Just a short drive from the metropolitan tangle of St. Louis, Twin Rivers Canoe Rentals releases urbanites into the gentle, spring-fed waters of the Meramec River. Adventurers may choose which vessel will best cut through the water’s rippled pane that flickers with shadows from the canopies of trees lining the shore. In a kayak, a single boatman may ply past largemouth bass and flathead catfish or spy a whitetail deer sneaking a drink on the banks while its doe is at church bunco. Canoes can comfortably seat two people and a cooler, whereas rafts transform five to seven passengers into an inflatable party. The leisurely pace and tranquil environs encourage groups to stop and swim or to tether to shore for a picnic.:m]]
In place of what once was a sand mine, Crystal City Underground has transformed more than 6 million square feet—approximately 200 acres—of sub-surface space into a climate-controlled entertainment facility. With 30- to 40-foot ceilings, thick pillars carved out of rock, and a lake, it presents visitors with a multifaceted underground experience, one that already includes sand volleyball, disc golf, and weekend barge rides. Future plans for Crystal City have it adding more recreational amenities en route to becoming a subterranean cultural and convention center.
Patrons may have to look extra carefully to find Fallout Frenzy Laser Tag. That's because the laser-tag arena dispatches sharpshooters in an underground battlefield, home to a former sand mine and complete with strange cave structures and ceilings that reach heights of up to 40 feet. Additionally, because games unfurl underground in a climate-controlled environment, players never have to deal with rain, snow, or clouds shaped like ex–best friends.
You can quantify the family-friendly digs and activities at Blue Springs Ranch. Twenty-nine cabins; 150 campsites; 3,000 feet of ziplines. That's not to mention the ranch's organized float trips down the picturesque Meramec River, which bumps right up against the camp, and trail rides through the surrounding wilderness. And in 2013, Blue Springs started a new tradition: hosting an annual rodeo starring the Lone Star Rodeo Company.