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  • Writer's pictureCharmaine Warren

Unleash Your Inner Explorer: Mastodons, Boone, and Winter Things to do in Missouri

Updated: Mar 16

Feeling cooped up this winter? Craving a dose of history, nature, and maybe even a touch of the unusual? Ditch the Netflix and lace up your hiking boots, because St. Louis boasts hidden gems waiting to be explored: the Mastodon State Historic Site and the Daniel Boone Home. Buckle up, history buffs and nature lovers, for a journey through time, encountering mastodons and pioneering life, all within easy reach of the city.

Things to do in Missouri

Step Back in Time (and Maybe Step on a Mastodon Bone!)

Entrance to the Mastodon State Historic Site

First stop: the Mastodon State Historic Site. Forget Jurassic Park – this is where prehistoric giants roamed 13,000 years ago. You read that right! This park houses the Kimmswick Bone Bed, a prehistoric graveyard where paleontologists unearthed the remains of not just mammoths, but also mastodons. (Think of them as the stockier, leaf-munching cousins of mammoths with impressive tusks!) Imagine these colossal creatures lumbering through the ancient landscape as you wander the interpretive trails.

A giant tusks at Mastodon State Historic Site

Inside the museum, come face-to-face (or rather, tusk-to-skull) with a stunning replica of a mastodon skeleton. It's a humbling and awe-inspiring experience that showcases the power of nature. Bonus points if you can impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of mastodon versus elephant tusks (hint: they're spiral-shaped!).

Replica of a mastodon in Mastodon State Historic Site

Feeling peckish after your mammoth or mastodon encounter? Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenic picnic area. Who knows, you might even unearth a hidden treasure (like a delicious sandwich) of your own!

From Mastodon to Man: A Boone Adventure Awaits

Frontage of the Daniel Boone Home

Next, we journey to the Daniel Boone Home, a reconstructed village that transports you straight to the 1800s frontier. Here, you'll step into the world of legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone and his family. Explore the replica of Boone's home, a charming log cabin whispering tales of a simpler time. Docents in period attire bring history to life, sharing stories of Boone's adventures, struggles, and impact on American westward expansion.

One of the bedrooms in Daniel Boone Home

Contrary to popular belief, the Daniel Boone Home wasn't actually his primary residence. Built in 1800 by his youngest son Nathan, it served as their family home in Missouri until they moved again in 1837. However, Daniel did spend his final days here, brought back by Nathan in 1820. He likely even contributed by building a workshop for repairing tools and traps. While not his primary home, the site offers a glimpse into the life of his son and the later years of the legendary frontiersman himself.

The kitchen and dining table in Daniel Boone Home

Feeling adventurous? Take a guided tour and imagine yourself blazing trails alongside Boone, facing the challenges of the frontier, and maybe even fending off a hungry bear (metaphorically, of course!).

Winter Fun for All Ages

Both the Mastodon State Historic Site and the Daniel Boone Home offer winter fun for the entire family. Enjoy leisurely walks along scenic trails, breathe in the crisp winter air, and capture Instagram-worthy photos of the historic sites. You might even be lucky enough to witness a winter wonderland scene, with snow-covered trees and a dusting of white on the cabins.

So, ditch the winter blues and embark on a St. Louis adventure that's equal parts educational, entertaining, and slightly mammoth (and mastodon)-sized!


  • Both sites have winter hours, so check their websites before you go.

  • Dress warmly for the outdoors, but don't forget comfortable shoes for exploring.

  • Bring your camera to capture the unique sights and experiences.

  • Most importantly, have fun and let your imagination run wild!

Looking for more winter adventures in Missouri? Check out these other hidden gems:

  • Mark Twain National Forest: Hike through snow-covered forests and spot winter wildlife.

  • Alton, Illinois: Take a scenic Mississippi River cruise and enjoy the winter wonderland views.

Get out there and explore! You might just discover your new favorite winter escape, right in your own backyard.

If you want to read the rest of the series check it out here:

I hope that we inspired you again to be a tourist in Missouri and check out these hidden attractions and a definite must things to do in Missouri



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