Discover Southeast Missouri's Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State ParkElephant Rocks State Park, located in Southeast Missouri, is a unique geological formation, scenic landmark, and popular state park all rolled into one.

At first blush, it seems a bit of a stretch to imagine a cluster of giant, billion-year-old boulders are a train of elephants. From the right angle, however, the unique, red granite boulders really do take on the appearance of a pack of pachyderms.

The curious formation was created nearly 1.5 billion years ago when molten magma was pushed to the surface. When the magma cooled, it formed the reddish-pink “Missouri Red” granite. Erosion slowly took the hard edges off the stone, resulting in the large, rounded shapes we see today. This same process has created depressions or "tinajitas" in the stone, which collect temporary pools of water.

The boulders, perched atop an isolated rocky peak, first caught the attention of architects and developers in the 1800s. The area's granite bedrock polishes to a high shine and is ideal for construction. Consequently, Missouri's first granite quarry opened nearby in 1869.

Today, granite quarried from the site can be found around the country - from California to Massachusetts. St. Louis received the lion's share, however, with “Missouri Red” granite and other Graniteville stone found in buildings and streets throughout the city.

The "elephant" formation was left intact, however, and has continued to intrigue geologists, history buffs, and hikers.

Visitors to Elephant Rocks State Park will be fascinated by the names and comments that 19th century miners carved into the stone. Children (of all ages) absolutely love climbing and clambering in and around the rocks.

Elephant Rocks State Park offers opportunities for fishing, hiking, picnicking, and climbing. The ruins of an old railroad engine house from the area’s quarrying days can also be explored. Missouri's first state park trail designed for those with physical and visual handicaps, "The Braille Trail," is also in the park. The paved trail guides visitors through 7 of the park's 131 acres with signs written in Braille and regular text.

Come discover and explore Southeast Missouri's Elephant Rocks State Park!

Elephant Rocks State Park

MO-21, Ironton, MO 63650
April - October, 8am to 8pm
November - March, 8am to 5pm
Visit for more information.

Southeast Missouri Lodging
Planning a Missouri getaway? Great idea! There's something fun to see and do in every corner of the state - the middle, too! Lodging at a Missouri B&B will go a long way towards making your Missouri vacation the very best it can be. Missouri inns make the best homebase for all your explorations, no matter what form they may take: hiking, biking, sightseeing, wining, dining, business, and more. Find your Missouri home away from home today.


Experience Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival 2018

Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival 2018Come experience the 2018 Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival! This 4-day musical celebration of the famed Ragtime composer includes both free and paid concerts, symposiums, and special events. The festival is scheduled for May 30th through June 2nd, 2018 in downtown Sedalia, Missouri.

Ragtime enthusiasts likely already know that Scott Joplin wrote his most famous composition - The Maple Leaf Rag - in Sedalia. Consequently, there could hardly be a more appropriate venue for the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival.

The annual festival brings fans and performers to Sedalia from around the globe and this year is bound to be no exception. Music is the main focus, with a variety of free and ticketed concerts in and out of doors all festival-long. Internationally renowned musicians Richard Dowling, Bill Edwards, Jeff Barnhart, Evan Arntzen, Danny Coots, Marty Eggers, Matt Tolentino, Steve Pikal, Virginia Techenor, The Rhythmia, and many others are scheduled to perform.

Live concerts will celebrate music from the “Cradle of Ragtime," the Missouri Valley. Beyond Joplin, the festival will also highlight the works of James Scott, Brun Campbell, Charles Johnson, John William “Blind” Boone, and others.

There will be free concerts at both Gazebo Park and Stark Pavillion throughout the day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. After Hours at the Best Western will see professional and amateur musicians getting together to share music and laughs.

The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival is more than performances, however. Special events include a parade, a “Toast to Ragtime” bus tour, a series of Symposia, ‘live’ silent films, a Japanese Tea Ceremony, pub crawl, and tons more!

2018 Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival Event Schedule

-May 30th-
Ragtime Art Exhibit at Liberty Center – Scott Kirby - TBA
Spotlight Concert with Martin Spitznagel at Liberty Center  - 7:30pm
After Hours at the Best Western - 10pm – 1am

-May 31st-
Ragtime Art Exhibit at Liberty Center – Scott Kirby - TBA
Performances at Gazebo Park - 9am to 3pm
Procession from Maple Leaf Park To Stark Pavilion - 9:30 am
Opening Ceremony & Performances at Stark Pavilion - 10am to 5pm
Ragtime University - TBA
Symposia at Liberty Center: Ragtime 101 - 9am
Symposia at Liberty Center: Ragtime 102 ‐ 10am
Symposia at Liberty Center: Ragtime 103 ‐ 11am
Dance Lessons/Practice at Fox Theater - 1pm to 5pm
Cradle of Ragtime at Liberty Center - 2pm to 3:30pm
Donor Party (private) - 5pm – 6:30pm
Transitions in American Music: Thomas “Fats” Waller - 7pm to 9pm
After Hours at the Best Western - 10pm – 1am

-June 1st-
Ragtime Art Exhibit at Liberty Center – Scott Kirby - TBA
Performances at Gazebo Park - 9am to 3pm
Performances at Maple Leaf Park - 10am to 5pm
Symposia at Liberty Center: Scott Joplin Mysteries - 9am
Symposia at Liberty Center: Real Ragtime Stories - 10am
Symposia at Liberty Center: Ragtime Without Borders - 11am
A Toast To Ragtime Tour - 12:30pm to 2pm
Dance Lessons/Practice at Fox Theater - 12pm to 2pm
Ragtime Revelations - 2pm to 3:30pm
The Ragtime Dance at Cakewalk Hall - 4pm
Easy Winners: 176 Keys of Fury! - 7pm to 9 pm
Ragtime Ramble Pub Crawl in Downtown Sedalia - 9pm to Midnight

-June 2nd-
Ragtime Art Exhibit at Liberty Center – Scott Kirby - TBA
Ragtime Era Fashion Contest - 8:30am Registration; 9am start
Performances at Gazebo Park - 9am to 3pm
Performances at Maple Leaf Park - 10am to 5pm
Symposia at Liberty Center: Main Street Souvenirs ‐ 9am
Symposia at Liberty Center: Legends of Ragtime Panel - 10:30am
Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Fox Theater - 11am to noon
A Toast To Ragtime Tour - 12:30pm to 2pm
The Legacy of Scott Joplin - 2pm to 3:30pm
The Ragtime Music Hall - 7pm to 9:30pm
After Hours at the Best Western - 10pm – 1am

Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival

May 30 - June 2, 2018, downtown Sedalia, MO
Visit for tickets, direction, and more information.

Central Missouri Lodging
Missouri's a big state and, no matter where you are, there's lots to see and do. The same is true of Missouri bed and breakfast inns. No matter where your Missouri getaway takes you, you can rest assured that there's a locally owned and operated Missouri B&B somewhere nearby. Stay at a Missouri Inn for the kind of personalized service, value, and hospitality you simply can't get at a hotel or motel. Find your Missouri home away from home now!

Come Play For The Day At St. Louis City Museum!

stLouisCityMuseumIf you're really just a big kid disguised as an adult, or someone fascinated by the unusual, the St. Louis City Museum is for you! Its nooks, crannies, slides, caves, giant chains, and more - all created from locally reclaimed materials - are enough to bring out the kid in anyone!

The name of the St. Louis City Museum is rather misleading. The old shoe factory houses less a museum than a bizarre fantasy world.

A hodgepodge of seemingly random objects - a ferris wheel, a school bus, an old fighter jet - jut unexpectedly from its exterior. Inside is even zanier, with tunnels, caves, even a circus and a life-sized whale to walk through. The St. Louis City Museum has thousands of square feet of things to explore and many experienced visitors quite seriously suggest taking kneepads.

Yet this is NOT a children’s museum. In fact, children who visit must be accompanied by adults to enter!

The St. Louis City Museum, which opened in 1997, was the brain child of founder Bob Cassilly. Cassilly, who died in 2011, envisioned the City Museum as a space for his imagination's artistic creations. City Museum was built by Cassilly and a team of 20 artists, using locally salvaged materials.

Visitors are encouraged to play with, climb on and explore the museum's various exhibits. You'll find old chimneys, salvaged bridges, and a 10-story spiral slide that starts at the roof! The outside exhibit "MonstroCity" features a castle turret, a ball pit for adults, and two suspended jets!

The museum is one of St. Louis most popular attractions - and without advertising! More than 11 million visitors have walked through the doors since it opened and, yes: it can be crowded. There is often a line waiting to get in every morning. Folks wishing for a less busy visit should consider visiting on a weekday or after 5pm on weekends.

If you plan on visiting, tips include taking a flashlight, wearing closed shoes, and, as we said above: knee pads are suggested. Luckily, the City Museum gift shop has the latter for sale!

St. Louis City Museum is an active installation - an “ever-expanding collection of architectural relics” - so you never know what you'll find when you visit!

St. Louis City Museum

701 North 15th St., St. Louis, Missouri, 63103
Monday through Thursday: 9am to 5pm
Friday through Saturday: 9am to Midnight
Sunday: 11am to 5pm
Learn more by visiting

Northeast Missouri Lodging
Whether you're in Missouri on business or to get your knees dirty at St. Louis City Museum, you're gonna want somewhere comfortable to call home. When it comes to the best lodging in Northeast Missouri, look no farther than a locally owned and operated Missouri B&B. In fact, excellent lodging in the form of Missouri Inns and B&B's can be found all across our fair state. So go on, the next time you're in Missouri, treat yourself to the best lodging there is: book your stay at a Missouri Bed and Breakfast Inn!

Visit The Jesse James Home Museum!

Jesse James Home MuseumJesse James may have been laid to rest over 130 years ago but the legend of his exploits lives on. If you're a history buff, you'll definitely want to visit the Jesse James Home Museum in Saint Joseph, MO.

A lot of time has passed since Jesse James terrorized the midwest with his brother, Frank, and the other members of the James–Younger Gang. Despite this, his legend and name continues to retain fame. So much so, that the simple Missouri home he lived and was killed in has been turned into a museum.

The house, itself, is reasonably nondescript: a small, one-story, wood-frame home. You'd never pick it out from a group of others as interesting; until you found out it was the last home of Jesse James, that is!

Jesse James was a notorious outlaw, most known for his railroad and bank-robbing exploits that occurred after the Civil War. In 1881, hoping to settle down some, Jesse James bought a house for his family in Saint Joseph, MO. Though he used an assumed name and was seldom home, this couldn't protect him from the greed of his own former gang members.

On April 3, 1882, in response to a $10,000 reward for James’ capture, a former associate named Robert Ford ambushed the outlaw in his own home. According to legend, Jesse was shot in the head from behind as he stood on a chair to straighten a picture.

Now you can visit the home Jesse bought, lived, and died in. In fact, you can even see a hole in the wall where the bullet that killed him passed through. Before you get too excited about that, however it's best to warn you that, for many, many years, the hole went unprotected. Consequently, what was once a small, round bullet hole is now ragged and fist-sized. Don't let that discourage your visit, however!

Jesse James Home Museum contains a number of fascinating artifacts from Jesse James’ life and death. Visitors will see the famous outlaw's home, restored to how it looked when he lived here. Family portraits are on the walls, and even some of James' old guns. Artifacts from James' grave can be seen, too, including a casting of his skull, showing where the bullet went in.

The Jesse James house was moved from its original location at 1318 Lafayette Street to directly behind the Patee House Museum in the 1970s. Ironically, the Patee House served as the base of operations during the investigation of James' death. It was also where his family stayed directly after his murder.

More than that, the Patee House has its own fascinating history. It was here, in 1860, that three business men established the headquarters for the Pony Express. Then known as The World's Hotel, its luxuries served as the last bit of civilization for travelers headed into the wild western territories.

Jesse James Home Museum

Monday to Saturday, 9am to 4pm - Sundays 12pm to 4pm
Patee House Museum - 1202 Penn St., St. Joseph, MO 64503
Learn more with a visit to teh PAtee House Museum site online at:

Northwest Missouri Lodging
Visiting Jesse James Home is a great idea - but you can't sleep there! If you're looking for the best in Missouri lodging, look no further than the many friendly Missouri Bed and Breakfasts! Missouri B&Bs offer the kind of personal service and deep-dish amenities you'll find nowhere else. Book your stay at a Missouri inn today!

SubTropolis - World’s Largest Underground Business Complex

SubTropolis Kansas City, MoDeep beneath Kansas City, carved out of a layer of 270-million-year-old limestone, there is another world. A busting, productive world some 100 or more feet underground. A sprawling, subterranean complex the size of 140 football fields. SubTropolis.

Almost all cities offer more than meets the eye but this is particularly true of Kansas City, MO.

Kansas City sits upon a particularly rich deposit of limestone that was mined over the years for building materials. Parking lots, malls, and miles and miles of freeways had their start here.

The limestone was easy to get at because access was horizontal, not vertical. Vast, openings were carved in the base of the bluffs above the Missouri River. Level, wide entries that both people and vehicles can easily enter, not deep shafts.

SubTropolis was mined using the room and pillar method. "Rooms" are dug out around 25-foot square "pillars" of limestone on 65-foot centers spaced 40 feet apart.

This space left behind - over 55,000,000 square feet of it - was dry and stayed a perpetual 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Using it as cold storage was a no-brainer. Converting for tenants? Genius. Concrete flooring, 17-foot high, smooth ceilings, and electricity transformed the space. SubTropolis was now brightly lit, with miles of wide, paved streets accessed at street level.

The first tenants moved in in the 1960's and the amount of leasable space continues to grow. Today, SubTropilis offers more than 6,000,000 square feet of leasable space. Another 8,000,000 square feet of space remain available for expansion.

In fact, because of SubTropolis, about 10 percent of Kansas City's commercial real estate is underground. More than 1,700 people work here - and that's not all. The world’s first and only underground paintball arena, Jaegers Subsurface Paintball, is here. There's also an exotic flower garden loaded with orchids, Bird's Botanicals.

Server Farms, retail production, food distribution, even a Wednesday flea market call SubTropolis home. Hollywood stores it's fragile film here. Ben Hur, Gone With The Wind, Looney Tunes, every episode of Seinfeld.

More SubTropolis Facts

  • more than 10,000 limestone pillars
  • 8.2 miles of roads
  • 2.1 miles of railroad track
  • More than 500 truck docks
  • Over 55 companies renting space
  • More than 1,600 parking spaces


8300 NE Underground Dr, Kansas City, MO 64161
SubTropolis is located just 10 minutes from Kansas City’s central business district and 20 minutes from Kansas City International Airport. Learn more online at or Facebook.

Missouri Lodging One thing SubTropolis doesn't offer (at least not yet, anyway) is decent Kansas City accommodations. No matter where your Missouri getaway takes you, a warm and friendly Missouri B&B is somewhere nearby. Missouri Bed and Breakfasts are locally owned and operated, offering the kind of service and amenities you can find nowhere else. Book your stay at a Missouri inn today for the best in Missouri lodging!

Discover Central Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Castle ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State ParkHa Ha Tonka State Park is a public recreation area in Central Missouri, five miles south of Camdenton on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. The park features trails, caves, sinkholes, a spring ... and a the ruins of a massive, abandoned stone mansion.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one of Missouri's many must-visit attractions. Its winning combination of intriguing history, outstanding geologic features, lake, and trails make it the perfect park for anyone and everyone!

The park is a geological wonderland of sinkholes, caves, sheer bluffs, and a huge, natural stone bridge. 70-acres of the park were designated as the Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area in 1981.

Ha Ha Tonka Park is also home to Missouri’s 12th largest spring. Many believe this is the source of the park's odd name. “Ha Ha Tonka,” is supposedly the Osage phrase for “Laughing Spirit." Many think this is in reference to the park's gushing springs.

The natural spring and fascinating geology are not Ha Ha Tonka State Park's biggest claim to fame, however. That would be reserved for the impressive stone ruins of Ha Ha Tonka Mansion.

Ha Ha Tonka Mansion is frequently referred to as a castle, which is the very effect its builder was going after. Robert Snyder was a wealthy Kansas City businessman with dreams of building his own, European-style castle, right here in Missouri.

Snyder made his fortune in St. Louis and Kansas City during the late 1800's. By 1905, he'd amassed enough wealth to follow his dreams. Stonemasons from Scotland, a European supervisor, and Kansas City architect Adrian Van Brunt were hired to bring Snyder's three-and-a-half story tall vision to life.

Ha Ha Tonka Mansion was designed with an iconic center atrium that rose three and a-half stories to a skylight. The plans included nine greenhouses, a carriage house, and an 80-foot private water tower. Local stone was quarried and local timber cut for the construction.

Snyder never saw his dream completed, however. Instead, in 1906 he had the ignoble honor of becoming one of Missouri's first automobile accident victims. The incomplete mansion languished until 1922 when the family was finally able to complete construction. Ha Ha Tonka Mansion was leased out in 1937 and run as a hotel until a fire gutted the structure in 1942. The estate lay abandoned for decades before the State of Missouri purchased it in 1978.

Visitors to Ha Ha Tonka State Park will enjoy the ruins of Snyder's turn-of-the-century stone castle. The ruins are currently off limits but they provide impressive views of the Lake of the Ozarks and Ha Ha Tonka Spring. A series of well-maintained trails and boardwalks provide easy access to the park's many attractions. Swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and more are all available.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

1491 State Road D, Camdenton, MO 65020
April through October - 7am to sunset
November through March - 8am to sunset
Learn more about Ha Ha Tonka Park online at

Central Missouri Lodging
No matter where your Missouri adventures take you, you're going to need somewhere to call your home base. Luckily, there are locally owned Missouri inns and B&B's all across the state, offering the very best in Missouri lodging. Missouri B&B's offer uncommonly comfortable amenities, nutritious breakfasts, and an insider’s knowledge of the area. Choose your Missouri accommodations now!

It's February--Need a Couple's Getaway...

Consider a professionally run Missouri bed and breakfast. It's still winter but what a great time for a little snuggling and reconnecting with your sweetie and we've got just the place. Check out the BBIM website for an inn near you or take a drive to some place new. Our B&Bs are smart buys with complimentary breakfasts, comfortable and romantic amenities, and ideas for fun. Search inns by specials for even more savings and add-ons to your stay. If you have a BBIM gift certificate, use it ANY time. Our member bed and breakfasts have informative websites with online availability and booking and/or an option to call and talk to someone who knows. So, once you've found your getaway destination, it's easy to make it happen!

Missouri Inns for Spring and Summer Travel

It's Spring--Is there travel in your future?  Consider a stay at a fine Missouri bed and breakfast. Missouri is the Show Me State.  Let BBIM show you:  

  • 19 inns near the Katy Trail
  • 22 Country inns
  • 9 inns that host weddings
  • 19 inns near Amtrak Stations
  • 35 inns near rivers or lakes
  • 32 inns in wine country
  • 39 Historic Inns
  • 22 inns along the Lewis and Clark Trail
  • 9 inns along Route 66
  • 25 inns near Civil War Sites

All our B&Bs offer a complimentary breakfast, have required licensing, safety equipment and insurance, accept BBIM gift certificates, and provide comfortable accommodations and welcoming hospitality.  Don't take our word for it--check BBIM members great reviews on Trip Advisor, Google+, and Facebook.

Want to be an innkeeper? or have a Missouri BnB? We're always looking for other Mo inns to join our professional organization.  Check out the tab on our website. 

Ask an Innkeeper at the Missouri State Fair

On Thursday, August 18, 2016, the Missouri Travel Council is hosting a trade show at the State Fair and the Bed and Breakfast Inns of Missouri has a booth.  So drop by the Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall and visit with a MO bed and breakfast owner about staying at one of our unique BnBs while enjoying different areas and attractions in Missouri.

If you have a bed and breakfast in MO or are interested in becoming an innkeeper, stop by for information on our professional organization and find out how BBIM can give you MOre...Missouri is a great state to visit, live in, and own a small business.

BBIM also offers online gift certificates for sale that are gladly accepted at our 60+ fine B&Bs around the state and while you're there, register for a free $50 gift certificate.  For more information on the Missouri Travel Council's Throwback Thursday at the State Fair visit this link .

Tis the Season ...

Our member inns are located in festive, travel-worthy locations all over the state, So why not wake-up in one of our member inn's well-appointed guest rooms, with a deliciously prepared complimentary breakfast, and happy, hospitable hosts that strive to help "make your day". Holiday shopping, entertainment, dining, and relaxation in picture perfect settings. BBIM also offers online gift certificates that don't cost you to purchase or the BBIM inn to redeem. Happy Holidays!

When planning your next vacation to Missouri, visit the Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers of Missouri website for all your lodging needs.

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