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Family Fun

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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October is one of our busiest months of the year – there’s no way we could include everything but you can see the whole schedule on our  opens in a new windowcalendar of events.

1.  opens in a new windowLove Your Craft Fest

What: The fest is a family-friendly block party that will feature live music, lots of doughnuts and food vendors, and thousands of dollars worth of giveaway prizes.

When: October 7, from 3-11 PM

Where: 9th Street in front of Shakespeare’s Pizza

2. opens in a new windowHartsburg Pumpkin Festival

What: The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival is the quintessential fall fest. There’s a petting zoo, craft vendors, food, live music, activities for the kids, and so many pumpkins.

When: October 8-9, from 9AM-5PM both days

Where: Hartsburg, MO – find the route into town

3. opens in a new window7th Annual Harvest Hootenanny

What: The Hootenanny is an afternoon of celebrating agriculture with Missouri-grown food, local beer, live music, and games. The event IS kid-friendly but no fur babies.

When: October 8, from 3-8 PM

Where: Smith Street, in front of the opens in a new windowUrban Farm

sec-beer-fest

4. opens in a new windowSouth East Craft Beer Fest

What: The SEC Beer Fest is a festival for beer lovers (duh). There will be about 75 opens in a new windowbreweries, along with food, music, and more.

When: October 14-15

Where: NH Scheppers Distributing Co., 1306 Hathman Place

artrageous-weekend

Map for Artrageous Weekend 2016

5. opens in a new windowArtrageous Weekend

What: This free art-filled weekend includes a self-guided art crawl, educational and hands-on activities, artistic brunches, and more art-filled activities. Check out their opens in a new windowFacebook page to get an idea of who will be participating.

When: October 14-16

Where: Various locations in downtown Columbia

6. opens in a new windowPaws in the Park

What: This annual event is held by Second Chance for people and their fur babies – check out the Dock Dog Diving Competition, Canine Carnival, games for people who don’t bring a pup along, 5K on Sunday morning, food and craft vendors, and live auction on Sunday.

When: October 15-16, 9AM-4PM Saturday and 9AM-3PM Sunday

Where: Stephens Lake Park
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7. opens in a new windowMizzou Homecoming

What: Homecoming is MU’s favorite and most well-known tradition (we’re known as the opens in a new windowbirthplace of ‘homecoming’), and the celebration is more than just a football game – the weekend includes campus decorations, a spirit rally, the ‘stroll off,’ parade, and revisiting favorite Columbia spots.

When: October 21-22

Where: University of Missouri

8. opens in a new windowRocheport Oktoberfest

What: This free fest will include live music (folk, traditional, Americana) and lots of beer and food.

When: October 22, from 12-10:30 PM

Where: Rocheport, MO

9. opens in a new window(Not so) Frightening Friday

What: Take the kiddos trick-or-treating in The District!

When: October 28, from 4-6 PM

Where: The District

mkt-fall

10. opens in a new windowRocheport Fall Colors Trail Ride

What: Join Parks and Rec on a 26-mile (round-trip) bike ride on the Katy Trail to Rocheport and back. This is the perfect way to see the fall colors!

When: October 30, 10AM-3PM

Where: Leaving from the Jay Dix Station off of Scott Blvd


Happy October! Remember to tag your photos opens in a new window#ShowMeCoMo.

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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

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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.

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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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Warmer weather means more great activities and events going on in Columbia! Here’s a preview of what’s coming up this month – check our opens in a new windowcalendar of events for more.

Family

opens in a new windowXtreme Force Live Action Show | May 13th, 6 PM at Missouri Theatre
World Champion Black Belt Martial Artists featured as “The Turtles” perform stunts, kicks, flips, and more while promoting a positive anti bullying awareness message that is FUN for the entire family!

opens in a new windowMovies in the Park: Frozen | May 13th, 8:30 PM at Cosmo Park
These films are shown on a giant inflatable screen; grab a blanket or low lawn chair and head out for an unforgettable evening of cinema. Pre-show activities and entertainment begin one hour prior to the movie start time. Concessions are available. This year, all movies are free of charge, thanks to Missouri Care.

Stephens Lake Park fishing (2)

opens in a new windowYouth Fishing Day | May 14th, 10-12 PM at Finger Lakes State Park
Learn basic fishing skills and receive a prize for biggest fish, most fish and first fish caught. Fishing poles and bait will be provided for the first 25 that sign up. Meet at the lake located near the beach parking lot. This event is free for all ages and no fishing permit is required for all that attend. Prizes will be awarded to those 12 years of age and under. For more information and to sign up, call the park at 573 443-5315.

opens in a new windowHeritage Weekend | May 14-15th, 4-8 PM at Douglass Park
The unofficial opening of Douglass Park for the summer! Activities include balloons, table games for kids and adults, live music and family fun. Sunday will feature a domino tournament, single elimination, for individuals and partners. Starts at 4 PM, free for all ages. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy your neighborhood park!

opens in a new windowFamily Fun Fest: Be Kind, Be Healthy | May 18th, 6-8 PM at Cosmo Park
Entertainment for the whole family will include music, live performances, art activities, hands on learning, face painting, balloon art, and fun for all! Join us for music, fun, crafts and activities promoting kindness and mental health.

opens in a new windowKid Disco! | May 22nd, 10:30 AM at Rose Music Hall
Bring your kids out to Rose Music Hall and Forrest Rose Park every other Sunday. We’ll have DJs Requiem, RonIronic or Jen Ha set up on our patio spinning disco, club classics, 80s, funk, and more.  The kids will around dancing like wild animals in the friendly confines of our cute little park, burning energy and jumping in our bounce house (provided by our pals at Rockin Rents).  You hang out with other parents and chow down on Pepe’s tasty Mexican brunch menu while sipping on Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, beers, or even just an orange juice if that’s your thing.  Then at 2pm when the party’s over, everybody can go home and take a big nap.

opens in a new windowPedaler’s Jamboree VIII | May 28-29th, Flat Branch Park
Bicyclists start at Flat Branch Park from 7:30 am to 10 am and head to Kemper Park in Boonville. Drop off your overnight packs at check in and prepare for a weekend of relaxed bike riding, music, and fun. Enjoy the scenic views of the Katy Trail State Park as you ride on crushed limestone trails flanked by cliffs and the Missouri River. Stop at your convenience at a handful of locations to enjoy live music and entertainment. Bands will play throughout the day in communities across the trail.

The final destination will once again host the feature event with main stage music. Overnight camping at Kemper Park will be free for all registered riders. There will be food available at restaurants throughout the town of Boonville as well as food vendors at Kemper Park. The following day, food and entertainment await you on your journey yet again.

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opens in a new windowSalute to Veterans Celebration | May 28-30th at Columbia Regional Airport and downtown Columbia
This FREE two-day airshow at Columbia Regional Airport is the 28th Annual Salute to Veterans Corporation Airshow. The airshow is May 28th-29th from 9am-4pm, and the Memorial Day Parade in downtown Columbia begins at 10am on Memorial Day (May 30th).

Live Music

opens in a new windowRose Revival: Sunday Gospel Brunch | May 15th, 12 PM at Rose Music Hall

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opens in a new window9th Street Summerfest with Billy Currington and Kelsea Ballerini | May 20th, 6 PM

opens in a new windowLightnin’ Malcom | May 20th, 9 PM at Rose Music Hall

opens in a new windowBruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers | May 22nd, 7:30 PM at The Blue Note

opens in a new windowRising Appalachia | May 26th, 8 PM at Rose Music Hall

opens in a new windowHellyeah | May 27th 8 PM at The Blue Note

Special Events

bike walk wheel

opens in a new window15th Annual Bike, Walk, and Wheel Week | May 16-22nd
See schedule for more details.

opens in a new windowDancing with Missouri Stars | May 19th, 5:45 PM at Holiday Inn Executive Center
Missouri Contemporary Ballet’s 10th Annual “Dancing With Missouri Stars” combines esteemed members of the mid-Missouri area and MCB professional company dancers – they have three months to take lessons and then compete for the prestigious DWMS trophy. MCB would like to introduce our 2016 Celebrity Dancers: Meghan Buchert, Craig Franklin, Cyndi Frisby, Brandon Gerau, Richard Huffstutter, Denise Nelson, Mary Stauffer, and Steven Taylor. The champion is determined by audience votes, at $1 a vote, and the proceeds all go to benefit MCB and our mission of bringing the art of dance to our community and surrounding areas.

opens in a new windowMeet the Author: Laura Valenti | May 21st, 9:30 AM at Boone County Museum
Admission is Free! Book signings and sales at 11:30am. Also available at every Meet the Author: free coffee and the delicious, fresh-baked Harold’s Doughnuts! Laura Valenti brings several of her southern Missouri fiction titles to Meet the Author.

opens in a new windowNative Pollinators Symposium | May 23rd, 8-3:30 PM at Bond Life Sciences Center, MU
Join Mizzou Botanic Garden for the Native Pollinators Symposium. As part of National Pollinators’ Week experts will highlight and share the importance of pollinators including bees, birds, butterflies and bats. Discover new information about native pollinator conservation through lectures, round table discussions and Q&As with national experts.

opens in a new window2016-bianchi-logoNRA Bianchi Cup | May 24-28th at Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club, Hallsville
Championship firing of the first 1920 will commence at noon on May 24, firing through noon on May 28. The top 36 competitors from the first 1920 (Top 16 Open, 4 Metallic, 4 Production, 4 Woman, 4 Junior and 4 Senior/Grand Senior) will move on to the Championship Round. The top 36 competitors will fire an additional 1920 through the same four NRA Bianchi Cup events, in the Championship Round, which will be fired on Saturday, May 28 starting at 8:30 am.

opens in a new window‘Godspell’ | May 26-29th, 8 PM at Maplewood Barn Theatre
A small group of people help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques, and hefty dose of comic timing. An eclectic blend of songs ranging in style from pop to vaudeville is employed as the story of Jesus’s life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus’s messages of kindness, tolerance, and love come vibrantly to life.

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Our April calendar is jam-packed with tons of great events. Below is just a few highlights so be sure to view all of our events if you’re planning on visiting CoMo. Looking for on-stage performances?

SPORTS

opens in a new windowsmsgShow-Me State Games Hoopin’ It Up | April 1-3 | Mizzou Student Rec Center
Youth basketball tournament for girls and boys 3rd-9th grade. Register here.

opens in a new windowMaxTrax Duathlon | April 3 | Bethel Park
This two-distance duathlon format is the perfect event for those seasoned multi-sport athletes and the first-time participants. The short course can be completed on a road bike, a typical mountain bike or even a comfort-style bike.

opens in a new windowFairy Tale 5K | April 16, 7-9:30 AM | Stephens College
The Fairy Tale 5K Walk/Run is a fun run. It is a loop run starting on the Stephens College campus through the beautiful Stephens Lake outer loop. Fairy tale characters mark the Start/Finish, 1K, 2K, 3K, 4K markers along the course.

opens in a new windowMizzou Football Black and Gold Game | April 16, 5 PM | Faurot Field

opens in a new windowLights on Afterschool 5K Glow Run | April 23, 5:30 PM | Peace Park
Come decked out in your best neon gear for the 2nd Lights on Afterschool GLOW! 5K & Fun Run. Run, walk, skip, or jump with us to support afterschool!

opens in a new windowChasing the Sun 5K | April 30, 9 AM | Stephens Lake Park
Be sure to “dress your brightest” and each participant receives a free t-shirt! Join for music, prizes & a great cause.

FAMILY

opens in a new windowKite-flying DayApril 2, 12-2 PM | Douglass Park
Join Parks and Rec for a day of kite-flying! The event is free, and kites will be given out to children who do not have one (limited supply). Rain date is April 16th.

como duck derby

opens in a new windowCoMo Duck Derby | April 9, 12-4 PM | Stephens Lake Park
Adopted rubber ducks will compete in a race in Stephens Lake where the winning duck’s adopter wins the grand prize of $1,000! The event will benefit the Central Missouri Humane Society. There will be live music, food, games, door prizes and adoptable pets onsite. The duck race begins at 2 pm.

opens in a new windowMU College of Veterinary Medicine Open House | April 16, 9-3 PM
The Open House offers a fun and education-filled day with entertainment, including as the Purina Incredible Dogs, a petting zoo and veterinary medicine displays, all at no charge.

opens in a new windowtie dyeCraig & Caitlin’s Tie Dye Carnival | April 17, 1:30 PM | Rose Music Hall
See live acrobatic performances courtesy of Muse Pole Fitness and CoMo Aerial Arts; bring articles to dye at our tie dye station; get your face painted; play games; and see all we have to offer at this fun Sunday carnival!

opens in a new windowRainbow House Spring Fair | April 23, 11-2 PM | Flat Branch Park
Join Rainbow House in free games, prizes, face painting, bounce houses, food and more in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

opens in a new windowTons of Trucks | April 27, 4-7 PM | Columbia Mall
Trucks and other vehicles of all shapes and sizes will be on display for you to admire, wander around, climb on, and sit in. This event is free and held rain or shine.

SPECIAL EVENTS 

opens in a new windowFirst Fridays in the North Village Arts District | April 1, 6-9 PM
A FREE gallery crawl held the first Friday of each month in the North Village Arts District. Come explore the unique venues and enjoy the live music art and entertainment!

opens in a new windowshopSpring Shop Hop | April 16, 10-8 PM | The District
Explore, dine and shop all day with sales, special offers and refreshments.

opens in a new windowUnbound Book Festival | April 23 | Stephens College
Unbound is a brand-new FREE festival that celebrates literature of all kinds. Nationally-recognized and bestselling authors across many different genres will discuss their work and participate in a variety of stimulating events and environments. There will be separate programs for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Children’s Events.

opens in a new windowCole Swindell live on 9th Street | April 23, 6 PM

opens in a new window‘Stephens Sings’ Spring Choral Concert | April 24, 7:30 PM | Senior Hall, Stephens College
Vocalists at Stephens College present this year-end performance that doubles as a celebration of spring and the accomplishments of our seniors. Featuring Vocal Arts and Musical Theatre students, this promises to be a night of great music appropriate for all ages.

opens in a new windowQuilt Show | April 30-May 1, 10 AM | VFW Post 280

opens in a new windowFloat Your Boat for the Food Bank | April 30, 11 AM | Bass Pro
Teams build themed, cardboard boats to race and win unique prizes. Help support The Food Bank by registering a boat, watching the race and voting for your favorite boat. All money raised goes to The Food Bank

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Today we’re introducing a new weekly blog post called Friday Favorites, which will just be a collection of a local’s favorite places/things around town. Starting it off will be CVB marketing coordinator, Rachel (me!), so check out my favorites below:

Favorite Pizza: G&D Pizzaria

G&D

Not only is this my favorite pizza, it’s also my favorite restaurant. My mom has been going since she was in high school so I guess I was just born to love G&D. They offer DELICIOUS pizza, steaks, Greek specialties, and more. I’ve been told they even have a gluten-free pizza option! G&D is a local favorite, and I hope that you’ll stop by if you’ve never been! (Mizzou football head coach, Gary Pinkel, is constantly spotted there, too!)
2101 W. Broadway 
573-445-8336

Favorite Columbia trail: Forum Nature Area

Forum Nature Area

It’s not as popular as trails like the MKT or Hinkson Creek, and that’s partly why I love the trail at Forum Nature Area. And nature area it is – I constantly spot wildlife when I’m there. I’ve had turtles and rabbits cross my path, deer watch me as I struggle to run and then give up to walk, ducks and geese and even swans hang out on the lake… The MKT also has a trail head here so maybe that’s why it is overlooked. There are no bicycles allowed but I’ve seen many a dog on a leash, and it’s the perfect place for a long walk.
2701 Forum Blvd.
573-874-7460 

Favorite Columbia gift: Chocolates from The Candy Factory

Candy Factory

I received these truffles for Christmas, and they really must have known who they were dealing with because I LOVE chocolate. The Candy Factory always has the coolest gifts, including unique gift baskets, sugar free chocolate, and chocolate-covered potato chips.
701 Cherry St.
573-443-8222

Favorite place for family fun: Going Bonkers

Going Bonkers

My niece and nephew (and every other kid) love this place, and I love it because I get to climb around with them. Adults love giant play-places, too! There’s also arcade games, food, and a quiet room for the parents to watch their kids from. It’s the perfect place for a rainy day!
3812 Buttonwood Dr.
573-499-0366

Favorite local team: Mizzou Tigers football team

MU Football

I grew up tailgating and going to the Mizzou football games, and of COURSE I chose the University of Missouri after graduating from high school. There’s something about the sea of black and gold that just fills my heart with pride, and I always love the Tigers, win or lose! People from all over the country flock to Columbia for game days, especially after joining the SEC. I actually love talking to visitors who are here to cheer for the opposing team (and not just because it’s part of my job!). It’s great seeing how much people love Columbia whether their team wins or loses, and I hope that my fellow locals feel the same way!

Favorite diner: 63 Diner

63 Diner

Another favorite from my childhood, and sometimes (okay, most of the time) I even order my childhood meal: grilled cheese with fries and a chocolate milkshake. The whole diner is covered floor to ceiling with typical 50’s decor, including a statue of Elvis. Oldies play over the speakers and the servers wear poodle skirts. What’s better than that?
5801 Hwy 763 N
573-443-2331

Favorite park: Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Rock Bridge State Park

(Photo courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism)
I’ve been making trips to Rock Bridge for years and never get sick of it, although I do miss not getting tired from all the steps on the Devil’s Icebox trail. I’m constantly taking pictures of wildlife or unique flowers, and I love exploring all the trails. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t think Connor’s Cave is awesome! If you would like to have a guided tour of Devil’s Icebox, just give them a call to set it up. Definitely a highly recommended place to see in Columbia.
5901 S. Hwy 163
573-449-7402

Favorite dessert in The District: yogoluv

Yogoluv

All I really have to say about yogoluv is that it never disappoints. Fill your cup with one of many flavors and cover it with your choice of toppings – fruit, syrups, candy and cookies, etc. I could lie and say I go for the healthy choice and get fruit but let’s be honest: I head straight to the cookie dough, Oreos, and Butterfingers. Prices depend on the weight of your masterpiece, so I sometimes I have force myself to go easy on the toppings.
201 S. 9th St.
573-777-9694

Favorite season in Columbia: Autumn/Fall

Fall in Columbia

(Photo of Flat Branch Park)
Some people may not realize it but Missouri has great scenery, and I’d have to say it’s best in the fall. Fall also means Mizzou football, beautiful weather (well, for the most part, it is Missouri after all), and great Columbia festivals. It’s the perfect time to check out some of our beautiful parks and trails or enjoy the patio of your favorite restaurant.

What do you think? Let us know if you check out any of my favorites, and keep your eye out for a new “Friday Favorites” next week!

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With a population of just over 100, Hartsburg is a quiet spot on the Missouri River about 20 minutes south of Columbia. Home to friendly people and a charming landscape, Hartsburg is the perfect calm retreat. However, once a year Hartsburg explodes with people…all in the name of pumpkins!

So…many…pumpkins!

Now celebrating its 21st year, the opens in a new windowHartsburg Pumpkin Festival brings thousands upon thousands of fall enthusiasts to Hartsburg for a weekend of fun. This year, the festivities are this weekend (October 13th and 14th), so it’s not too late to enjoy this event. Dozens of vendors will line the streets with crafts, cuisine and, of course, pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes.

Other events, including a parade on Saturday, make this charming town come alive during the festival. Open to the public with free admission and free parking, this is a family fall tradition not to be missed.

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Today is the first day of fall, so it’s only right that we kick off this spectacular season with a post that involves a giant corn maze! opens in a new windowShryock’s Farms east of Columbia is just the place.

I mean, look at this thing…

The corn maze is the perfect way to spend a chilly fall weekend evening during your visit to Columbia.  Each year, a new design appears in the corn field, and groups flock to the maze to find their way through.  Shryock’s also offers hayrides, campfires and all those fun fall activities that you want once the season rolls around. Head out to the Big Red Barn and get your fill of fall fun this weekend!

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This weekend kicks off the festival season with the 35th Annual Heritage Festival. This Saturday and Sunday, September 15th and 16th, head to Nifong Park to enjoy the traditions of the past. Listen, learn and see history as it comes alive.

Couple dancing an old time dance.

 Enjoy entertainment including traditional and roots music, dancing and storytelling.

Blacksmiths making tools.

See artisans and tradesmen dressed in 19th century attire demonstrating their trades and selling their wares.

A large contemporary handmade craft area will also be featured along with Saturday evening ghost stories. While you are there you can also tour the Historic Maplewood Home and the Walters Boone County Historical Museum. Great food and beautiful park seating will make the Heritage Festival a family tradition!

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