First Chair Fiddlers' founder, Rachel Gaither, leads a team of professional musicians and songwriters who teach students of all ages how to make beautiful music using pianos, guitars, violins, and the sound of their own voice. The team's collective r?sum? includes gigs playing in Celtic folk bands, opera performances across the country, and stints on New York City's singer-songwriter circuit. Under the team's guidance, kids and adults alike study the finer points of singing and playing various instruments, and later show off their newfound talents during summertime open-mic concerts, recitals, and impromptu 3 a.m. performances on their neighbors' front lawns. The teachers at First Chair Fiddlers also offer aspiring musicians advice on topics such as crafting a moving song or keeping a band together through lineup changes.
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.