Joplin is a city in southwest Missouri that started life as a mining boomtown at the end of the 19th century. It is located on Route 66 and is a starting point for tourists driving along this historic road. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.George Washington Carver National Monument

George Washington Carver National Monument
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The George Washington Carver National Monument is a park established in 1943 in Newton County, Missouri. The park is located near the 210-acre farm where George Washington Carver, a world-renowned scientist, educator, botanist, chemist, agronomist, and inventor, was raised. It was the first national monument established in honor of an African American and the first one dedicated to a non-president. Sculptures in the park include a statue of Carver as a young boy and the George Washington Carver Talking Bust. Visitors can see his birth site as they walk along the ¾-mile-long Carver Trail, which also showcases the boy Carver statue and numerous plaques with inspiring quotes by George Washington Carver. Part of the park is also the historic Carver House, the cemetery where the members of the Carver family members were buried, and 140 acres of carefully restored tallgrass prairie.

5646 Carver Road, Diamond, MO 64840, Phone: 417-325-4151

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2.Candy House Gourmet, Joplin, Missouri

Candy House Gourmet, Joplin, Missouri
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Candy House Gourmet is large candy factory in downtown Joplin that has been a local delight since 1970. The owners have changed over the years, but the current owner has inherited the old recipes and continues to make everyone’s favorite sweets. They make everything by hand: Chocolates, truffles, English toffee, caramel pecan treats, and gourmet popcorn in all sorts of flavors including brittle, fudge, divinity, pecan logs, sea salt caramels and much more. In the spring, they dip fresh ripe strawberries in chocolate, and in the fall they do the same thing with apples. The factory includes a large showroom where you can browse and load your basket while enjoying free samples. There is a window to the next door factory where they make all the goodies. You can join a tour of the factory and see how it is all made.

510 Kentucky Ave, Joplin, MO 64801, Phone: 417-623-7171

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3.Grand Falls, Joplin, Missouri

Grand Falls, Joplin, Missouri
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Grand Falls is Missouri’s largest continuously flowing waterfall. It is formed by the water of Shoal Creek dropping down 12 feet into a large pool, which is popular for swimming and fishing. The falls spill over a ledge of chert rock 163 feet across. What makes the fall so unique is that there is water in the creek year round, so the waterfall is always running. Above the falls is a man-made dam, built to form a reservoir that provides water to Joplin. Next to the falls are more outcroppings of chert that are filled with water, creating pools that kids love to splash in.

5685 Riverside Dr, Joplin, MO 64804, Phone: 417-625-4750

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4.Joplin 44 Petro, Joplin, MO

Joplin 44 Petro, Joplin, MO
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Joplin is nice place to visit, but even if you are just passing through, you have to check out Joplin 44 Petro. It is far more than just a gas station and a place to service your truck. The place is massive, and kids just love the huge truck that rotates in the middle of the store. There are several restaurants, a convenience store, movie theatre, showers, laundry service, snack shop, and all sorts of travel gear for sale. They also host large events such as the 9th Annual Guilty By Association Truck Show, which had more than 400 semis on display.

4240 MO-43, Joplin, MO 64804, Phone: 417-624-3400

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5.Joplin Museum Complex

Joplin Museum Complex
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Joplin Museum Complex is a great place to learn about the city’s past as a mining boomtown. The complex, located in Schifferdecker Park, combines two mining museums with a range of exciting exhibits. The Everett J. Ritchie Tri-State Mineral Museum takes you inside a replica of an old mine shaft, where you can learn about the origins of Joplin as a mining town and see some interesting rocks, some of them glowing. The Dorothea B. Hoover Historical Museum includes exhibits on historic Route 66, Bonnie and Clyde's adventures while in Joplin, the Joplin Sports Hall of Fame, the National Cookie Cutter Museum, the mysterious Spooklight, woolly mammoth fossils, Native American arrowheads, and a giant 6-foot dinosaur made of scrap metal.

504 S Schifferdecker Ave, Joplin, MO 64801, Phone: 417-623-1180

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6.Red Onion Cafe, Joplin, Missouri

Red Onion Cafe, Joplin, Missouri
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Red Onion Café is a cozy, pleasant restaurant in historic downtown Joplin. Located in a nicely renovated 100-year-old building, the unpretentious decor with industrial touches, exposed pipes on the ceiling, and comfortable banquettes creates a perfect atmosphere for family dinners as well as business lunches. The menu is traditional mid-Western with specialties such as David's Fried Chicken Salad and a smoked chicken dip. Red Onion Café prides itself on fresh salads that are chopped every morning, house-made salad dressings, steaks that are cut daily in their own kitchen, and every entree cooked to order. Red Onion also offers first-class catering for events of any size.

203 E 4th St, Joplin, MO 64801, Phone: 417-623-1004

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7.Route 66 Park, Joplin, Missouri

Route 66 Park, Joplin, Missouri
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Route 66 Mural Park is a public park opened in 2013 in Joplin, Missouri. It serves as a touchstone for tourists exploring US Route 66 and as a focal point for preserving the historic route in Missouri. Inside the park are two large tile murals designed by artists Jon White and Chris Auckerman and produced by Images In Tile USA, named Cruisin’ into Joplin and The American Ribbon. One of the park’s most popular features is a red mock 1964 Corvette that visitors like to sit in for a photo opportunity. Near the intersection of Main and 7th Street is another mural that covers the south side of the iconic green hardware store Pearl Brothers.

619 S. Main Street, Northeast Corner Joplin, MO 64801

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8.Sandstone Gardens, Joplin, Missouri

Sandstone Gardens, Joplin, Missouri
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Sandstone Gardens is much more than a home and garden store. Located in a beautiful 68-acre turn-of-the-century estate, this unique place has been converted into a 50,000-square-foot major Midwest home and garden showroom. Here you can find just about anything for decorating your home or outdoor landscape, with everything beautifully displayed in the garden’s rooms. There is a range of cast stone decorative items, eclectic furniture for any style, indoor and outdoor accent lighting, wall art and decor, botanicals, textiles, dinnerware, aromatherapy, and much more. Shoppers can enjoy gourmet lunch at the Sandstone’s Bistro, known for its superb entrees and desserts.

2826 Douglas Fir Rd, Joplin, MO 64804, Phone: 417-206-6305

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9.Sweet Caroline's, Joplin, Missouri

Sweet Caroline's, Joplin, Missouri
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Located in the beautiful old Gryphon Building on Joplin’s Main Street, Sweet Caroline’s is the place where the locals go for their coffee and ice creams. High ceilings, large pillars, and cute retro blue seating create a unique, cool atmosphere where you can spend hours sampling their ice creams. There are 32 flavors and they often change them. If you ask, they will give you free samples to help you choose, not an easy task. These ice creams are artisan, hand-dipped, and perfect, while their coffee is robust and full-flavored and you can smell it as soon you enter the shop. They also sell gourmet chocolates – try their salted-caramel turtles – as well as all kinds of old-fashioned candies for every occasion.

1027 S Main St, Joplin, MO 64801, Phone: 417-624-3000

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10 Best Things to Do in Joplin, Missouri

A great place to learn about the city’s rough past as a mining town is the Joplin Museum Complex, with a range of exhibits that include some unique rocks, a tooth of a wooly mammoth, and an exhibit on the robbers Bonnie and Clyde, who spent some time in the city in 1933. Nature lovers will enjoy Grand Falls, which spills down 12 feet into a pool popular for swimming and fishing. The Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center protects the vulnerable chert glades as well as the unique biodiversity of the area, while the George Washington Carver National Monument celebrates works of the world-famous scientist and naturalist George Washington Carver.

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Attraction Spotlight: Sandstone Gardens

Sandstone Gardens in Joplin, Missouri offers fine dining, an expansive garden and shopping at a lavishly decorated estate. The 68-acre property houses a 50,000 square foot showroom and bistro in a setting built to resemble a “turn of the century” mansion. The Sandstone Gardens showroom sells antiques and home décor items ranging from furniture and home accents, to decorative lighting, wall art, textiles, dinnerware and server ware.

Women’s jewelry and accessories, gourmet food gifts and luxury custom bedding round out the offerings. Sandstone’s well-known line of cast stone home and garden statuary and furniture is also represented at the showroom.

Sandstone produces original home and garden statuary, and has been at the forefront of design in this area for over 25 years. Statuary is made with a cement and marble mixture which makes it suitable for indoor or outdoor usage, as it stands up against the elements of heat and rain, or cold, snow and ice. The catalogue of over 1,500 items is constantly changing, as statuary gets added or discontinued each year. Over 300 different planter and urn selections complement the benches, fountains and birdbaths, as well as decorative animals and novelty items. Items are finished in Mocha Antico, the signature patina of any Sandstone Gardens piece. Outdoor items are displayed among the spectacular gardens throughout Sandstone’s vast property.

An on-site bistro is equipped to handle large groups and bus tours. Lunches are made from scratch in an open grill area that allows patrons to see their meals being cooked. Menu items include traditional soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as homemade desserts, coffee, wine and beer.

History: Sandstone Gardens was founded in 1986 by Max & Vicki Carr. At the time, the newlyweds were looking for a small side business to supplement their income. They worked from their garage to cast small ornamental garden accents, selling their wares at trade shows as time allowed. Within one year, they had both quit their jobs and began making and selling garden statuary at large trade shows across the United States. The Carrs became known for their award winning displays, which showcase their garden accents within elaborate vignettes. Out of over 125 vendors at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show, Sandstone Gardens has finished in the top 3 for each of the past nine years, and has won the Blue Ribbon three times.

In 2002 the Carrs purchased the 68 acres of property outside Joplin, Missouri, an upgrade from a previous showroom they had built in the early 1990’s. The current estate style showroom was inspired by Max and Vicki’s love of grand east coast properties, and opened to the public in 2004. While known for their opulent displays, still arranged by the talented Vicki Carr, the Carrs take pride in offering home and garden wares at affordable price points.

Sandstone has become a popular stand alone shopping destination for large tour groups and individuals who take pleasure in spending a full day browsing the gardens, greenhouses and interior showrooms, and enjoy the home cooked meals and desserts.

Past and Future Exhibits: Sandstone participates in antiques and home décor events across the country, and hosts significant home décor events on site as well. Each year in October, Sandstone Gardens is decorated for the holidays for a special Holiday Market event. The weekend event features the store’s newest holiday décor items.

Outside events attended by Sandstone Gardens include some of the country’s largest Antique and Garden Shows. In 2018, Sandstone Gardens will be present at the The Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville, Tennessee in February, the The Philadelphia Flower Show in March, at the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts for May, July and September, and at the Holiday Nutcracker Market in Houston during the month of November.

What’s Nearby: Joplin, Missouri is a small town in the southwestern corner of the state, made famous in part as the site of several of Boone and Clyde’s bank robberies in the 1930’s. Although the couple escaped capture, they were forced to leave behind several personal belongings, including a camera, which included several personal photographs of the couple that spurred their infamy. Additional attractions include the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, Grand Falls, the Joplin Museum Complex, and Bonnie and Clyde’s Garage Apartment.

2826 Douglas Fir Road Joplin, Missouri 64804, Phone: 417-206-6305

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Attraction Spotlight: The Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center

The Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center is located in Joplin, Missouri, a small town in the southwestern corner of the state. The site is home to almost half the acreage of the world’s only 60 acres of Chert Glades, a wetlands habitat found only in southwest Missouri. In partnership with the City of Joplin and the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Audubon Center teaches respect for nature, and lives what they teach through ongoing conservation efforts.

Over 4 miles of trails wind through the acreage of the Wildcat Glades and offer visitors everything from a leisurely stroll to a robust rugged hike. The St. John’s Creek Trail takes guests past the historic site of the Redings Mill Bridge, where the foundation of the old mill can still be seen. Birds frequently seen along this trail include osprey and the belted kingfisher. The Bluff Trail overlooks Shoal Creek with a 50-foot climb up a chert bluff, which opens into Mother Nature's Gap, a large 40-foot deep fissure in the chert rock. The Rotary Centennial Trail is an easy hike to a viewing platform that overlooks a pond and the chert glades. The Audubon Center trails also intersect with the City of Joplin trails, paved stretches of trail that are suitable for pets and cycling as well as hikers.

The variety of habitat at the Wildcat Park lends itself to spectacular bird watching. Next to the nation’s last remaining chert glades are chert cliffs and savannah, bottomland forest, and the upland forest typical of the Ozarks, with oak and hickory trees. Wildlife seen at the park includes 163 species of birds. 48 of the seen species have been confirmed to nest in the area. Species unique to the Wildcat Glades include the Neosho Mucket Mussel, the 2-inch long eastern narrowmouth toad and the cave salamander, known for a tail longer than its body.

Indoor and outdoor exhibits at the Audubon Center are suitable for all ages and educate guests on the chert glades ecosystem, the Missouri Ozarks, and the wildlife found in the Wildcat Glades. Small children and others can easily use the Wentzscopes, which allow guests to view microscopic life in the water and see magnified samples of plant and animal life. A 1,300 gallon aquarium and terrarium system displays fish, turtles and snakes native to the area.

Outdoor exhibits include interpretative signage throughout the chert glades, the trails and an on-site cave. A new American Kestrel aviary is home to several Kestrels, rescued by the Audubon Center and unable to return to the wild. Wildlife viewing easily occurs from the Audubon Center’s deck. Bird feeders and native plants attract several different species throughout the year, including Missouri’s state bird, the eastern bluebird.

History: The Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center operates in partnership with the City of Joplin and is home to the offices of the Missouri Department of Conservation. The LEED Certified Audubon Center opened in 2007. The site is one of 41 Audubon Centers nationwide, each of them under the arm of the National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organization founded in 1905 and named after John James Audubon who famously catalogued and illustrated America’s birds in his Birds of America book in the mid 1800’s. The Wildcat Glades Center is free to the public, and as a non-profit organization relies on membership and donations to support the Audubon Center and its programming.

Ongoing Programs and Education: Educational programs at the Audubon Center include school programs for groups and homeschooled children of all ages. Programming varies by age group and ranges from animal classification, to animal lifecycles, to the study of ecosystems and green technologies. On-site programs for school groups range from 2-hour tours to full day studies with lunch included. Pre-school programs take place the second Saturday of each month and incorporate nature education with story time and puppet shows. Adult group programming is customized based on the needs and special interests of each group. The Center frequently hosts workshops and classes related to gardening with native plants.

Annual events include the Shoal Creek Water Festival. The family friendly August event is free, and includes a cardboard boat contest, shoebox boat race, children’s fishing contest, and dunk tank alongside educational booths and nature programs.

Past and Future Exhibits: The Audubon Center is home to two gallery spaces that showcase the work of local artists. Products of the Center’s programming are also displayed, such as youth artwork from the Center’s Nature's Artwork Summer Day Camp.

201 Riviera Dr, Joplin, MO 64804, Phone: 417-782-6287

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