Thursday, May 31, 2012

Missouri Botanical Garden

  The Missouri Botanical Garden was founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw, a wealthy businessman, as a public garden and a botanical research center. There are three conservatories and more than two dozen different types of gardens. We were fortunate to be visiting during a special exhibition of Chinese lanterns. Large three dimensional figures and scenes have been created using thin metal rods, silk, and glue.
  Most of the garden paths are wide and smooth, very accessible. There are a few sections with gravel, mulch, and steps. One of the conservatories can only be viewed completely by using both entrances because of steps between the levels. The Shaw house has steps and no ramp. The tram tour is accessible.

  The parking lot has handicapped spaces that are long enough for RVs. There’s also an overflow lot a block east where RVs can be parked. Garden
38.61625, -90.25751

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Missouri History Museum

  The museum focuses on St. Louis history, from it’s founding as a French city and gateway to the west, through years of growth, decay, discrimination, and urban renewal. The main galleries of the museum are free but there are also changing exhibits that have an admission fee.

   Everything is accessible.

  Parking for cars and vans is available on either side of the museum. RVs can be parked in the lot on Grand Drive behind the visitor center. Museum
38.64558, -90.28575

Forest Park

  Forest Garden is a wonderful city park about five miles west of the Arch. It’s the home of the zoo, art museum, and history museum which are all free. Miles of sidewalks, bike, and walking trails wander through the grounds past lakes and lagoons all nicely landscaped. Almost every type of recreation is represented including golf and winter ice skating.

  The sidewalks, curb cut,s and trails are in very good condition. An accessible trolley makes a continuous loop around the park.

  The best place to park a large vehicle is in the lot on the south side of Grand Drive, behind the visitor center. Park
38.64305, -90.28244

Hollywood Casino St. Louis

  RV PARKING IS NO LONGER ALLOWED. This is a good place to stop overnight on the outskirts of St Louis. The RV lot, which is shared with trucks, is very large but expect some noise from truck engines left running all night.

  The lot is a good distance from the casino. Head through the valet parking lot to get to the elevator or escalator to the casino level. The casino has smoking and nonsmoking sections. The machines are divided between older ones with hard to reach card and money slots and newer ones with slots located lower. The chairs are easy to move. Casino
38.75072, -90.48206

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Laumeier Sculpture Park

  The whole time that we were in this park we felt like we were being watched….All of the other sculptures are abstract–so glad! ;- )  This is a really nice park with large sculptures scattered around the grounds. There’s also a museum but it’s been closed for renovations. It’s due to open soon.

  About half of the trails are paved. It’s a little hilly so wheelchair users may need to have some help. We didn’t attempt the unpaved trails which are in the woods and looked pretty steep so we missed seeing some of the sculptures.

  The parking lots are large enough for RVs. There are lots at opposite ends of the park so many of the sculptures may be seen without a long walk.  Park
38.55077, -90.41591

Mastodon State Historic Site

  Mastodon bones were discovered at this site in the early 1800s. In 1979 a Clovis spear point was found along with more bones, the first solid evidence that people and mastodons lived in close proximity to each other. The park has a small museum with a short movie. There are several trails including one that leads to the excavation site which has been closed to protect the bones.

 The museum is accessible but the sidewalk to the entrance has a good downhill slope. The museum floor also slopes downhill to a door that exits to the excavation trail. The trail is not accessible. The Spring Branch Trail  located in the picnic area is accessible- level and surfaced with crushed stone.

  The parking lots at both the museum and picnic area are large enough for RVs parked lengthwise across the spaces. Park
38.37934, -90.38437

Missouri Mines State Historic Site

  The St. Joseph Lead Company closed this mine and mill in 1972 and donated the property to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. At one time it was the largest lead mill in the world. The powerhouse is now a small museum and it’s the only building that’s safe enough for the public to enter. The rest of the complex can be viewed from a distance. The museum has mine equipment and mineral displays.

  The museum has a two large display rooms and a small theater. One of the rooms and the theater have very steep little ramps at their entryways. Most wheelchair users will need to have some help to navigate up and down the ramps.

  The parking area is large enough for RVs. Museum
  37.8374, -90.50942

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mark Twain Forest Boondocking

  Holiday weekends are different for fulltimers. We don’t have to fight the crowds and traffic to fit in all the fun of a long weekend. Sometimes the best thing for us to do is find a nice  boondocking  spot and just hang out for a few days while everyone enjoys their free time. With that in mind we went wandering along through the forest and found this little place at the end of a spur road. Nice and shady with birds singing and frogs croaking and just a faint hum of traffic.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!
 37.53604, -91.32333

Bo’s Hollow

  Bo’s Hollow is very cute and very small. Admission includes a barbeque sandwich, jerky or a model A ride. For half price you can tour the grounds and go inside the little buildings of a mock 1930s Ozark town.

  Nothing is wheelchair accessible. The brick sidewalks are very narrow. None of the buildings have ramps and there’s little room inside of them to turn around.

  The parking area is large enough for RVs. It’s pretty much out in the middle of nowhere so good directions are important. Driving on a short section, one or two miles, of narrow gravel road is necessary coming from either direction. Bo's Hollow
37.42245, -91.68439

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Springfield Art Museum

  The museum rotates its collection of almost 9,000 paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and prints throughout the year. They also host Watercolor U.S.A., an annual juried exhibition.

Everything is accessible.

  The parking lot is large enough for all RVs. Use the entrance on E. Brookside Dr. The entrance on E. Bennett St. has a big dip and many scrape marks on the pavement. Museum
37.18905, -93.27962

History Museum for Springfield-Greene County

  Springfield was founded by John Campbell, who built thirteen cabins in one year, living in each one before selling it to a new settler. The small museum covers local history including the Civil War, the shoot out between Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt, and a 1906 lynching.

  The museum is all accessible. An entrance ramp is located in the rear of the building. The elevator to museum which is on the third floor is located in the front.

  Most of the parking lots are marked for employees only. We parked along West Brower St. just across the street from the museum. The street appears to get little use and parking is free. Museum
37.21561, -93.29187

Bass Pro

  Stores (along with the parking lots where we are generously allowed to park overnight)  usually don’t make it into my posts but this one deserves a mention, if only for consumerism gone wild. Who would have thought that simple outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and camping would require a 300,000 square foot store?!

  This is the location of the first Bass Pro store. It’s the largest one and even has a museum which we didn’t get to see as it’s still under construction. The inside of the store is decorated with hunting lodge facades, waterfalls, ponds, giant trees used as posts and beams, large aquariums, and many, many stuffed animals and fish.

  To get to the RV parking area follow the oversized vehicle signs. It’s located in the far southwest corner, butting against a residential neighborhood so it’s relatively quiet. Very fast, free WiFi!  Bass Pro
37.17797, -93.2978

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Springfield-Greene Botanical Center

  Wide,paved, interconnected trails wind past themed gardens and around a little lake. The main trails are accessible but most of the gardens can only be viewed from the edges. The Master Gardener Demonstration Garden is an exception with paved paths through most of it. The Gray-Campbell Farmstead which wasn’t opened when we visited does not have ramps into the buildings or paths around the grounds. The Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, the only garden with a fee, was also closed.

The largest lots are at the Botanical Center –plenty of room for RVs. Garden
37.17206, -93.32875

Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area

  This is a small primitive campground on the edge of the conservation area. It’s really just a loop off of Route 97 with graveled spurs for RVs – no tables or fire rings. The sites are shady and it’s fairly quiet because there’s not much traffic along the road. The sites are long enough for large RVs. Camp site
37.171, -93.94713


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

George Washington Carver NM

  George Washington Carver, who spent the first ten years of his life studying the plants and animals that flourished in the meadows and forest of the Carver homestead, became world renown for his agricultural research. The monument includes the site of the cabin where he was born, the house that the Carvers lived in after George left to peruse his education, a mile long nature trail, and an excellent museum and movie.

 The museum and theater are accessible. Wheelchair users may need some help on the trail because of sections that have large loose gravel and rough grass. The house has steps to the porches and no ramps.

 The second parking lot has long RV spaces. Museum
36.98594, -94.35379

Monday, May 21, 2012

National Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum

  Darryl Starbird began making custom cars in the 1950s and has built over 150, all of them unique.Twenty five of his creations plus an additional twenty five from other custom builders are on display in the museum. A couple of monster vehicles built by Starbird and his son are located outside.

  The museum is fairly accessible. A mockup of Starbird’s shop is located at the end of a narrow section where most wheelchairs will not fit.
  The entrance to the property is a little hard to spot. Look for the sign and the monster Mustang. The parking area is large enough for all RVs. Museum
36.6315, -94.8846

Quapaw Casino

   While most casinos allow overnight RV parking this is something we don’t find often -a free RV park with hookups and grass between the sites! It’s free for 3 days then $10.00 a day if you want to stay longer.

  The paved sections are narrow and have a drop off at the edges so it might not be possible to deploy a wheelchair lift at the site.

  The casino is pretty small, moderately smoky, and the machines are tight. The chairs are easy to move. Casino
36.92111, -94.8357

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Natural Falls State Park

  This campground has several accessible sites plus a couple of paved trails. The campsites are paved with the concrete extending under the table, under the grill, and around the hookups. The table is concrete with one bench removed to allow access to an entire side of the table. A paved path leads to the restrooms which has an accessible shower with a fold down bench. The exterior door is a little heavy.

   A short paved loop trail is located in a grassy field just behind the campsites. Another paved trail leads to the waterfall overlook.This trail has a long downgrade and most wheelchair users will need to have help on the return trip. If you don’t want to try the trail you can drive and park to take a short trail to the overlook. The trail also has a section of boardwalk which goes up to bridge for higher view. The falls was more of a drip…
  All of the campsites are paved and roomy with a good spacing between them and lots of mature trees. A few, including the accessible sites, have full hookups. Anyone with a total disability gets a 50% discount off of the base rate of the campsite. State residency isn’t required for the discount. Campground
36.17416, -94.67077