Location: St. Joseph, Mo. About an hour north of Kansas City
Cost: Up to you. Some of the attractions are free, some cost 4 bucks.
Appropriate ages: Depends once you decide where you want to go.
Website: Visit www.stjomo.com for a full list of everything to do here. We were only able to do 3 different sites so we'll only review those. There is a lot of things to see and do here but there isn't enough time to see it all with kiddos.
St. Joseph Historic Fire Museum.
Location: 1202 S. 11th, St. Joseph MO
Did you know that the very first fire pole in firehouses was in St. Joe? That's right, it's a down right Biggest Ball of Twin kind of thing. As for the musuem itself, one of the most awesome for young kids ever. They have 2 firetrucks from the 1940's that are in restored condition. And get this: they let the kids climb all over them. Inside the cabs, inside the backs, everywhere. Then there is the bell that they also let the kids ring. Over, over and over again. The docent there was one of the best I have ever run into. She was so accommodating and friendly that made this trip even more worth it. She brought out fire helmets and gear and actively encouraged the kids to play with it. There are some actual displays as well but we didn't get much farther than the awesome trucks. The kids loved it and if you are planning to go to St. Joe it would be a shame not to start here.
Pony Express Museum
Location: http://www.ponyexpress.org/ Right across the street from the Fire Museum
cost: 4 bucks for adults, kids under 6 are free
Did you also know that the Pony Express also started in St. Joe. This is a regular history smorgasbord of awesomeness. And once again, as always in a lot of these towns, the docents were awesome. Is everyone so damn friendly in the Midwest?? Anyway, any age of kids would dig this place. They have enough to keep Dads interested and the kids occupied. The museum is well laid out and seem to have a lot of hands on stuff for the kids. There is a good flow to the whole thing. There are some saddles that the kids can actually sit on and do a little fake ride. We found this cool because it gave us a chance to read the information on the exhibits. Also, when they were building the museum, they discovered an old hand dug well that used to water the horses for the riders. They put a plastic top on this and incorporated it as part of the museum. Then they hooked up a hand pump to it so the kids can actually pump water out of the well into a trough. The kids went nuts for this. Finally, they have a play area at the end of the museum that the kids can enjoy. It was really well done and again gave Dads enough time to read some more history. Totally worth it.
Glore Psychiatric Museum
Locatoin: 3408 Frederick Ave., St. Joseph, MO
Cost: 5 bucks for adults, free for kids under 6
This one might not be appropriate for certain children. I'll admit it, we may have been pushing our luck on this one. It can be pretty gruesome so if you take a younger child there be prepared to answer some odd questions like "what is a tranquilizer chair" and "Why does it have a bucket on it's seat". This museum is part of several on the same sight: The St. Joe Museum and The Black Archives. We only saw the psych museum because we are a very morbid crowd. Basically, it chronicles treating mental illnesses throughout history. From a depiction of burning at the stake to the giant patient treadmill. There are some original pieces there but there are also alot of reproductions of some of the equipment used. Either way, it's well done as far as that goes. But it's all very creepy, which I like but realize that some won't. The weirdest exhibit was of 1400 objects that one patient ate. They have all of these on display, and yes, they are the originals. He died when they finally took it out. If you have a teen who digs this, I would definitely go see it because alot of it is way cool but if your kid freaks out easy, skip it for something else.