10 Things For Families To Do In Springfield, Missouri

If you are looking for a family friendly town that also has some history, you’ll want to visit Springfield, Missouri. I recently went there with my mom and kids on a sponsored press trip and found it was the perfect mix of learning and fun.

Here are some of the things our family enjoyed doing while we were there.

Andy B’s Restaurant & Entertainment

Andy B’s Restaurant & Entertainment center is a huge building filled with lots for families to do. With 21 lanes of traditional bowling, 10 VIB (Very Important Bowler) bowling lanes, an underground laser tag arena designed to look, feel and sound like an abandoned mine, a large arcade game room with every game you could want, and a full-service Restaurant and Bar, you’ll never run out of fun things to do at Andy B’s.

We enjoyed bowling together at Andy B’s. They have a really updated system with an interactive scoring system that allows you to customize the game for your group and adds a lot more fun to the bowling game. While we bowled we ordered food and they had a great deal going on where you received a free game card with every item ordered from their special menu. After bowling the kids played laser tag and some video games and arcade games for tickets. We all had a great time there!

Learn more here.

Discovery Center

Discovery Center of Springfield (DCS) is an interactive, hands-on museum committed to inspiring people of all ages with a life-long love of learning and an appreciation of the world and our place in it. Kids will have such a fun time playing with the exhibits that they will forget they are learning!

Our favorite part of the museum was the area that explored careers. The kids loved pretending to do a newscast on television where they sat behind a desk just like a real news anchor would and talked to a camera that was recording them. They could pretend to be weathermen and give the weather report using a green screen as well. Another area they enjoyed was the grocery store where they took turns shopping and being the cashier. Other areas they could pretend in included a doctor’s office, a newspaper office, a construction zone and a theater among about a dozen other areas.

Learn more here.

Askinosie Chocolate Tour & Tasting

Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch bean to bar chocolate manufacturer sourcing 100% of their beans directly from the farmers. At Askinosie Chocolate they hold the craft and quality of their chocolate in almost equal balance with doing as much good as they can in the world. They have a great business model and improve the communities of both where they are located and the farmer’s where they get the beans from. They offer tours of their factory where people can learn about how and why they make chocolate, their cocoa origins, their farmer partners, and their engagement in their community and their origin communities.

The boys were open to doing anything that involved chocolate- Luke’s favorite food group- though they were very surprised to find that cocoa nibs do not taste like the chocolate they are used to. We enjoyed the tour though and learned about how chocolate was made and where the cocoa beans come from. We tasted some pieces of chocolate that they sell and the boys loved the white chocolate the most. After the tour we bought some chocolate because, hello- chocolate. (Please note: The tours are for older children. If you have a child under five they require they be held or in a stroller for safety reasons.)

Learn more about Askinosie Chocolate Tours here.

Wilson’s Creek National Battelfield

Wilson’s Creek was the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River, and the site of the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general killed in action. The costly Southern victory on August 10, 1861, focused national attention on the war in Missouri. Visitors can visit this National Park to check out their Wilson’s Creek museum and then take a self-guided tour of the battlefield by vehicle. Along the tour you can stop at eight places that are considered significant battle-related locations including The Ray House, dating from the 1850s, which served as a temporary field hospital for Southern soldiers following the battle. There are five walking trails off the tour road, varying in length from 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile and a seven mile trail system for horseback riding and hiking.

I honestly wasn’t sure how much the boys would enjoy the tour, because they haven’t learned about the war in school yet, but they seemed to really like it. We were lucky to meet some costumed characters at one of the stops that showed us what the dress looked like during the Civil War, what types of things they would have carried and what their guns looked like. We even had a private demonstration of how they would have loaded and shot their guns which I think Jacob really enjoyed.

Learn more here.

Arcade At Incredible Pizza Company

America’s Incredible Pizza Company has been voted as the #1 Family Entertainment Center in the world, twice, and it’s easy to see why! Along with a delicious buffet they have plenty for the family to do. They have a large trampoline area, arcade games, go karts, rides, laser tag, an XD theater, bowling, rides, and an area just for little ones.

The boys loved playing the arcade games of course. We also raced go karts. Jacob was tall enough to drive his own go kart so it was him against Lucas and I and I loved seeing his smile as he was racing. We all enjoyed the buffet which had a great salad bar, pizza selection, and variety of desserts.

Learn more here.

Fantastic Caverns

Fantastic Caverns is America’s only ride-through cave. It was discovered in 1862 by an Ozarks farmer -or more precisely, by his dog, who crawled through an entrance. It wasn’t until five years later that the first exploration took place: 12 women from Springfield, answering a newspaper ad seeking explorers, ventured into the cave. Because the beauty of Fantastic Caverns is vulnerable, the Cave is toured in jeep-drawn trams. Since you ride all of the way through, you experience the magnitude, the stillness, and the splendor of Fantastic Caverns while preserving its natural features.

I loved being able to sit down and enjoy a ride through the cave. It was a much better way to explore it than having to walk through because you could really focus on looking at it the whole time instead of having to watch where you were walking. The boys loved when they turned the lights off and we were in complete silence and darkness for a bit.

Learn more here.

Fun Acre Mini Golf

Fun Acre has an 18 hole mini golf course and batting cages. Though it is not the most well kept mini golf course we’ve ever played on, it is the cheapest which is why I’m adding it to my list. Adults play for $2.50, kids ages 5-11 play for $1.75 and children 4 and under are free. We had a lot of fun playing mini-golf here!

Learn more here.

Swim At The Historic Best Western Rail Haven

We loved staying at this hotel. They have a great outdoor pool that the kids loved playing in. Read my whole review of our stay here.

Two other places that looked fun but we didn’t explore much were Ms. Gilmore’s Tea Room and Bass Pro Shops. The tea room was next door to a restaurant we ate at and I walked through it briefly. It was so adorable and the perfect place to have afternoon tea with your child! Bass Pro Shops is also a place I’d recommend. We have one near us and there is always a lot to do there. This one in Springfield is the original Bass Pro Shops store and probably three times the size of other Bass Pro Shops. They are even getting an aquarium soon which I thought was awesome!

Overall we enjoyed all the things we did while in Springfield, Missouri. Stay tuned for my post on the best places to eat while you are there!

The Historic Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel

A few weeks ago I visited Springfield, Missouri with my mom and children. Visiting as a guest of the CVB, we received a complimentary stay at the historic Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel. According to their website, the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven motel features eight original sandstone cottages that were built in 1938, just 12 years after Route 66 was established in Springfield as one of the main routes that leads to the west coast.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect because of the motel’s age and the fact that it was a chain motel but I was pleasantly surprised when we got there. The staff was extremely kind and helpful, there were fresh cookies available when we checked in and our room was nice and clean. They also provided many great amenities like free wi-fi, parking, complimentary breakfast and a “to go” snack bag upon checkout.

The first thing we noticed upon pulling into the parking lot was the vintage charm of the hotel. I loved the ambiance. There is an old Ford Crown Victoria out in front along with a phone booth and some old gas pumps.

The lobby of the motel also had a vintage feel with the cafe area bringing me back to the sock hop era. The breakfast buffet area was modernized though. In the mornings you could make your own Belgium waffle and they had a variety of toppings to choose from. Other options included a number of hot breakfast foods (like eggs, sausage and biscuits with gravy), cereal and bakery items. There was also a fridge with waters, yogurts and fruit. For drinks they had a hot drink machine (which my boys loved getting hot chocolate from) and a juice machine. Overall, I thought the selection for a complimentary breakfast was great.

Once we checked in and grabbed our freshly baked cookies we headed to our room which was just a short drive away. The room itself was typically furnished with two beds, a table and chairs and a dresser with a large flat screen TV on it. The dresser had both a minifridge and microwave which I love because it helps to save on food when you can bring your own simple lunches and dinners to heat up or store your leftovers when you order too much from the restaurant.

The bathroom was a bit small but had a bathtub which the boys enjoyed splashing in. There was also a counter with a large mirror outside the bathroom which provided extra space and helped keep things moving in the mornings with everyone sharing one bathroom trying to get ready.

Speaking of splashing, the boys were the first ones in the motel’s pool this season. Though it was a warm day the water was still chilly since it had just been filled but that didn’t stop the boys from playing in it. I sat under a pergola while I watched the boys swim as my mom took a nap in the deck chair beside me.

I liked that the motel had a lot of outdoor space. Besides the pool area there was a large covered area with tables and chairs, outdoor seating outside the lobby and chairs outside each room. It is the perfect place to relax when you aren’t exploring Springfield, Missouri!