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State Parks Stories

Missouri State Parks invites you to explore the world of nature our state has to offer. Read our stories and find a state park that's close to you.

Watch the birdie: Missouri State Parks in perfect position for migratory bird watching

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

North America’s greatest wildlife migration is underway – and Missouri is smack dab in the middle of it.

Millions of ducks, geese, swans, pelicans and other waterfowl are on their annual trek to warmer climes for winter, generally along four major flyways that go north to south across the continent – the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific flyways.

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For winter travel, birds choose Missouri State Parks

Beauty, bison and a little bit of the past: Prairie State Park

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

MINDENMINES, Mo. – As a natural resource steward at Prairie State Park, Brian Miller spends a lot of time on these rolling grasslands. His favorite is the last hour of the day.

That made my arrival perfect. The sky to the right was pink and purple as the sun set. To the left, lightning flashed and thunder rumbled in a gray column that reached to the ground. But the storm was all bluster, no rain.

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There's no better time to visit Prairie State Park than upcoming Prairie Jubilee

Piecing together the ‘world’s longest jigsaw'

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

SULLIVAN, Mo. – Jonathan Beard walked gingerly between the stalagmites on the floor of Fisher Cave in Meramec State Park, highlighting his handiwork with his headlamp.

“This is a repair, this is a repair, this is a repair,” Beard said. “We made 21 repairs in this little section alone in one day. We now have a forest of stalagmites where none were there 20 years ago.”

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Volunteers help Fisher Cave keep growing -- an inch at a time

Beauty, bison and a little bit of the past: Prairie State Park

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

MINDENMINES, Mo. – As a natural resource steward at Prairie State Park, Brian Miller spends a lot of time on these rolling grasslands. His favorite is the last hour of the day.

That made my arrival perfect. The sky to the right was pink and purple as the sun set. To the left, lightning flashed and thunder rumbled in a gray column that reached to the ground. But the storm was all bluster, no rain.

Front page blurb

There's no better time to visit Prairie State Park than upcoming Prairie Jubilee

History, hiking and the 'crazy housewives': Mastodon State Historic Site

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

KIMMSWICK, Mo. – Marilyn King is the last of the four women who fought for the founding of Mastodon State Historic Site, which tells the story of the Ice Age animals, and people, who once roamed what is now suburbia.

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Travel back into history and get a little hike in, too

Travel back in time -- and get great fried chicken, too

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

ARROW ROCK, Mo. – If Kenny Leech is graded by the fried chicken he cooks at J. Huston Tavern in the historic village of Arrow Rock, he will ace this course.

The aroma of good food frying permeates the air as you approach the brick two-story building, which first opened in 1834. A plaque on the wall inside notes that Rural Missouri magazine voted the fried chicken tops in the state in the latest poll of its readers.

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Arrow Rock SHS captures Old Missouri

Cool, clear and it brings out the kid in you

by Tom Uhlenbrock

SALEM, Mo. – Early settlers lowered an anvil on a rope into the turquoise waters of Montauk Spring in an attempt to measure its depth. The weight dropped 367 feet – longer than a football field - and stopped. Without reaching bottom.

“The anvil got so deep that the water pressure started pushing it back up again,” said Steve Bost, the naturalist at Montauk State Park, which is located where the spring emerged on the banks of Pigeon Creek.

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Fish, float and frolic in the Current River

Top 10 treasures in the Missouri State Museum

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Linda Endersby had a ready answer when asked for the strangest item in the collection of the Missouri State Museum. “Ella Ewing’s shoes,” she said. “They’re size 24s.”

Endersby is the director of the museum, which is in the State Capitol building in Jefferson City, and she knows all the surprises found in its 30,000-piece collection.

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Giant shoes, mortars and mastodons make for a fun treasure hunt

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