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Visit these historic sites that honor Missouri’s veterans

Experience Missouri’s rich military history and heritage while honoring veterans on this four-day tour of the Show-Me State.

National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City
National WWI Museum and Memorial (Credit: Missouri Division of Tourism)

Experience Missouri’s rich military history and heritage while honoring veterans on this four-day tour of the Show-Me State.

Day 1

Museum of Missouri Military History

Exhibits date from the founding of the Missouri Militia in 1808 to today’s National Guard. Items cover the Missouri National Guard and its involvement in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and other conflicts; plus humanitarian relief efforts.

The facility is located at the Missouri National Guard’s Ike Skelton Training Center, east of Jefferson City. You will need to show identification at the center’s main gate.

National Cemetery, Jefferson City

There are more than 1,500 burial sites for veterans of wars dating from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War. This site was originally intended to be used as a burial site for Civil War soldiers from the surrounding area, with the first burial taking place in 1861. This cemetery holds the distinction of being a final resting place for Federal and Confederate soldiers. Federal gravestones have a familiar arched top while the Confederate gravestones have a gabled angle top.

Lincoln University and the Soldiers Memorial Plaza

Lincoln University, one of the first historically black colleges in the United States, was founded in 1866 by the men of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries and their white officers, for the special benefit of freed slaves. The Soldiers Memorial Plaza stands as a tribute to the founders of Lincoln University.

Central Dairy Ice Cream Parlor

A Jefferson City tradition since the 1930s, Central Dairy Ice Cream Shop offers a wide variety of flavors (everything from vanilla to Extreme Moose Tracks) and treats for you to enjoy. It’s a must-stop on your trip to Missouri’s capital.

Missouri Veterans and Law Enforcement Memorials

Two memorials, located on the north side of the Missouri Capitol. The Veterans Walk is a limestone colonnade with eight columns, a terraced waterfall, and a reflecting pool. The Law Enforcement Officers Memorial pavilion honors those who gave their lives in the line of duty.

The Elms Hotel and Spa

A circa 1912, 153-room hotel and spa. Rest your head where the famous (Harry S. Truman) and infamous (Al Capone) have slept. Amenities include a 19,000-square-foot spa; hot tubs; pools; and a restaurant. The Elms is about a two-hour drive from Jefferson City.

Day 2

Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

A quick half-hour drive from The Elms brings you to a closer encounter with our 33rd president. Among his many accomplishments, President Harry S. Truman served in World War I, presided over the end of World War II and guided the nation through the Korean War. The Truman Library offers theaters, a museum store and dozens of interactive and hands-on exhibits designed to engage all ages.

National WWI Museum and Memorial

Only 13 miles (21km) from the Truman Library is the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial. This is the only American museum dedicated solely to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of a war whose impact still echoes today: World War I. Housing more than 55,000 objects, the museum uses interactive technology, along with its world-class collection, to tell the story of the war through the eyes of those who lived it.

The Raphael Hotel

This one-of-a-kind boutique hotel is patterned after Europe’s fine small hotels. The Raphael is designed to offer a uniquely Kansas City experience, combining the intimacy and charm of a locally significant landmark with highly individualized service. Located less than a block from the famed Country Club Plaza shopping, dining and entertainment district.

Day 3

John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex, Fort Leonard Wood

An unusual complex of military museums: A replica of a World War II camp, with barracks, chapel and mess hall; the Army Engineer Museum, with maps and tools dating to the Revolutionary War; the Military Police Museum, housing items from U.S. frontier Army-post life to the Iraq wars; the Chemical Corps Museum, documenting the effects of chemical warfare over the last nine centuries. Photo ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance required to enter the post. Closed major holidays.

Veterans Memorial Tour Guide

Self guided driving tour with directions to Veterans Memorials donated by citizens, businesses, and organizations of Pulaski County and Fort Leonard Wood. Pick up your free guide at the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau (Exit 161 off Interstate 44).

Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks

Take an imaginary flight in a real Cobra helicopter. Type a message on a teletype machine. Have a personalized dog tag made. On display is a Cobra helicopter, a T-33 jet aircraft, Army jeeps, trucks and other restored military equipment. Admission: $5; ages 6-11, $3; ages 5 and younger, free.

Radisson Hotel Branson

Stroll the Hall of Heroes at the newly renovated Radisson Hotel Branson, where you can pay your respects to all branches of the military. Just 50 minutes from Springfield, enjoy the indoor/outdoor heated pool, hot tub, sauna, full-service concierge and free Wi-Fi, as well as the Wildwood Bistro and the Time Out Sports Lounge on-site.

Day 4

Veterans Memorial Museum, Branson

Pay homage to America’s warriors at the Veterans Memorial Museum. The museum holds more than 2,000 exhibits honoring those who served in all branches of the U.S. military. Exhibits include sculptures, murals, historic artifacts, art and thousands of memorabilia covering WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and other 20th century conflicts. Many of the exhibits contain unique artifacts and recount personal stories from our veterans. This is an educational as well as emotional experience. The museum is home to one of the world’s largest war memorial bronze sculptures: 50 life-size soldiers storming a beach, each statue modeled after an actual combat soldier from each of the 50 states. The walls of the museum are lined with more than 500,000 names of those killed in action from WWII onward. Admission: $15; veterans & military, $13; ages 13-17, $10; ages 5-12, $5; younger than 5, free. Group rates offered.

Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction

Families are treated to a live and up-close experience featuring 32 magnificent horses, a stampede of buffalo, stunts and special effects during one of the most patriotic shows in Branson. A four-course meal is included, complete with a dessert. In November and December, Dixie Stampede transforms into a holiday celebration, including “Toys Come to Life,” a spectacular live Nativity with holiday music and a visit from Santa.