Sunday, July 27, 2008

Antique Toy Museum

Traveling to and from Lake Ozark in Missouri, we passed the Antique Toy Museum in Stanton, MO.
On our way back, we stopped to check it out.
We stepped into the adjoining gift shop and paid our $6 admission to get into the museum.
The museum is filled with over 3,000 toys from dolls to tractors to planes and even a room with antique cars and trucks.
We saw a set of mechanical dolls from Germany, and a model train was running on a track near the ceiling.
With toys dating from the turn of the century to the mid-1960s, many of them were a bit before my time, but I did see a few newer ones, and it was a fun roadside jaunt.

Antique Toy Museum
2426 S. Outer Road
Stanton, MO 63079

World's Largest Rocking Chair

On our way to Sunrise Beach, MO, we buzzed by a sign on Interstate 44 touting the World's Largest Rocking Chair, and made a mental note to check it out on our way back.
This is a fairly new attraction, having only been put on display April Fool's Day 2008 in Fanning, MO.
The chair towers at well over 40 feet tall, perched next to the US 66 Outpost and General Store. We were disappointed to find the general store closed on Sundays, but I did manage to snap a photo of our 70 pound black lab under the chair, which illustrates just how robust this rocker really is.

World's Largest Rocking Chair
5957 Highway ZZ
Cuba, MO 65453

Two Bit Town

A trip to Lake Ozark would not be complete without checking out the Bagnell Dam Strip.
On our recent visit to Missouri, we parked along the strip and checked out the Rebel Arcade, opened in 1972.
Our next stop was next door at Two Bit Town. We bought four tokens for two dollars so we could go through the maze and Crazy Cousin's Cabin.
The maze is a series of wooden walled paths where you have to locate 13 doors in order to find your way out. Walking through, we noticed several weeds, but on a hot day, the vines covering the top of the walls at some points provided some much needed shade.
We found our way out in about 10 minutes, but StfRon wasn't convinced we should go through the turnstile and thought we must have missed a door near the end. We kept looking until finally the token booth lady said "You guys can come out at any time!" She had heard us coming to the end and realized we must not have figured out we could exit there!

Our next stop was Crazy Cousin's Cabin, a mystery spot of sorts where the tilted walls of the cabin provide a visual illusion and make you feel like gravity has taken a vacation, or at least had one too many cocktails at the Topsider!
We had fun checking out the different places in the cabin to pose, sit or walk and we both noticed we felt a little dizzy or light-headed at times!

Two Bit Town
1475 Bagnell Dam Blvd.
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ha Ha Tonka State Park castle ruins

On our recent visit to the Lake of the Ozarks area in Missouri, we took the time to stop at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri to view the castle ruins.

Around 1900, Robert McClure Snyder, a prominent Kansas City businessman was so impressed with the beauty of the area that he began purchasing much of the surrounding land and eventually acquired over 5,000 acres.

Snyder dreamed of building a private retreat that would rival castles of Europe. He brought in stone masons from Scotland and a hired a European supervisor to ensure proper construction techniques.
Kansas City architect Adrian Van Brunt designed the three-and-a-half story masterpiece. The stone and timber used were taken from the vicinity of the construction site and were hauled by mule team. Construction began in 1905.

Also on the property were nine greenhouses, a stable and an 80 foot water tower, all built of the same stone and timber.
The water tower fell victim to vandals in the 70s, but still stands today.

Tragically, in 1906, Snyder was killed in an automobile accident. The interior of the castle remained unfinished until 1922 when Snyder's sons completed the upper floors of the building.

The Snyder family then faced years of adversity in trying to keep the property in the family. Eventually they leased the mansion to a Mrs. Ellis who operated it as a hotel.

In 1942, one of Ha Ha Tonka's fireplaces sparked a fire in the mansion. All that remains today are the walls on the edge of the cliff. The State of Missouri purchased the estate in 1978 and opened it to the public as a State Park.

Visiting the site and enjoying some of the 12 hiking trails, we were impressed by the beauty of the property. The views rival those that we saw when visiting the Rhine/Mosel valley in Koblenz, Germany.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park
1491 State Road D
Camdenton, MO 65020