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.
On Tuesday nights, Crossfire Recreation Center’s range masters close things to the public and begin setting up a bowling-pin shoot. After registering for the tournament-style competition, marksmen approach the range, prepare to draw from their holsters or low ready positions, and wait for the buzzer. When it sounds, competitors get 30 seconds to flatten five bowling pins set up 25 feet away.
At all other times, Crossfire’s 10-lane, 75-foot indoor range—rated for most handgun cartridges that are shot or thrown at less than 2,000 feet per second—welcomes guests to hone their marksmanship or train for the next bowling-pin shoot. The range’s cable system positions targets that include both standard and zombie silhouettes. Four instructors uphold the training standards of the NRA, teaching classes from the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course to private marksmanship sessions. For shooters who frequent the range twice a month or more, Crossfire’s staff offers them reduced rates through membership options. Crossfire shares a building with Arms Mart, a pro shop with an onsite gunsmith.
Since 2009, the Kansas City Dirty Duo race has helped parlay mud into money for charity. Stretched across mostly flat terrain inside Kansas Speedway, the race sends teams of two biking and running around a course nearly six miles in length. Mystery obstacles add an extra challenge to each mile, and right before the finish line, there’s a massive 40-foot mud pit where teams can to play gloopy games of Marco Polo before completing the race. Kids as young as five years old can get in on the dirty dashing, too, by joining the one-mile Dirty Duo Jr. race. Once everyone has crossed their respective finish lines, the festivities continue with a post-race celebration featuring music, food, and cold refreshments.
Across Cork and Barrel’s shelves, cubbies, and barrels repurposed into tabletops sprawl bottles of all kinds. Labels hint at the European and American provenance of a huge selection of wines. Notes of red peppers, chocolate, or fruit wait to leap from adventurous small-batch craft brews, from saisons—light Belgian ales—to potently hopped double india pale ales. Beer-brewing classes introduce the art of combining barley, hops, water, and yeast, and guests in art classes sip wine while swirling blues and greens for landscapes or portraits of Gumby weeping.
For more than 50 years, Cool Crest's owners have enchanted visitors with the fun park's abundance of family-friendly attractions. Flanked by emerald gardens, four 18-hole miniature golf courses lead participants to a bonus 19th hole, which rewards successful shots with a free game. Helpful staff enables drivers to hug the racetrack's corners while strapped into an open-wheel go-kart or, when in season, smack homers from batting cages hurling slow, medium, or fast pitches. Inside, a climbing playland and 7,000-square-foot arcade entertain guests throughout the year. To encourage kids to work as hard as they play, Cool Crest's staff rewards students brandishing recent report cards with up to 20 tokens, depending on their number of A's, B's, or the results from their PhD peer review. In between exhaustive sessions of play, a snack bar staff reenergizes guests with a slice or treat at Frankie's Pizzeria.
Though the city's name would seem to suggest otherwise, Independence residents must still—by law—interact with each other occasionally. Luckily, Independence Events Center serves to bring the community together, hosting everything from national concert tours to youth hockey leagues within its walls. Such stars as Kelly Clarkson have graced the stage within the 5,800-seat arena, also home to local sports teams such as the Central Hockey League's Missouri Mavericks and the Major Indoor Soccer League's Missouri Comets. Additionally, a community rink lets residents and nonresidents alike hit the ice for programs ranging from open-skating sessions and lessons to private rentals for Civil War reenactments.