Offering sunrise and sunset excursions, Air Balloon Sports floats riders through the clouds on brightly colored, eight-story-tall buoys of heated air. After venturing to the launch site, guests will meet the day's FAA-certified captains, crew, and up to 24 passengers. Air wranglers impart a formal safety briefing as balloons slowly take shape, filling with hot air supplied by area high-school debate teams. A blast of burners lifts leisure seekers into the air, drifting through the blue sky for approximately an hour, bandied about by the day's prevailing winds. Balloons will be followed on the ground by chase crews who rendezvous at the chosen landing site for a traditional first flight ceremony and champagne reception. Recently christened sky devils will also receive a commemorative flight certificate that can be used as a valid passport.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger?the Whopper sandwich?consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and Hershey pie keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
Flying at 30 miles per hour over forest canopies may seem like an unconventional way to tour the wilderness, but the staff at Eco Zipline Tours wouldn't have it any other way. Bright-green leaves paint a picturesque backdrop for more than a quarter of a mile of cables that zigzag through the trees in New Florence to create 6 individual ziplines that cover 1,800 feet. Staff members lead groups of up to 10 through three different tours that range from the Easy Rider, which covers four lines, to the High Flyer, which rockets patrons down all 10 lines over a mile of ziplines at heights up to 225 feet.
Eco Zipline Tours’ founder, Mike Seper, not only brings a passion for his hobby and Missouri wildlife, but he also brings expertise drawn from as far away as Hawaii. Eco Zipline tours upholds rigorous safety standards, including daily cable inspections and braking tutorials, and provides each patron with the required gear. Children aged 5 and older are welcome to zip, provided all minors are accompanied by a parent on tour.
Once the pastoral farm of a young couple, the site of Mr. Bill’s Thrills is now a bloody, cobweb-covered nightmare. In life, the lovers were happy with their peaceful matrimony. But they were soon driven mad by the macabre phenomena they witnessed on their property: slaughtered livestock, rotted crops, scarecrows who vanished from their posts. The breaking point came when the husband killed his wife after mistaking her for an intruder. Tortured by grief, he now stalks the grounds, exacting revenge upon anyone who dares disturb his privacy. The trespassers’ remains, along with those of the madman’s long-lost love, are strewn throughout the Haunted Barn and the Trail of Terror, grimly portending the horrors that hide just out of sight. Like entering into a game of demonic doubles tennis, groups of four at a time are released into the darkened land, plagued by a sense of isolation and fear as they encounter the farm’s maniacal owner and other terrible denizens.
Perfecting the art of simplicity, the folks at Green Pepper draw from fresh ingredients to craft sandwiches, salads, and soups every day. Choose from a number of handcrafted salads, or select one of the menu's many specialty sandwiches, such as a zesty buffalo-chicken wrap or a classic club piled with turkey and bacon.
The old mulberry tree at the top of Noboleis Vineyards—the same creature that graces the estate's wine labels—symbolizes the endurance of Robert and Lou Ann Nolan in pursuing their dream to own a vineyard. After purchasing a 74-acre expanse of Augusta farmland in 2005, the Nolans planted their first grapes: chambourcin, traminette, norton, and vignoles. Initial growth indicated high yields, but a late frost in 2007 claimed most of the chambourcin crop. Adversity struck again in 2011, when a tornado tore through part of the vineyards and lifted sections of roof off of the winery.
But between these setbacks, the Nolans built a steady string of accomplishments. Their first vintages claimed multiple awards at the 2010 Missouri Governor's Cup, and what had started as plain farmland grew into an estate encompassing an onsite winery, tasting room, cafe, and wine shop. The Nolans now lead tours and host tastings so that visitors can get an up-close look at how Noboleis's wines—such as the barrel-fermented vidal blanc—are produced without tickling the grapes. The indoor and outdoor grounds also regularly host events that range from weddings to live music performances.