ROUTE 66 AREA ATTRACTIONS: SPRINGFIELD, MO TO AMARILLO, TX
JASPER COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 302 S. Main St.; 417-359-8181; www.Visit-Carthage.com. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the elegant courthouse was built 1894-95 of limestone from Carthage mines. Said to be the state’s second-most photographed structure (after the Gateway Arch), it features turrets, towers and arches.
KELLOGG LAKE, 1215 Esterly Drive; 417-237-7035; www.Visit-Carthage.com. The man-made lake, created when Route 66 was realigned, lies along a stretch of the original road. The lake, popular for fishing and boating, includes a small boat dock.
PRECIOUS MOMENTS CHAPEL AND GARDENS, 4321 Chapel Road; 800-543-7975; www.PreciousMomentsChapel.org. The chapel is among Missouri’s loveliest attractions. The grounds also include a visitor center, gift shop, museum, snack shop and extensive gardens. Free tours are offered.
STONE’S THROW DINNER THEATRE, 796 S. Stone Lane; 417-358-9665; www.stonesthrowdinnertheatre.webs.com. This dinner theater in a country setting generally features comedies, also offers a special holiday presentation. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
COUNTRY CABOOSE RAILROAD MUSEUM, 1100 N. Prosperity Ave.; 417-624-3861; www.CountryCaboose.com. The museum features a large collection of railroad memorabilia, mostly from the Santa Fe line displayed in a Santa Fe caboose and Jersey Central passenger car.
JOPLIN MUSEUM COMPLEX, 504 Schifferdecker Ave.; 417-623-1180; www.JoplinMuseum.org. The five museums here depict the history of southwest Missouri, featuring the area’s role in the tri-state (MO-OK-KS) mining district.
ROUTE 66 CAROUSEL PARK, 32834 W. Seventh St.; 417-626-7710. Fun for all ages, the park includes a mini-golf course, go-karts, an arcade, batting cages, bumper boats and amusement rides. Open March-October.
THOMAS HART BENTON MURAL, 602 S. Main St.; 800-657-2534. The mural, on display in the city hall, is Benton’s last signed large-scale work. It depicts Joplin in 1900. Benton, who grew up in nearby Neosho, worked as a cartoonist in Joplin.
COLEMAN THEATRE, 103 N. Main; phone 918-540-2425; web site www.colemantheatre.org. The Spanish mission-style theater, new in 1929, has been restored to its original opulence, offers classic films and a variety of live entertainment, including ballets, light operas and performances on the original “Mighty Wurlitzer.”
J.M. DAVIS ARMS AND HISTORICAL MUSEUM, corner of 5th and J.M. Davis Blvd., phone 918-341-5707; web site www.thegunmuseum.com. This is the largest private gun collection in the world, with more than 50,000 firearms; also collections of knives, steins and Native American artifacts.
WILL ROGERS MEMORIAL MUSEUM, 1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd.; phone 918-341-0719 or 800-324-9455; web site www.willrogers.com. The museum, which opened in 1938 on Rogers’ 59th birthday, three years after his death in a plane crash, tells the life story of the humorist/humanitarian/actor/philosopher/athlete through a variety of memorabilia, radio broadcasts, films, quotes and much more. His gravesite is also here.
WILL ROGERS BIRTHPLACE (DOG IRON RANCH), 9501 E. 380 Road; phone 918-275-4201; web site www.willrogers.com. Rogers was born here in 1879 in a two-story log-walled house that can be toured. Vintage movies and newsreels are shown in the nearby barn.
ART DECO LANDMARKS WALKING TOUR in the city’s downtown includes many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places; phone 918-585-1201; web site www.visittulsa.com.
GILCREASE MUSEUM, 1400 Gilcrease Museum Road; phone 918-596-2700; web site www.gilcrease.org. The museum, which claims the world’s most comprehensive collection of American Indian and Western art, also includes 23 acres of themed outdoor gardens, a discovery center and restaurant. A variety of programs and events are offered.
TULSA ZOO AND LIVING MUSEUM, 6421 E. 36th St. N; phone 918-669-6600; web site www.tulsazoo.org. The zoo is home to more than 1500 animals living in natural habitats; there is also a discovery center, train, carousel and gift shop.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK:
NATIONAL COWBOY AND WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM, 1700 NE 63rd St.; phone 405-478-2250; web site www.nationalcowboymuseum.org. The fine collection includes works by Charles Russell, Frederic Remington and Albert Bierstadt.
OKLAHOMA CITY MUSEUM OF ART, 415 Couch Dr.; phone 405-236-3100 or 800-579-9278; web site www.okcmoa.com. With 15 galleries, a theater, café and gift shop, the museum also includes a large collection of Chihuly glass.
OKLAHOMA CITY NATIONAL MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM, 620 N. Harvey; phone 405-235-3313 or 888-542-4673; web site www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org. This memorial to the victims of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995 includes symbolic chairs and a Survivor Tree.
OKLAHOMA CITY ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN, 2101 NE 50th St.; phone 405-424-3344; web site www.okczoo.com. Considered one of the country’s top ten zoos, this 110-acre facility is home to more than 2500 animals, including the Oklahoma Trails exhibit with 800 native animals.
ROUTE 66 PARK, 9901 NW 23rd St.; phone 405-297-2211; web site www.okc.gov. Located at Lake Overholser, the park includes a playground, interpretive plaza, watch tower, wetlands with boardwalks, and an amphitheater.
OKLAHOMA ROUTE 66 MUSEUM, 2229 W. Gary Blvd.; phone 580-323-7866; web site www.route66.org. The newly renovated, first-rate museum still tells the story of Route 66 by decade, but now also includes numerous interactive exhibits to be enjoyed by all ages.
ELK CITY, OK:
NATIONAL ROUTE 66 AND TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM, 2717 W. 3rd St. (Hwy 66); phone 580-225-6266; web site www.elkcity.com. The museum features all eight states the old highway crossed. An array of artifacts, antique cars and historical documents are part of the collection; there’s also a 15-minute film documenting history of the Mother Road.
PALO DURO CANYON STATE PARK is southeast of town off I-27; phone 806-488-2227; web site www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/paloduro or www.palodurocanyon.com. The magnificent 30,000-acre park offers camping, horseback riding, picnic areas, a restaurant and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.
TEXAS AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM, 10001 American; phone 806-335-9159; web site www.texasairandspacemuseum.org. Among the attractions at this museum which honors Amarillo’s and the Panhandle’s history of flight, are a NASA trainer, P-51 Mustang and DeHaviland Beaver, plus photos and other exhibits.
AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM, Quarter Horse Drive, 2601 I-40 East; phone 806-376-5181; web site www.quarterhorsemuseum.com. The museum displays a variety of artifacts, also histories of horse breeds and the people who made them what they are today.