When writer Richard Faulk set out to catalog the nation's oddest corners for his book Gross America, Leila's Hair Museum was an obvious choice. There, Leila Cohoon preserves and furthers the off-kilter artform of hair-based crafts, which stretches back to the 1700s and beyond. In a piece for CNN.com, Faulk notes that, in pre-photography days, Victorian artisans would "[weave] jewelry and decorative lace out of human hair" as a means of remembering departed loved ones, with "successive generations [sometimes adding] to the lacework to create a genealogical record, much like a family bible". In addition to these personal mementoes, Leila's collection includes 400 hair-based wreaths dating before 1900, and numerous reliquaries said to contain the hair of Mary, mother of Jesus, St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, and pieces of the cross. Hair pieces belonging to Michael Jackson, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Lincoln, and other presidents also reside here. Although not hair-related, the museum also features a brooch that is said to contain threads from the coat of Joseph, father of Jesus. The quirky outpost has attracted the attention of racontours other than Faulk, too--noted gadabout Anthony Bourdain also paid a visit during an episode of his show No Reservations.
Under the oppressive heat of the Missouri sun, rafts and their passengers float atop the languid current of Coyote Creek as it traces a 900-foot perimeter around Adventure Oasis Water Park's flooded playscape. The sprawling park offers a respite from the summer swelter with water activities and attractions for guests of all ages, highlighted by three towering slides, including the Sidewinder—a 308-foot raft slide—and the Scorpion, a tube slide that emulates passage through a cosmic wormhole or gigantic piece of penne pasta with a 197-foot plunge. The chutes bottom out in a placid pool, where guests can catch their breath or scale Cactus Climb, a climbing wall that hangs over the water. As grownups relax in a deck dotted with striped parasols, younger guests can run amok at Halfpint Paradise, a smaller playground stationed in a shallow pool.
A 25-yard lap pool with multiple lanes awaits more serious swimmers at Roadrunner Pass, which also boasts a diving board for those looking to perfect their swan-dive form or execute the world's first pool cannonball that actually explodes. In addition to free-range fun, Adventure Oasis's friendly waters host swim lessons and aquatic exercise programs.
Known for its history as a pioneer town and home to former president Harry S. Truman, Independence welcomes visitors to its storied sites, making them more accessible with free trolley rides. Tour the 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home and Museum to glimpse a dwelling for law breakers next to a dwelling for a law keeper, and the clandestine tryst between the abodes that resulted in a museum. The Bingham-Waggoner Estate preserves many of the original art and furnishings of the famed Bingham and Waggoner families, while the National Frontier Trails Museum hails the starting point of the westbound pioneers with bronzed pieces of nuts, raisins, and chocolate bits tracing a path westward.
Diamond Bowl, a refreshing fusion of bowling alley and robust restaurant, serves as a hangout for pin-battering rollers hungry for lane-thundering action and thirsty for food. Games ($5) on Diamond’s eight lanes keep hook-happy fingers limber, and shoes ($3) safeguard feet from toe-stomping sore losers. Follow up your fourth turkey with tangible foodstuffs from Diamond's full menu, such as the blackened-salmon sandwich on a kaiser roll ($7.99), the well-rounded bowling burger ($7.49), or the crispy chicken-tender salad ($8.99). Serious contenders can take a break from finger calisthenics to enroll in one of Diamond Bowl's leagues, and casual players can pair their match play with drinks from Diamond’s fully stocked bar, or they can watch a less phalange-intensive sport on one of nine crystalline HD TVs. Hourly games are also available.
The trainers at ProType Sports Academy adopt a multifaceted approach to exercise, basing their fitness programs on scientific research and personal experience. After talking to clients about their fitness goals and level of physical conditioning, they formulate workouts designed to prevent muscles from hitting the snooze button after too many repetitions. Trainers work with clients through each step of the process, guiding them through workouts in weight training, plyometrics, and Vertimax training, the last of which applies weight to legs and arms simultaneously. They also helm group classes in subjects such as kickboxing, yoga, TRX, spinning, and Pilates. These classes take place across a sprawling facility complete with two basketball courts, two indoor-soccer fields, a boot-camp field, a dance studio, and a quicksand pit that makes for some intense resistance training.
In 2005, the racehorse known as St. Croix was crowned Ohio's Horse of the Year, completing the season with one third-place, one second-place, and five first-place finishes. None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of Saddle Creek Stables' trainers, who saved St. Croix from his early vacation plans to horse heaven. After the equine instructors retrained and bonded with him, St. Croix returned the favor with an awe-inspiring racing career. Now enjoying his retirement, St. Croix carries guests on leisurely trail rides across 160 acres of forest trails, outcroppings, cliffs, and flowing streams.
Saddle Creek Stables is a premier racehorse facility operated by trainers dedicated to making their thoroughbreds happy and healthy. The team leads trail rides for all ages and organizes parties with hayrides and bonfires for children. Their forested ranch also provides an excellent venue for hikers, campers, anglers, and deprived houseplants looking to reconnect with their natural habitat.