Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 8, 2020

Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River


Lovely Baton Rouge the capital of Louisiana sits on the Mississippi River. It has impressive antebellum landmarks.

baton OldLAStateCapitol01

The Old State Capitol is a wonderful Gothic-Revival castle that was built in 1847. It stands high on a bluff over the Mississippi. Today it houses a museum of political history, It also hosts different events and can be rented as a venue for weddings and other occasions.

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The Old Governor’s Mansion is an impressive building dating from the 1930s. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Guided tours are available. It was home to nine governors and their families. You can see many of the original furnishings and decorations.

baton kidd

The USS Kidd Veterans Memorial center on the destroyer USS KIDD. The ship was named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. who was killed on the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. The ship was launched in 1943 and nicknamed “Pirate of the Pacific.” Over the years it has been used in movies and historical documentaries. Visitors can climb aboard and have a look at the ship.

The memorial complex also has an observation tower and museum. The Historic Warship & Nautical Center has many amazing artifacts, a model ship collection, and a miniature replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall located in Washington, D.C.

baton university

The Louisiana State University was moved to Baton Rouge in 1869. Among the highlights are the LSU Rural Life Museum and the LSU Museum of Natural Science. The American Indian mounds that are located on the grounds are supposedly over 1,600 years old.

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Baseball games take place at Alex Box Stadium/Skip Bertman Field

baton university tiger stadium

and football at the LSU Tiger Stadium which is home to the LSU Tigers football team.

baton university tiger

Mike the Tiger is the official mascot of LSU and was first acquired in the 1930s. Today the tiger’s habitat has been upgraded to a 15,000 square foot compound.

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The LSU Rural Life Museum represents the lifestyles and cultures of pre-industrial Louisiana. Among the highlights are Louisiana Folk Architecture, a collection of seven buildings showing the various cultural influences of settlers in Louisiana. The Barn with items from prehistoric times to the 20th century, and The Working Plantation, a complex of buildings furnished to reconstruct life on a 19th-century working plantation.

baton capitol

The Louisiana State Capitol was built in the early 1930s. It is a landmark structure with 34 floors. Its limestone exterior has symbolic images that represent the state. The exterior stairs are flanked by two groups of statues.

225 Capitol Statues, Collin Richie Photo, 1.5.15

The Patriots, an armored soldier and the mourners of a warrior killed in battle

baton capitol patriots

and The Pioneers, a robed woman surrounded by settlers. Visitors can tour the building and look out over the city on the observation deck. The capital in on the National Register of Historic Places.

baton magnolia

On the National Register of Historic Places, Magnolia Mound was built in the last half of the 18th century. It represents the architectural influences by early settlers from France and the West Indies, The home is a wooden structure and still maintains its 18th and 19th-century appearance. It is surrounded by old oak trees.

baton blue bonnet

The Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center provides research and educational resources in a natural setting. A mile of gravel paths and boardwalks lead to distinct areas of the park such as a cypress-tupelo swamp and hardwood forests. Along the trail, you can catch a glimpse of wildlife. At the Exhibit Building, you can get information about the flora and fauna of the region.

baton zoo sign

BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo is home to exotic and domestic animals. You can see large cats, rhinos, fish, reptiles, and amphibians of Louisiana.

baton zoo parrot

You can enjoy the Realm of the Tiger featuring tigers, Siamang gibbons, a walk through aviary with colorful Asian birds, a koi pond and a rock garden. This exhibit raises awareness of threats to tigers and raises funds for their conservation.

baton zoo flamingos

Visitors love the Flamingo Cove and Giants of the Islands featuring the zoo’s Chilean flamingos and Galapagos and Aldabra tortoises.

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Take a ride on the Cypress Bayou Railroad.

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The Louisiana Arts & Science Museum offers a mix of arts and science. It is housed in a beautiful old railroad depot along the Mississippi River. The art galleries have changing exhibitions and a permanent collection of fine art. Among the highlights are American and European art. Ethnographic art, modern and contemporary art of Louisiana, photography, and antiquities.

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Capitol Park Museum informs visitors about the culture, history, and industry of Louisiana. There are static and rotating exhibits. Among the exhibits, you’ll find “Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America”, and “Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana and the Nation.”

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Downtown Baton Rouge is the place where you’ll find great dining and vibrant nightlife. The downtown area stretches along the Mississippi River. You’ll have a variety of choices from restaurants to bars to casinos. The Live After Five showcase offers a series of free outdoor concerts.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 24, 2020

Lively New Orleans


New Orleans is a Louisiana city that sits on the Mississippi River close to the Gulf of Mexico. The city has been nicknamed the “Big Easy”. New Orleans is known for its vibrant nightlife, live music scene especially jazz, and its cuisine. In the late winter, the city fills up with people when its Mardi Gras time with parades, costumes, masks, and street parties.

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The French Quarter is where most tourists head for. The main attraction is the architecture as well as great entertainment and dining. Some of the old buildings date back to 300 years. You can see arcades, wrought-iron balconies, and red-tiled roofs. There are picturesque courtyards. You can also enjoy places that offer the best of jazz.

orleans bourbon street

In the French Quarter, the most famous street is Bourbon Street which at night turns into a vibrant and loud pedestrian area.

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Royal Street has lots to offer from history to fine cuisine to unique shopping. It is also home to some higher-end shops, galleries, and hotels.

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A notable building on Royal Street is the Court of Two Sisters dating from 1832 and is a restaurant with jazz brunch.

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Frenchmen Street has good restaurants and is frequented by artists.

Other places of interest in the French Quarter are Jackson Square. With buskers, musicians, and artists and St. Louis Cathedral which is located right off the waterfront.

orleans jackson

Jackson Square is the main square right in the heart of the French Quarter. It was originally called Place d’Armes.

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In the center of the square, you’ll see an equestrian statue of General Andrew Jackson.

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At one end of the square is the landmark St. Louis Cathedral with cone-shaped spires.

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The Cabildo dates from 1795 and was the residence of the Spanish government, It is a historic building that today is a museum with an outstanding collection. In this building the first town council met in 1799 and in 1803 the Louisiana Purchase was agreed to. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum collection focuses on New Orleans history and Louisiana, especially the people of the state.

orleans moonwalk

The whole area is very impressive and laid out along the banks of the Mississippi. There are the Riverboat Docks, the Moon Walk Promenade, and the Millhouse.

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Preservation Hall is an old building that is known for jazz music. It features traditional jazz by local artists. The building has limited seating so each day the opening times and events are posted on the door.

orleans mardi

The signature event every year in New Orleans is Mardi Gras. Celebrations last for two-weeks and end with the finale on Shrove Tuesday which is the day before Ash Wednesday. You’ll enjoy parades, entertainment, and all kinds of festivities. Of interest are the impressively decorated floats that go by during parade time. At this time the French Quarter is packed.

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The Blaine Kern Studios take part in the Mardi Gras every year and is the leading producer of floats in the world. You can take a visit to the studios and see the sculpted props, huge floats, amazing costumes, and all kinds of figures, Guided tours are available and you can see the workshops of the artists and sculptors.

orleans war museum

The National WW II Museum had exhibits and documentary snippets that tell the history of WW II as it was fought in Europe and in the Pacific. The museum has three sections. One devoted to the war in the Pacific, one to the war in Europe, and the third a building housing WW II aircraft. In the 4D theater, you can see the film “Beyond All Boundaries” that was produced and narrated by Tom Hanks. As you watch the film the chairs rumble as tanks go by and stage props turn the film into a real sensory experience.

orleans war museum tank

Walking through the exhibits you can see short black and white documentary-style film segments that show how the items on display were involved in the war. Each visitor is assigned a profile of someone who was in WW II and oral updates are available at stations all through the complex so you can follow the soldier’s progression through wartime.

orleans canteen

Also on premises is the Stage Door Canteen, which features entertainment from the 1940s, with matinees and dinner shows.

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New Orleans City Park Includes different attractions like the New Orleans Botanical Garden and the New Orleans Museum of Art and The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

orleans park carousel

Families with children enjoy the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park,

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Storyland, and the City Splash Water Park. In the park, you can also find tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course.

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There are lovely places for walking and the park has one of the world’s largest stands of mature live oak trees.

The New Orleans Museum of Art is one of the finest in the South. It features an impressive collection of French and American art as well as African and Japanese artwork. There are also temporary exhibits. Outside enjoy The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden with over 60 sculptures. You can walk along the paths, lagoons, and live oak trees.

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The Garden District is a well to do residential area that has lovely mansions, mature trees, and lush gardens. You can explore it on foot or take a guided tour.

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Along First Street, Camp Street, and Prytania Street you can see elegant 19th-century houses with extensive grounds.

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Audubon Park was created on the grounds of what once was the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884. In the park are fine stands of oaks, the Audubon Zoo, hothouses, the Audubon Gold Club, some small lakes and lots of green space for relaxing.

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The Audubon Zoo has a selection of domestic and exotic animals.

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Among the most popular are the jaguars, leopards, giraffes, orangutans, elephants, rhinos, lemurs, and alligators.

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There is also a rare white alligator. In the summer you can cool off in the splash park that is called the Cool Zoo.

orleans steamboat

Take the Steamboat Natchez for a cruise on the Mississippi River. It is a great way to see the city of New Orleans. Harbor cruises last about two hours and include an optional lunch of Creole cuisine, A dinner cruise is also available and includes a live jazz band, buffet-style dinner and awesome night views of the city.

orleans aqua

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located along the waterfront. It focuses on the species found in North, Central, and South America. You can learn about the water creatures that lurk beneath the surface of nearby surrounding waters. Exhibit highlights freshwater fish from the Mississippi River and marine life from the Gulf of Mexico. You can see everything from sharks to stingrays to sea turtles.

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The Great Maya Reef is viewed from a 30-foot-long walk-through tunnel that has been designed to look like a sunken Maya City with fishing swimming around the ruins.

orleans aqua rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest has colorful birds, exotic fish, and even snakes from South America.

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Among the popular animals are sea otters and penguins.

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You can enjoy hands-on experiences with African penguins and have a chance to scuba dive or snorkel the Great Maya Reef.

The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve has six separate sites in southeastern Louisiana. Two of the sites are in the New Orleans area.

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The Barataria Preserve consists of natural levee forests, bayous, swamps, and marshes.

orleans battlefield

The Chalmette Battlefield preserves the site of the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. This was a decisive American victory over the British at the end of the War of 1812.

orleans battlefield beauregard

Adjacent to the battlefield you’ll find the lovely plantation-style Malus-Beauregard House with exhibits on the Battle of New Orleans.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 16, 2020

Lafayette Along the Vermilion River


Lafayette stretches along the Vermilion River in southwestern Louisiana.

lafayette acadian

Acadian Village is a 32-acre private park established in the 1970s. It was created to preserve Acadian history. You can see a 1800s Cajun village with eleven buildings, seven of them are authentic 19th-century homes. Tours are available and the grounds can be rented for different events.

lafayette art

The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is associated with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The collections include over 4,000 art objects from the 18th to the 21st century. There are works of art from America, Europe, and Asia. You can also enjoy ancient Egyptian art, folk art, Japanese woodblock prints, and artwork by local artists of Louisiana.

lafayette children art

The Children’s Museum of Acadiana offers a hand-on experience with interactive exhibits. Offering children knowledge on various subjects like health, food, money, and other topics. The museum has found its home in the old Heymann Food Center. It also offers programs like classes, workshops, school field trips, and programs for Girl and Boy Scouts. There are also special events hosted throughout the year.

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Avery Island is home to the well-known MacIlhenny Tabasco Company. The island is located in the heart of the Louisiana bayou country. You can get a tour of the company.

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Also on the island at the Jungle Gardens and Bird City you can enjoy great-tasting Cajun dishes at Restaurant 1868. The nature preserve lets visitors see flowers such as azaleas and camellias.

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You can also delight in animals like alligators, deer, and egrets.

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Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours for a real thrilling adventure take a swamp tour. Guided tours will take you through the Lake Martin Cypress Island Preserve. You’ll see cypress trees, Spanish moss, and birds like herons, owls, and woodpeckers and reptiles like alligators, frogs, and snakes.

lafayette swamp tour

These are two-hour tours available in English or French. They also offer special tours like bird watching, photography, and night tours.

lafayetter food truck

Hop on board for the Cajun Food Tours The tours include learning about Cajun history and culture. You’ll head for locations where you can get a taste of Cajun dishes like boudin, cracklin,’ etouffee, gumbo, king cake, and fried seafood.

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Tours stop at the Cajun Market Donut,

lafayette food la-cuisine-de-maman

lafayette food shrimp

La Cuisine de Maman,

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Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn, and others. These tours introduce visitors to the local cuisine available in Lafayette, which was voted the Tastiest Town in the South.

lafayette cypress lake

Cypress Island preserve has about 9,500 acres of protected cypress swamps and hardwood forest land. You can find lovely picnic pavilions. Take the Levee Trail that will lead you through the preserve and around the lake.

lafayette cypress birds

From January to June you can see many kinds of birds that come here to make nests among them little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, and several types of egrets like cattle, great, and snowy egrets.

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Vermilionville is a museum and a park that educates people about the culture of south-central Louisiana. It sits on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion. The park focuses on the cultures of the Acadian, Creole, and Native Americans between 1765 and 1890.

lafayette vermillion

The park has 19 attractions, 13 artisans showing the crafts of the early settlers, and seven restored homes. The park also hosts workshops and different events.

lafayette Longfellow-Evangeline_State_Historic_Site-1

Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site is the oldest state park in Louisiana. It focuses on the culture of the Bayou Teche area. The site explores various cultures of the region. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Evangeline,” tells the story of two Acadian lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel.

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You can see the tree by which they met and Evangeline’s grave.

lafayette long evangeline statue

Tours are available of the Maison Olivier, a historic 1815 plantation home.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 9, 2020

Shreveport on the Red River

A welcome sign at the Louisiana State line.

In our armchair travels, we’ve arrived in the southeastern U.S. state of Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the state’s history is reflected in its Creole and Cajun cultures.

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Our travels begin in the city of Shreveport in the northwestern part of Louisiana on the Red River.

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The Sci-Port Discovery Center features an IMAX dome and hands-on science exhibits.

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If you visit in the springtime don’t miss Holiday in Dixie which is one of the oldest and most historic festivals in the south It marks the beginning of spring and the significant Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana Purchase was a land deal between the U.S. and France in 1803. The festival lasts for ten days and includes a carnival and parade. You’ll enjoy fun activities and live music events.

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The Davis Homeplace dates from 1916. It offers you a look into how people lived in Louisiana in the days of old. The house includes many original items and period curiosities like oil lamps, transoms, and pocket doors. You can take a tour of the home with a docent.

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Betty Virginia Park offers a lush green space to relax in. There are scenic picnic areas and walking trails. Children enjoy the playgrounds. Sports fans can play ball on the baseball and softball diamonds.

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Walking along in Shreveport you might just spot a celebrity statue of Elvis Presley. The statue is bronze and stands in front of the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Back in 1954, Elvis was part of the famous Louisiana Hayride radio program and in remembrance of this, the statue was erected.

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The Eldorado Resort Casino is a premium gaming facility with over 50 table games, slots, and video poker machines. The casino also offers entertainment like live shows.

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Huddie Ledbetter also known as Lead Belly statue stands on Texas Street. He originated from Mooringsport in Louisiana. He played many different instruments and had a great impact on a variety of musicians. He was one of the most famous musicians to come from the state.

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The J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center is the place to get to know the story of the Red River in Louisiana. The center tells about how the river became navigable and became used for recreational activities. There are many exhibits including a theater and static and rotating exhibits. You can get a guided tour.

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Holy Trinity Catholic Church is the oldest church in the city. It was built in the Romanesque style entirely of Italian marble. It has more than 60 stained glass window panes. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Barksdale Global Power Museum is part of the Barksdale Air Force base. The museum preserves the history of those who served in the Air Force. There is a range of exhibits telling about the heritage of the Air Force. You can see different aircraft on display and some antique Air Force artwork. Souvenirs are available at the gift shop.

lou zoo

Jubilee Zoo is the place for animal lovers of all ages. There is a petting zoo where you can fee animals and the exhibits are interactive. There are carousel pony rides and a safari ride can take you around the zoo. Children can enjoy inflatable attractions and a playground.

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Take a visit to haunted Logan Mansion dating back to 1897. You can tour the house as guides tell you ghost stories about the place. There are also special holiday tours.

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The Louisiana State Exhibit Museum opened in 1939 and has exhibits about the Caddo Indians who lived in the area. On display, you’ll see local antique artifacts, frescos, and a historical dugout canoe. There are more than 20 different dioramas telling the story of Louisiana. The building housing the museum is architecturally impressive and built in a circle shape.

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The Shreveport Aquarium will take you through tropical lagoons, dark ocean caves, shipwrecks, and coral reefs. You can get up close to see jellyfish, rays, sharks, and other creatures of the deep. There are also some touch tanks.

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The freshwater domed gallery shows a large amount of diversity and variety. Visitors can travel to the ocean depths to see strange creatures that hide in the dark of the deepest waters.

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The Spring Street Museum is housed in the oldest structure in the city dating back to 1865. It features cast-iron grillwork. The building has been home to a bar and a bank and still has the heavy vault door. The museum tells the history of Shreveport and is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are interactive exhibits and artifacts.

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Stage of Stars Music Museum is located on Elvis Presley Avenue. The museum showcases artists like Elvis and Lead Belly. It shares stories of legendary places and people who had an impact on the music scene in America.

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It displays memorabilia from the Louisiana Hayride, a radio broadcast that helped launch musical careers.

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The Touchstone Wildlife and Art Museum has more than one thousand stuffed and mounted animals on display with simulated natural habitats in the background. The museum displays a mix of war memorabilia, taxidermy, and Native Indian artifacts, and dioramas. You can get to see artists working on new displays. Other displays of interest are the Civil War, Bonnie and Clyde, and Star Trek.

lou nature

The Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park spreads across 160 acres of oak-pine-hickory forest. There are five miles of hiking trails with interpretive signage as you go. Exhibits feature live animals including deer and the Bird of Prey aviary. There is a visitor center with hands-on exhibits, live animals, and a play area for children. There is a covered picnic area and park staff offers educational programs all through the year.

lou red river

The Red River Brewing Company lets you take a look into the brewing and bottling process. From the taproom, you can view the downtown skyline. There are five to ten taps offering Red River beer. The brewery grew from five barrels to twenty. There are food trucks on the premises as well.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 30, 2020

Traveling Through Arkansas

arkansas whitaker point

Whitaker Point is a beautiful place in Kingston that has appeared in Disney movies. Through the generations, this old outcrop has seen many couples kissing.

arkansas whitaker Hawksbill Crag in the moonlight

The views all around are amazing. It is a wonderful place to visit but you have to be careful since the edge of the rock Is steep and narrow. It has become a popular hiking route.

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Roark’s Bluff in northwest Arkansas with a trail along the Buffalo River. It offers wonderful views and during high water, there are two magnificent waterfalls – Roark Bluff Falls and V Notch Falls.

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Petit Jean State Park has 21 miles of hiking trails with untamed bluffs and caves. Throughout the area you can find log and stone facilities, It is a wonderful place to commune with nature.

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Mount Magazine in Paris stands over 2,750 feet tall. It’s the highest mountain in Arkansas. At the top are two peaks and below broad river valleys. There is a lot of birdlife among the trees here. You’ll find that popular activities include camping, hiking trails, overlooks, and a picnic area. The visitor center and lodge feature an exhibit gallery, a gift shop, and the Skycrest Restaurant with large bay windows. Those who enjoy extreme sports can rock climb, hang-glide, mountain bike, and horseback riding.

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Devil’s Den State Park is hidden in the Ozark Valley. It is surrounded by the Ozark National Forest and dissected by the Lee Creek. Lake Devil was created by a native stone dam.

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Lake Ouachita has almost 1,000 miles of shoreline and 40,000 acres of pristine water. It is a great place for water sports and fishing. You can also water ski, dive, and go boating. You can explore the Ouachita National Forest.

arkansas buffalo river

The Buffalo River flows through Arkansas passing huge bluffs, craggy outcrops, and wild state forests. Along the river, you can experience the adventure of wild white rapids and calm ebbing pools. You’ll also find lovely waterfalls.

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Between Ponca and Kyles Landing you’ll find a section of the Buffalo River that has been deemed to be the most scenic. This stretch cuts through rough, mountainous terrain. There are sharp rock outcrops, massive bluffs, and lovely foliage.

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Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs in the Ouachita Mountains has old bathhouses that are still used

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and the historic Fordyce Bathhouse is now the visitor center. There is an observation tower, hiking trails, and different hot springs to experience.

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Garvan Woodland Gardens just about 10 miles south of Hot Springs is the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas, There are different plots, overlooks, and scenic structures.

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To begin exploring stop by the Pratt Welcome Center and see the resident peacocks. Other highlights include the Evan Children’s Adventure Garden, the Chipmunk Café, and

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the Anthony Chapel with floor-to-ceiling windows.

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The Mammoth Spring State Park is located in the town of Mammoth. It is home to one of the largest springs in the U.S. In the park you can see a restored 1886 train depot and a Frisco Railroad caboose.

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There is an interpretive hiking trail that includes a path across the dam. You can get a look a the out-of-service hydroelectric state. There are covered pavilions that can be rented for events.

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Throncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs has a unique design of glass and wood and sits in a lovely natural woodland setting. The high glass walls look out over the forest. Sunday services are held here at 9 AM and 11 AM during the summer. There is one 11 AM service in the winter.

arkansas art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville has one of the largest collections of American art under one roof. There are temporary and permanent exhibits. Artwork by such notable artists as Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Georgia O’Keefe. The Crystal Brides has over three miles of trails and you can take a leisurely stroll along the Art Trail.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 22, 2020

Lovely Little Rock

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Our armchair travels have taken us to the U.S. state of Arkansas. The state borders the Mississippi River.

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Our first stop is the capital city Little Rock on the Arkansas River.

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Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site was the site in 1957 that focused on the struggles over school desegregation. When these struggles were just beginning nine African-American teenagers entered the school for their first day of school. It was a pivotal event in the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division escorted the students into the school. Today this is still an active school but you can arrange a tour of the historic site with a ranger.

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The Clinton Presidential Library includes an archival research facility and a museum with interactive exhibits. There are over one million photos and gifts that 42nd U.S. President Bill Clinton received while in office, They’re displayed on all three floors of the complex. There are full-scale replicas of the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office. Throughout the year many events, speakers, and programs are hosted. Guided tours re available.

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The Old State House is the original state capitol of Arkansas. It is a great example of Doric architecture in the southern states. On display in the museum, you can see decorative arts, inaugural gowns of the wives of governors, and historical displays that relate to state politics.

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Pinnacle Mountain State Park is just 15 miles northwest of downtown Little Rock. There are two hiking trails that lead up to the summit offering amazing views. Many other trails will lead you through the state park. You can find boat launches and picnic sites.

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The Arkansas State Capitol was designed after the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. It was built of white marble and granite, The front entrance doors are made of bronze and the cupola is covered in 24-karat gold leaf. Visitors can arrange for a scheduled tour, Highlights here include the Governor’s Reception Room, the Old Supreme Court Chamber, and the rotunda. Throughout the building, you’ll find permanent and rotating exhibits. Outside the landscaped ground have walking paths and commemorative statues.

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River Market is a year-round market offering many shops, stalls, and tables selling food items and other products, The market hall is an open concept building with food stalls, coffee vendors, groceries, and take-out.

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The market gives quick access to the scenic Arkansas River Trail that is great for both walking and biking and passes by famous monuments like the Big Dam Bridge

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and the Clinton Presidential Bridge.

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Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian and cycle bridge in the U.S. It links more than 20 miles of trails that go along the river and is a connection between Little Rock and North Little Rock. You can walk or cycle along the bridge.

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Riverfront Park stretches along the Arkansas River and is one of the favorite meeting spots in the city. The park has many walking trails and playgrounds for children. There are historical memorials and monuments like the Little Rock Civil War Marker

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and the Riverfront Park History Pavilion.

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The pavilion includes an Indian Head Statue carved by Peter Toth and represents a tribute to Native Americans.

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You’ll also find a sculpture garden and in the summertime, there is a splash park for children.

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The Old Mill is a scenic recreation of a grist mill in the 1800s. It is surrounded by landscaped grounds. It is a scenic place to spend the day. You’ll find sculptures by renowned artist Senor Dionicio Rodriguez and these sculptures have put the park on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is housed in the historic Tower Building that is part of the Little Rock Arsenal. The museum displays the military history of the state with artifacts, photos, documents, uniforms, weapons, and other items. This building is one of the oldest in the region and was the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur.

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MacArthur Park surrounds the museum with contemplation gardens, veterans memorials, and the Arkansas Arts Center.

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A fun place to spend the night is the IN Little Rock Firehouse Hostel and Museum.

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The Little Rock Zoo has animals from 200 different species from all over the world.

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You can see elephants, giraffes, big cats, rhinos, and bears. The Arkansas Heritage Farm offers hand-on interaction with farm animals.

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There are fish-feeding and lorikeet landing stations

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Wildwood Park is a park for music and the performing arts. It was designed for indoor and outdoor performances. The park also has gardens. At the Butler Arboretum, you can see daffodils and native flowering trees, the Gertrude Butler Gazebo has a daylily garden

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and offers scenic views of Swan Lake. Bruce Garden has native perennials and decorative grasses and the Asian Woodland Garden has a ceremonial tea house and Japanese plants.

ark maritime

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is by the Arkansas River. It is a naval museum that includes two floating vessels from WW II. One is a tugboat that is recognized as a Historic National Landmark and the other a USS Razorback Submarine. Guided tours are available.

ark maritime river walk

The North Shore Riverwalk has memorials and a peace garden.

Museum of Discovery.

The Museum of Discovery is the oldest museum in the city. It has a collection of more than 14,000 items. There are displays of insects and animals as well as fossils. Many of the galleries are interactive as you learn about science and the natural world.

ark steetcar

The River Rail Electric Streetcar is a real authentic streetcar. The system runs for 3.4 miles through the city and crosses the Arkansas River. It was modeled after the original.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 13, 2020

Taking a Look At Missouri

missouri lake-of-the-ozarks

The Lake of the Ozarks is located in central Missouri in the northern part of the Ozark Mountains. It is a large reservoir that was created by the impoundment of the Osage River and tributaries. The slow and lazy curves of this lake have earned it the nickname of “The Magic Dragon”. It is one of the largest man-made lakes dating from 1931. It has become a vacation destination and a place for winter sports.

missouri lake state park

When visiting you can explore the Ozarks, visit the Lake of the Ozarks State Park

missouri lake Party-cove1

or stop by Party Cove. You can relax at the Lodge of Four Seasons and when you’re not boating on the lake you can even enjoy a round of golf.

missouri ha ha

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is located along the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. You can explore the ruins of Ha Ha Tonka mansion that was built after the 18th-century European castles.

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There are 15 miles of hiking trails, caves, sinkholes, and natural bridges. You can choose to go boating, fishing, or swimming.

missouri katy

The Katy Trail State Park includes the Katy Trail that runs along 240 miles of the former Missouri-Kansas Texas Railroad. It stretches along the railroad tracks and the Missouri River. It is the longest rails-to-trails trail in the country. It is enjoyed by hikers, joggers, bikers, and tourists. Parts of this trail are also parts of Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail.

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Hannibal is the town where literary giant Mark Twain was raised. The town has preserved his house and has museums to commemorate his life.

missouri hannibal TwainBoyhoodHomeMuseum

Take a look at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Garden,

missouri hannibal huck-finn-s-house

the Huckleberry Finn House,

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and the Thatcher House. You can follow along with his colorful characters and take the raft ride with Huck and Jim or explore the cave that Tom and Becky explored. During the summer there are free music concerts.

missouri dogwood-canyon-bridge

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is great for day trips and overnight stays with camping and cabin rentals, You can go hiking, biking, or fishing. You can bike on the canyon floor, take a tram tour or cattle drive. If you like you can ride a horse through the park.

missouri st joe

St. Joseph or St. Joe is located in Buchanan County along the Missouri River. It was founded in 1843 by fur trader, Joseph Robidoux. During the Wild West days, it was the last supply point and rough frontier town. The town has seen the birth of the Pony Express, the death of infamous outlaw Jesse James, and in modern times is the birthplace of famous rapper, Eminem.

missouri st joe pony-express-museum

There is the Pony Express Museum and at the Heaton-Bowman Smith Funeral Home is a small museum dedicated to Jesse James. It displays the bullet hole from the final shot that killed the outlaw.

missouri welch current

Take a look at the amazing Welch Spring Hospital ruins that once offered healing waters.

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They are located in Jadwin. In 1913 a doctor having found spring water that had healing properties built a hospital over the mouth of the cave, Welch Spring. Today such a hospital could be called a health spa. However, since access to the area surrounding the Current River was limited there were not too many patients or guests. The healing complex was abandoned.

missouri current

Today the Current River is a popular place for canoe trips and camping.

missouri rock bridge

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park that is just south of Columbia, Missouri has what is known as the Devil’s Icebox. It consists of wooden bridges and pathways. The reason it was given this name is that it stays a cool 56 degrees all year round.

missouri Rock Bridge Icebox entrance

Visitors can explore the dark terrain underneath a natural rock bridge and explore Connor’s Cave. The Devil’s Icebox is a complex of caves that stretches for seven miles. At present, it is closed to the public to protect bats from the spread of white-nose syndrome.

missouri Laura-Ingalls-Wilder-Historic-Home-and-Museum-Mansfield-MO-1024x768

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum is located in Mansfield. This features the concluding series of her life and is the place where she settled with Almanzo and their daughter Rose. It is also the place where she wrote her Little House books. Here you can see Laura’s homes, the historic farmhouse and the Rock House on Rocky Ridge, and Laura’s Vegetable Garden created to honor her passion for gardening. In the museum, you can see Pa’s fiddle, handwritten manuscripts for the Little House books, Laura’s needlework, Almanzo’s tools, and other keepsakes. Another part of the museum is dedicated to Rose Wilder Lane, who became an American journalist, travel writer, novelist, and political theorist.

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In the so-called wild goose capital of the world Sumner, Missouri

missouri sumner

you’ll find a huge goose called Maxie in the middle of a public park caught in mid-flight. It was installed in 1976 and is made of fiberglass.

missouri Sumner-MO-Wild-Goose-Festival

Sumner sits along a migration path and sees a large number of around 100,000 wild geese land in the local lakes every year.

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Pigs Aloft Museum in Linn is the only pig museum in the U.S. It contains one of the largest collection of pig items with more than 30,000 pieces. The museum has made its home in an 80-year-old barn. Visitors to the museum have added their own personal pig items to this collection.

missouri pig big

In addition to the museum, the Where Pigs Fly Farm has more than 500 live animals.

missouri pig horse

missouri pig cat

You can see the resident donkeys, horses, birds, cattle, and pigs. Annually the farm also rescues hundreds of cats.–directions.html

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 1, 2020

Kansas City


Kansas City is located in the state of Missouri on the border with the state of Kansas.

kansas national

The National World War I Museum is housed in a modern building with a glass walkway stretching over a field of red poppies. The museum has informative displays and cabinets full of weapons and uniforms. At the Liberty Memorial, you can get awesome views of the city.

kansas fun

The Worlds of Fun Theme Park has rides for all ages among them

kansas fun mamba

the legendary Mamba roller coaster that is one of the fastest and scariest in the world. Here you’ll also find the Dinosaurs Alive attraction featuring life-sized dinosaurs.


The Kansas City Zoo was founded in 1909. It is best known for its Kenya and Tiger Trail exhibits.

kansas city zoo Tigers

You can enjoy seeing lions, elephants, giraffes, orangutans, kangaroos, tigers and so much more.

kansas city zoo penguins

In the KidZone the highlights are the Polar Bear Passage and the Helzberg Penguin Plaza.

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There are five transportations options to explore the zoo – train, tram, Endangered Species Carousel, boat, and African Sky Safari.

kansas country club

The Country Club Plaza is the city’s premier shopping destination. You can admire the Spanish architecture. There are walking tour brochures available.

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There are interesting sculptures to see particularly the bullfight mural on Central Street and the Neptune Fountain.

kansas jazz

American Jazz Museum is a great place to learn about the history of jazz in the area like different styles, instruments, and famous musicians. The museum is interactive.

kansas nelson art

The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art has impressive art collections that represent North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The antiquities collection has Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern artworks. Additional galleries focus on Japanese, Chinese, and American art.

kansas nelson art 2

You can enjoy the lovely grounds and sculpture park where you can go for a walk, play sports, have a picnic, or take a guided audio tour.

kansas contemporary

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art displays the artwork of some of the worlds up and coming contemporary artists. There are free guided tours available. You can relax at the Café Sebastian.

kansas library

The Kansas City Public Library catches the eye with its Community Bookshelf outside of the main library building, The bookshelf consists of model book spines that measure 25 feet. Presently the library has an exhibition that showcases Shakespeare in his early years and has his first folio that is though to be one of the rarest and most valuable books in the world.

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals

The Kauffman Stadium is home to the Kansas City Royals major league baseball team. Tours of the stadium include access to the Royals Hall of Fame, an up-close look at the largest HD screen at any baseball stadium and an interactive kids area.

kansas Kauffman_Center_for_Performing_Arts

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is housed in an unusual building. It is the best place to see a musical or a play.

kansas Loose-Park-18

Loose Park is the third largest park in Kansas City and the most popular. The park has a lake, water park, picnic area, and a rose garden with more than 4,000 roses.

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Within the park are Civil War markers that mark the locations where General Sterling Price once commanded his gunmen to situate themselves.

kansas Independence_-_RLDS_Temple_02

The Independence Temple is located east of Kansas City in Independence. It is an unusual and impressive building. A house of worship and a place of education that dominates the skyline of the area and is the headquarters for the Community of Christ.

kansas union

Union Station was built in 1914. It closed in the 1980s as a transportation hub. It was later reopened with shops, restaurants, and other services.

kansas union inside

The building is one of the city’s main tourist attractions, It also houses the Science City, the Regnier Extreme Screen Theater, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium, and the City Stage Theater.


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Posted by: RasmaSandra | December 23, 2019

Amazing St. Louis


Our armchair travels have taken us to the state of Missouri in the Midwestern U.S. Our first stop is St. Louis along the Mississippi River.

miss gateway

The icon of St. Louis is the Gateway Arch standing 192 meters high on the Missouri edge of the banks for the Mississippi The arch honors the frontiersmen and women who ventured westward to discover the Great Plains, the Rockies, and made their way to California. To get awesome views of the city and the state of Illinois take the tramway to the observation floor.

miss market

Beside the Gateway Arch, you’ll find the start of Market Street. This is the main street and is lined with important buildings and halfway along opens out into the St. Louis Memorial Plaza.

miss busch

On the left side, you’ll see Busch Stadium which is home to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

miss city hall

Keep walking along Market Street and you’ll find the City Hall that has been modeled after the Hotel de Ville in Paris, France.

miss soldiers memorial

Farther along you’ll find the Soldiers Memorial Building commemorating fallen American soldiers.

miss old courthouse

On the right side of Market Street is a large domed building, the Old Courthouse that is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. Today it offers exhibits from the Museum of Westward Expansion. In the courthouse, you’ll also find tickets for the Gateway Arch and Visitor Center.

miss cathedral

The Old Cathedral, the Catholic Basilica of St. Louis of France was built on the site of the first church of St. Louis. On the west side of the cathedral, you’ll find the Old Cathedral Museum where you can find out about the history of the city.

miss forest park bench

Forest Park sits on the site of the 1904 Worlds Fair.

miss forest jeff

On the north side is the Jefferson Memorial.

miss forest Missouri_History_Museum_-_Front_2012

Here you’ll also find the Missouri History Museum with historical exhibits about the state, St. Louis, and Charles Lindbergh. The City Art Museum has collections from prehistoric to contemporary artworks The St. Louis Zoo and St. Louis Science Center are also here.

miss picnic

Within Forest Park, people can picnic on Picnic Island

miss River_des_Peres_Lansdowne

and walk along the waterways of River des Peres with fountains and water features like the Cascades.

miss forest for

For hiking, there is the Kennedy Forest.

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See the Cabanne House the oldest structure in the park and on the National Register of Historic Places.

miss science

The St. Louis Science Center offers exhibits based on biology, chemistry, and physics. There is the Mission: Mars exhibit showcasing the technologies used in cosmic explorations. An OMNIMAX theater shows science-related films.

miss art museum

The St. Louis Art Museum has artworks by world masters with permanent exhibitions that include the art of Manfredi, van Gogh, and Rembrandt. It also showcases the creativity of eastern schools from the Himalayas to the Orient, the Middle East, and North Africa.

miss zoo

The St. Louis Zoo has some of the top conservation and animal preservation facilities in the entire U.S. The exhibitions showcase the wildlife of the Caribbean with bamboo sharks and stingrays.

mizz zoo flamingo

Africa shows you pink flamingos, hippos, zebras, leopards, and lions.

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There are so many things to do and see that it has become one of the city’s top attractions. You can get around the park with the Emerson Zooline Railroad.

miss bot lily pool

The Missouri Botanical Garden also known as the Shaw Garden was named after the botanist and businessman Henry Shaw.

miss bot climatron

There is a lovely rose garden, the unusual Climatron built for tropical plants,

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a Japanese garden, an aqua-tunnel under a water lily pool and an herbarium.

miss bot kids

The Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden has attractions like a prairie village and treehouse. Other special exhibits include the Cave Experience with a man-made cave and a wetlands area with a steamboat.

miss six

Six Flags St. Louis sits on the western edge of the city. It is a great amusement park for thrill-seekers with rides such as the American Thunder, Bonzai Pipeline, Boomerang, Fireball, and Ninja. Next to it, you’ll find a water park with many winding slides and splash pools.

miss brewery 2

Anheuser-Busch Brewery is in the original place that Adolphus Busch chose to set up shop in the 1800s. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour the old cask rooms and see how the beer is brewed and finish in the tasting rooms.

miss delmar Blueberry_Hill_patio

The Delmar Loop is the city’s top entertainment area with many eating and drinking establishments. It also offers a great nightlife. You’ll find iconic clubs such as Blueberry Hill with 1960s garage and rock and roll, hookah lounges, and The Pageant for great theater shows.

miss Weldon Spring Conservation Area

The Weldon Spring Conservation Area along the Missouri River gets you back to nature. The park has lovely limestone cliffs, forests, grassy meadows, and river banks. Marked trails are great for walking. For hearty hikers, there’s the Katy Trail that will take you deep into Missouri, across the riparian plains toward Clinton in the east.

miss City_Museum_outdoor_structures.jpg

The City Museum is housed in a former shoe factory. It is fun for both adults and children. Exhibits include a giant aquarium, architectural museum, art activities, participatory circus, and others.

miss magic house

The Magic House is housed in a lovely Victorian-style mansion with fun-filled exhibits. It is considered one of the top youth museums in the U.S. Here you can enjoy fairy-tale journeys, sandcastle sculpture gardens, and a huge Children’s Village.

miss Scott_Joplin_House

Scott Joplin House State Historic Site is the house where Scott Joplin the “Father of Ragtime” lived from 1901 to 1903. It is furnished in the period of the early 1900s and includes memorabilia and a player piano featuring the artist’s music and tours are available.

miss citygarden-statue-fountain

You might get startled seeing a large decapitated head while passing through City Garden but it is a part of a typical stroll through this park.

miss eros

This massive sculpture known as Eros Bendato was created by artist Igor Mitoraj. It is the head of Eros, the Greek god of love and desire. The bandages that cover the face symbolize his imprisoned desires. People enjoy taking photos here and climb inside the huge head.

miss chuck

This small red brick house was once the home of rock and roll legend Chuck Berry. He is known as the Father of Rock and Roll and wrote such classics here as “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Johnny B. Goode”, and “Rock and Roll Music”.

miss chuck statue in the Loop

There is a Chuck Berry statue in the Loop.

The house will become a museum and the center of an African-American cultural district to honor other former residents of the area such as Josephine Baker. Chuck Berry moved into the area the Greater Ville just as he was starting a family and bought his first electric guitar. The layout of the house remains as it was when Berry lived here.

miss Lemp_Mansion_2012

The Lemp Mansion is a historic house, There were three suicides by Lemp family members and the house is considered to be haunted.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | December 14, 2019

Traveling Around Illinois

ill GrantHome

Ulysses S Grant Home State Historic Site in Galena is the former home of Ulysses S. Grant the Civil War general and later on the 18th President of the U.S. The home has been restored with its 1860s furnishings and has Grant’s personal belongings. Tours are available.

ill starved rock 3

Starved Rock State Park is located on the Illinois River southwest of Chicago. It was named after a group of Native Americans who were left to starve on one of the rocks by their enemies. The park has lovely canyons and amazing waterfalls. The trails are great for hiking and guided hikes are available. Other activities here include fishing, horseback riding, and boating.

ill Cahokia-Mounds-State-Historic

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city. It is located right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri in southern Illinois between East St. Louis, Missouri and Collinsville.


The site is home to 120 mounds that include the 100-foot tall Monks Mound. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is an Interpretive Center that tells the story of the Native Indians who built the area through artifacts, audiovisual presentations, and dioramas.

ill japanese

Anderson Japanese Gardens are 10-acres of Japanese gardens in Rockford with ponds, waterfalls, streams, and rock formations. Here you’ll also find an authentic Sukiya-style guest house and tea room. There are areas for meditation and contemplation.

ill six flags goliathsfgmmid

The Six Flags amusement park opened in Gurnee in 1976. It offers a wide range of rides and attractions for all ages. Some of the highlights are the thrill rides like Goliath and the American Eagle. There are many different places to eat and a selection of souvenirs.


The Leaning Tower of Niles was built in 1934 and is a miniature version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. The village of Niles and the city of Pisa established a sister city pact in 1991. The tower was part of a 22-acre amusement park and originally intended to conceal a water tower. Today visitors come to take photos, have a picnic on the landscaped grounds or attend one of the open-air music concerts offered by the city.

ill Lake-Katherine-main

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights include woodlands, wetlands, prairies, and a 10-acre lake. You can enjoy lovely gardens, and rent kayaks and canoes. Activities here are walking, jogging, and cycling along the trails. There are many different reptiles and animals in the nature center and you can find wild animals in their natural habitat.

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Buffalo Rock State Park in Ottawa offers fantastic views of the Illinois River. It features a herd of American Bison.

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There is a children’s playground, a baseball diamond, and live animal sculptures built out of the earth as a tribute to Native American culture. There are two picnic shelters one with a stone fireplace.

ill shawnee

The Shawnee National Forest is one of the most famous natural locations in the U.S.

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and offers the amazing 20-foot Burden Falls which is the tallest in Illinois. Here at the Burden Falls Wilderness bird watching is very popular. You can hunt and fish on the grounds. The main hiking trail goes through the forest and is 3.5 miles long.

ill matthiessen

Matthiessen State Park is close to both Oglesby and Utica. The park is known for its unusual and beautiful rock formations. Here you can find a nice combination of forest, streams, and prairies. The park was named after Frederick William Matthiessen, a prominent industrialist, and philanthropist. You can enjoy an abundance of plant and animal life. There is a large white-tailed deer population. Children can enjoy the playground.

ill matthiessen eagle

Since it is close to the Plum Island Eagle Sanctuary sometimes bald eagles can be spotted in the park.

ill Galena-main-street-shops

Galena was named after a mineral that was mined by Native Americans. 85% of the town had been deemed to be a national historic district. Along six blocks of Main Street, you can enjoy Greek Revival and French Colonial buildings. Galena has become a popular tourist destination.

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Among the highlights are the Old Market House

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and the Historical Society and Museum.


You can go underground at the Vinegar Hill Lead Mine. Galena has been home to nine Civil War generals.

ill Grosse_Point_Lighthouse

Grosse Point Lighthouse is one of the most beautiful buildings in Illinois and is on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Historic Landmark. This spot is famous for being the place where Father Jacques Marquette landed in 1674 when he came to visit Native American tribes. The grounds are open to the public and tours are available. To get the top of the tower you have to climb 141 steps to the summit of the lighthouse.

ill rock

Rockford is the third biggest city in Illinois. It is often called the Forest City with its 20.000 acres of green space. You can find the oldest music club in the nation here the

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Mendelssohn Club. Other places of interest are Anderson Japanese Gardens,

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Tinker Swiss Cottage, and Klehm Arboretum.

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Visitors enjoy seeing Jane the T-Rex at the Burpee Museum of Natural History.

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Families enjoy Magic Waters.

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