Explore a crossroads of culture tucked away in the Ozarks. Interstate 44, Interstate 49, and Historic Route 66 all unite in Joplin, Missouri. Discover the struggle and triumph of George Washington Carver. Unearth the minerals resting beneath the rocky soil of southwest Missouri. Appreciate the architecture of Joplin. Relish in the nostalgia of Route 66. Admire history immortalized on canvas.
Start your journey with a catered lunch from a local café at George Washington Carver National Monument. Discover how history, science, and nature meet in this 240-acre national park just 15 minutes southeast of Joplin. Explore the interactive visitor center, make peanut butter in Carver’s replicated lab, or enjoy the trails and the creek.
George Washington Carver National Monument
The next stop is the World’s Largest Small Appliance Museum, just north of the Carver monument. Over 4,000 small appliances from the 20th century are hidden away in the back of JR’s Western Store.
Enjoy dinner under a beautiful sunset in the county side of southwest Missouri, sipping on locally made wine at Keltoi Winery. Bring in a local musician to provide background music while everyone enjoys a tasting and a catered meal.
On day two, start with a trip to Joplin’s historic downtown and Route 66. Stop by Visit Joplin’s Route 66 Visitor Center, located in a 110-year-old former department store that is now City Hall. Learn about Joplin’s history as you view murals by Thomas Hart Benton and his grandson Anthony Gude. Then step across the street for a photo-op at the Route 66 Mural Park.
Joplin’s historic downtown and Route 66
A step-on guide joins you as you head to Candy House Gourmet, a local chocolatier in business since 1972. Observe the behind-the-scenes action of the candy kitchen and enjoy chocolates created by this nationally award-winning shop.
The tour continues as you venture west on the Route towards Kansas. The first stop is Joplin History & Mineral Museum. You’ll find world-class mineral collections, mining artifacts from Joplin’s birth as the world’s largest producer of lead and zinc, Bonnie and Clyde history, the Merle Evans miniature circus, and the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum. Take home a free cookie cutter and stop to pet the Museum’s resident kitties. Enjoy your catered lunch in the Museum’s exposition hall.
Joplin History & Mineral Museum
The trip down the Route now heads into Kansas, only 7 minutes from Joplin. Stopping first in Galena, learn how this quaint town was the inspiration for the Disney•Pixar Cars movie.
Continue west to Baxter Springs to view the iconic Rainbow Bridge and visit the Route 66 Visitors’ Center located in a restored former Phillips gas station. Then explore the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum. Experience the history of America’s first cow town, including stories from the Civil War, Black history, the Cherokee No-Man’s Land, and the local mines.
Complete your Route 66 adventures with a return to Joplin for happy hour and dinner beneath the neon lights at Wilder’s Steak House. Wilder’s has been a part of the Joplin community since 1929 and is known for its elegant meals.