The emerald grounds at Excelsior Springs Golf Course are seeped in history, showcasing some features that date back much earlier than the course's founding in 1915. On hole No.15—called "Oasis"—players tee off next to a monument marking the site of the Battle of Fredricksburg, fought in 1862, and an original log cabin built in 1825 still stands to remind golfers of the hearty settlers who once crossed the Mississippi in horse-drawn golf carts. When the course first opened, it was a 36-hole complex, but yet another major American event, the Great Depression, saw its reduction to the 18 holes that exist today.
Today, players continue to fire upon Zoysia fairways and storm the small greens as they make their way around the 18-hole course. Par 5s in hole No. 9, "Fairacre," and the behemoth, 593-yard No. 18, "Sunset," close out each side, presenting high hurdles for golfers before they head into the clubhouse and give clubs time to nap.
Course at a Glance
Show-Me Trail Ride Outfitter's owner and guide Jeff Strahle whisks equestrians of all ability levels through the beautiful country and scenic trails of Big River Ranch in fun, two-hour trail rides customized to move at the speed of the riders. The horseback-riding session begins with a brief introduction (up to 20 minutes) to get horsemen acquainted with the trained horses, safety, and riding techniques. Saddled sightseers then explore 2,100 acres of land and 50 miles of trails varying in scenery, difficulty, and number of lost Disney characters. Those seeking a challenge can traverse Bluff Trails, which leads riders through a rangy terrain of canyons, waterfalls, and naturally occurring rollercoasters, while those who fancy the water can take in the panoramic views of the Missouri River while galloping along River Trails. Guided rides through Big River Ranch are available for reservations on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
At Strange Manor Haunted House, a cast of frightful actors, scary ambient soundtracks, and a bevy of special effects terrify patrons within an authentically aged and battered historic medical complex. Shrouded in thick vegetation and a blanket of mystery, the dilapidated building houses actors dressed as vengeful spirits who aim to spook guests by shouting shocking facts about the solar system. To darken the mood, an eerie ambient soundtrack broadcasts spine-chilling music as echoing sounds hang in the chilled air and special effects petrify thrill seekers. Though Strange Manor Haunted House’s frights are man-made, rumors of an actual haunting surround the historic building. Before it became a haunted house, surrounding residents reported strange noises and unexplained phenomenon within the vicinity, which earned it a genuinely eerie reputation despite the deceptively mundane Yelp reviews posted by ghosts living inside.
Since opening its fairways in 1967, Liberty Hills Golf Club has cultivated a golf environment that challenges all players with a versatile landscape that earned it hosting rights to the 2005 Missouri Amateur tournament and several Midwest Section PGA events. Starting out from the stately white clubhouse that anchors the club’s 140 acres of rolling terrain, golfers embark on a 6,530-yard jaunt that culminates at the highest elevation in Clay County. The fairways coil around two large central ponds that bear heavily on shot-making decisions, forcing them to choose between attempting to play a hook shot or hook a fish for lunch.
Course at a Glance:
The journey to the more than 50-acre pumpkin patch begins with a spirited tractor-pulled hayride. Amateur squash hunters can romp through the field in search of filling for jack-o'-lantern pie or select a pre-picked pumpkin. An additional 20 acres of the farm are strictly designated for family fun. There are play areas for kids, including a melon-scratching Little Munchkin corn maze and a hands-on petting farm. Place your corn bets on Uncle Lester's Pig Races, with curly-tailed contestants including Pork Chop, Lean Cuisine, and Even-Toed Ungulate. Sprouts and sprout-tenders can hop aboard Little Bud's Railroad for a half-mile journey around the farm's many landmarks ($3 per person per ride). After digging up wholesome veggies, kinds can uncover precious minerals and candied dinosaur bones at Uncle Earl's Mining Camp ($5 per person).
Amid 20 acres of pastures and trails, the three barns and century-old home of Linden Hill Stables perch in the shade of mature trees, granting an idyllic setting for horse-riding lessons, birthday parties, and children's day camps. Property owner Lisa Hillmer tends to the horses each day, calling upon a lifetime of experience in training and showing American saddlebred horses. Through individually tailored riding lessons, Lisa helps students achieve personal goals, such as riding comfortably for enjoyment or participating in competitions. Her helpful staff also assists in boarding horses and monitoring kids at day camp. Students are required to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes while atop one of Linden Hills' well-trained steeds, their own horse, or a 1,000-pound housecat.