With a strong belief in life’s simpler pleasures, the staff of Riverview Ranch oversees a host of watersports, campsites, and cabins along the picturesque shores of the lazy Meramec River. Shuttled upstream, visitors push off in canoes, rafts, or kayaks to enjoy the easy-moving currents of the stream before arriving back at vehicles or campsites to do celebratory touchdown dances and life-vest spikes.
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.
As sister bars, The Well and Lew’s Grill & Bar make a perfect pairing for parties. Throughout the year, the bars usually host event parties including St. Patrick's Day, Hop Fest Craft Beer Festival, and New Year's Eve celebrations. The Well's rooftop bar lets patrons relax under the stars as they drink from a selection of more than 30 tap beers and bottled brews. The Well's chef-prepared menu includes plates of elevated bar fare, including char-grilled KC strip steak, baja fish tacos, roasted vegetable ravioli, and black Angus burgers. Das Boot, Lew's signature drink, is an 84-ounce boot-shaped beer that comes with an optional challenge: patrons who can imbibe the full boot, plus 2.5-pounds of cheeseburger and fries, win a free T-shirt and the honor of proving they have a stomach that is bigger on the inside.
A replica of Mount Rushmore reigns over the Hollywood Wax Museum—but instead of bearing faces of American presidents, the mugs of John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis welcome visitors into the museum's collection of celebrity wax figures. Each lifelike figure is meticulously crafted over the course of three months, resulting in uncanny stand-ins for stars such as Lucille Ball, Samuel L. Jackson, Willie Nelson, and Will Smith. Counter to the velvet ropes and glass cases of most museums, guests of the Hollywood Wax Museum can walk right up and touch their favorite figures, getting a taste of fame as they share the spotlight with them for unique photo ops. Celebrity trivia accompanies each figure across the two-level, multi-million-dollar facility, such as stars' accomplishments, the names of their pets, or which moon of Jupiter they own a resort on. After patrons max out on wax, they can head next door to Hannah's Maze of Mirrors, where reflective surfaces obfuscate players' paths as they rescue Princess Hannah from a wicked spell.
Though the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis is itself quite large, it houses a collection of artistic miniatures that encapsulate life inside a mansion or a replica of Bevo Mill in a few square inches. The museum's staff collect, preserve, and even sell some of the most impressive miniature works to be found, from dolls and their houses to re-creations of the St. Louis IX Basilica. They put together bustling displays featuring tiny, elegant domiciles completely outfitted with to-scale furniture, made period appropriate to match the house's design. Miniatures, dolls, and figurines with clothes to match wander the hallways, staring at their surroundings in a perpetual wide-eyed wonder that's shared by their visitors.
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