summer months, take the kiddos to Little Mates Cove swim area to cool off.

Don’t miss the off-leash dog parks – Lakeside Dog Park for dogs of all sizes and Paws Pond Dog Park for small dogs. Your pooch will love making new friends and swimming in the lake.

Finger Lakes State Park

What to do: Activities at Finger Lakes State Park include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, boating, and camping. Finger Lakes is one of only two ATV parks in the state park system – you can use the 5.25 mile trail or explore the 900 acres of open riding area designated for ATVs. The park offers both basic and electric campsites, and showers are available April-October. Also available to park users are a swimming beach and boat ramp.

Don’t miss the 4.5 mile water trail on Peabody Lake. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent from the park office March 15 – November 15.


Get out there and enjoy CoMo’s awesome opens in a new windowparks and trails.

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