Stop Saying There’s Nothing to Do

By Vanessa Copeland

I hear it all the time. When traveling with friends we get asked where we’re from, quickly followed by, “What do you do for fun?” Someone will be here from out-of-town or just relocated and will ask, “What is there to do for fun?” And inevitably, someone pipes in with, “Nothing.” I get that we’re not the booming metropolis of New York or LA. I get that people outside of the Four-State area are unlikely to know who Thomas Hart Benton or George Washington Carver are; or that the 33rd President is from Lamar. I even get that people inside the Four-State area may not feel like our famous fellow Missourians are anything special. However, I do not get the “nothing fun to do” mentality. There are a TON of interesting places, museums, theme parks, national parks, lakes, rivers, restaurants and bars all within driving distance. So, for you “nothing” believers out there, below is list of a just a few of the fun places in our area, so next time you can make a more informed response when asked, “What is there to do for fun?”

Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium


Many of you have likely made the short jaunt to Springfield and wandered around the vastness that is the Bass Pro Shop. Even if you’re not into fishing or hunting, it offers a wonder land of wild life enjoyable to all ages. However, there are still many who have not been to, nor maybe heard of the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium. Aside from the over 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds; WOW offers you a chance to check an item off your bucket list. In the middle of the country, in a town in Missouri, you can swim with sharks. The Out To Sea Shark Dive is a metal cave dive that puts you face-to-face with tiger sharks, brown sharks, barracuda and many other sea creatures. For more information visit

Ozarks Skydive Center


Speaking of crossing things off your bucket list, if you’re headed to Springfield anyway, you may as well stop off at Ozarks Skydive Center. For less than you paid for your electric bill in July, you can experience the thrill of a free fall at 120 mph. They have an amazing team that will train you and one of those team members will strap themselves to you to guide you through an amazing experience. Be warned, you will want to go again. For more information visit



If you’re bucket list consists of a little less adrenalin-invoking activities, such as trying your hand at painting, RSVPaint in Joplin is the place for you. The instructors are so amazing, they can turn anyone into a Picasso. They have classes that range from painting your pet’s portrait to painting your favorite wine glass. The best part is, you can fill that glass with your favorite wine during the class. They cater to large groups, individuals and even have youth classes. For more information visit

Crystal Bridges


Visiting RSVPaint may very well invoke your inner Da Vinci, in which case, Crystal Bridges should be your next stop. Tucked away in Northwest Arkansas, Crystal Bridges is a Museum of American Art that “unites the power of art with the beauty of nature.” This museum is so much more than just a building to house paintings. They have a year-round educational program for children of all ages, as well as continuing education for teachers and two research fellowship programs. They recently had an outdoor Chihuly exhibit that was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. An upcoming exhibit is: “Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now.” For more information visit

Flicker: Bar and Arcade


For those of you who, like me, are just kids in grownup bodies, there is the new barcade, Flicker, in downtown Joplin. You can experience the standup arcade games of your youth while enjoying a tasty beverage that comes with privilege of adulthood. The best of both worlds colliding into one fun-filled evening. A week from Thursday on November 1st they are hosting 80s karaoke night. So, dust off your acid wash jeans and mesh fingerless gloves for an evening of 80s magic. For more information visit

These are just a few of the tons of fun things to do in the area. Below are links to some other great options. Go out and experience some of what the Four-States has to offer and stop saying there is nothing fun to do. As the old saying goes, “Only boring people get bored.”

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