Set in Purina's spacious Visitor Center and surrounding premises, the five-day event lets fall-fanatic families usher in seasonal scares and crunchy leaves with autumnal activities such as tractor-drawn hayrides, storytelling, meet-and-greets with friendly witches, and magic shows by performers from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. In keeping with Purina's roots as a purveyor of kinship between people and pets, youngsters can feast their primary head orbs on live farmyard animals, duck herding demonstrations, cow-milking displays, and costumed canines competing in a series of flying disc, agility, and diving contests. Bring the entire family or the gaggle of mischievous, otherworldly imps living in your basement for refreshing fall fun.
With just 2,000 square feet and only three bedrooms, The Bourbon Lodge surrounds guests in the coziness and attentiveness of a bed and breakfast, but its small size belies the many adventures surrounding it. Situated on a hill overlooking 300 private acres—from which the logs came for its timber frame—the lodge connects guests to dense forest and two spring-fed lakes for activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and horseback riding. On hunting trips, guides supply hunters with bird-dogs, guns, and ammo to hunt for game ranging from turkey to deer, depending on the season. They also help hunters sharpen their marksmanship with 15 stations of clay shooting. For fishermen, the lodge's staff maintains rental boats for unguided fishing trips. The lodge's seclusion also caters to those seeking relaxation, with amenities such as a hammock and alarm clocks that hit their own snooze buttons. Come meal times, the dining area fills with aromas from dishes such as fresh omelets, fried fish, and rotisserie chicken.
It’s only 5 kilometers long, but the Zombie Survival Dash, as the name might suggest, is a bit more than the average run. As runners tagged with timing chips for tracking, placement, and action shots make their way toward the finish line, they're also equipped with three flags representing their health. Meanwhile, the course's stretch is littered with both traditional obstacles and costumed zombies who block, stumble, and chase runners and attempt to steal their health flags.
All the while, spectators look on, as every half hour a wave of 300 survivors is unleashed upon the course. Then, spectators, survivors, and zombies retire hand-in-hand to an all-day after party with live music and entertainment, just like at the end of a real zombie movie. Vendors dispense food and drink as partiers participate in zombie-themed fair activities such as faux-grenade tosses and body-bag drags.
The music pulses in the air, almost drowning out the crack as bowling balls hit their targets. Colorful lights skitter across the lanes, while guests sit at tables that glow with space-age decals. It?s another weekend at Oasis Lanes, and Cosmic Bowling is on the agenda. During the other five nights of the week, leagues, birthday parties, and groups of friends take turns tossing balls down lanes, all with the aim of knocking down as many pins as possible. Between games, the Palm Court Caf? helps guests refuel with pizzas, sandwiches, and cheeseburgers. For other modes of entertainment, the alley?s Mirage lounge pairs tequila and beer with rounds of karaoke and competitive origami folding.
You can quantify the family-friendly digs and activities at Blue Springs Ranch. Twenty-nine cabins; 150 campsites; 3,000 feet of ziplines. That's not to mention the ranch's organized float trips down the picturesque Meramec River, which bumps right up against the camp, and trail rides through the surrounding wilderness. And in 2013, Blue Springs started a new tradition: hosting an annual rodeo starring the Lone Star Rodeo Company.