By Bill Clevlen
I’m all about a great road trip to find new experiences. In this issue of MEET Missouri, I’m sharing some interesting “in the air” travel experiences that you can enjoy with your group around Missouri.
1. Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (Gateway Chapter at Creve Coeur Airport) | St. Louis County | armyav-gateway.org
Earlier this year, I produced a story for billontheroad.com about taking a ride in an U.S. Army Cobra attack helicopter. An impressive military veteran flew me over Henry County, Georgia (just south of Atlanta) and the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He shared his own story and how the helicopter was typically used in battle while actually recreating maneuvers in the air. Of course, I was surprised to learn later that I didn’t really need to travel all the way to Georgia to have a similar experience. The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation also has a chapter in the St. Louis region. The flights launch from the Creve Coeur Airport in St. Louis County and for a fee you can ride along in a Cobra helicopter as I did, or take a ride in a Huey– all piloted by volunteers who served in the military and can share some of their own experiences with you or your entire family. It is an incredible opportunity and worth every penny.
2. Fritz’s Adventure | Ropes and Aerial Obstacle Courses | Branson | fritzsadventure.com
I never did find out who Fritz is, but I definitely got a kick out of making my way through the adventure park’s ropes courses on a recent visit to Branson. With 80,000 feet of explorable space, you, your family, or your employees can spend a day testing your endurance and seeing what you’re really made of (all while learning if you’re as brave as the 10-year-olds trying the same things). The Sky Trail Course offers 40 various obstacles like rolling logs and tight ropes. You can even climb a 40-foot-high utility pole or scale the walls of the complex while harnessed in with state-of-the-art auto-belay technology. Fritz’s Adventure has meeting rooms as well if you’re looking for a fun team building day with your co-workers or employees.
3. TWA Museum | Kansas City | twamuseum.com
Remember the good old days of flying? Back when you could walk straight to the gates without long security lines, and once on board you were treated to real meals? Enjoy some nostalgia at the TWA Museum in Kansas City where former TWA (Trans World Airlines) employees share their collection of artifacts and exhibits. TWA’s role in American flight history is profound. They played a major part in both the birth of airmail and the inception of passenger air travel. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday. Be sure to check their website for updated hours and admission costs.
4. Great Forest Park Balloon Race | Forest Park in St. Louis | greatforestparkballoonrace.com
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of this amazing event, which takes place each fall in St. Louis’s Forest Park. This year’s festivities will take place September 16 & 17. The first night is the balloon glow, where you can gather and see all of the balloons beautifully lit up starting at dusk. There is a fireworks display scheduled at the end of the evening. Admission is free for the balloon glow and to see the balloon race the following day.
5. Eco Adventure Ziplines | New Florence | ecoadventureziplines.com
Missouri has its fair share of zipline experiences in every corner of the state. But in mid-Missouri, Eco Adventure Ziplines has caught the attention of many travelers as one of the most impressive places to enjoy nature while soaring high above the ground. Located about an hour from Columbia, the adventure park’s big advantage is being able to utilize the natural contours of their property instead of having to add big towers for guests to climb like most zip-line experiences. Each tour lasts between 90 minutes and two hours depending on the size of your group. Reservations are required and can be made through their website.
Bill Clevlen is a contributing writer from St. Louis.