See what the region offers with this list of the best things to do in Ozark, MO.
In this comprehensive guide, we've melded insights from locals and travelers to present you with a mosaic of experiences that define this remarkable place. While we've highlighted some must-visit spots, it's imperative to understand that these recommendations are shaped by personal opinions and experiences.
Explore the Underworld at Smallin Civil War Cave
As someone who's grown up in these parts, I've always been mesmerized by the Smallin Civil War Cave.
There's something about unearthing the secrets of time that's been preserved for centuries that feels enticing, to say the least.
I've visited the cave countless times and each visit feels like a new adventure, no matter how familiar the surroundings may be.
The well-maintained path and boardwalk make it easy for anyone to venture inside and explore the cave's charm and beauty.
The best part is that this isn't just a walk in a beautifully lit cave, it's a portal to a bygone era.
The guides have an incredible knowledge of the cave's history that they share during the tours.
They keep it fun while giving you a glimpse into the past.
With every step inside, you're walking on the same grounds as people did during the Civil War which makes it a surreal experience.
I was particularly amazed by the artifacts on display, each with its own story adding to the cave's rich history.
It's not just the cave that's worth the visit, but the warm and friendly owners who make the experience even better.
And if you're in for a good laugh, don't miss 'The Disappointment Cave' on the way.
Despite its name, it's anything but a disappointment.
The Smallin Civil War Cave is a treasure trove of history and nature, right in our backyard.
Every time I visit Smallin Civil War Cave, I make sure to get a picture as a memento of the experience.
Each photograph tells the story of a unique adventure, a timeless journey, and a day well spent.
Bring Your Little Ones to Where the Wild Things Play
Oh, the joy this place has brought to my little ones!
Where the Wild Things Play is an absolute haven for them.
The numerous times I have taken them there, they always find a new corner or toy to explore, making it feel like a fresh adventure every single time.
The place is laid out delightfully, with separate sections for toddlers and older kids, ensuring safety and fun for all ages.
My youngest one, who is three, finds an astonishing amount of joy playing on the boat, while my older kids love the market area with its incredibly realistic play food.
The open concept of this indoor play area allows me to keep an eye on them while catching up with my friends.
In fact, it feels like the ultimate play date every time we visit.
Not to forget, there is a coffee shop right next door, which is a lifesaver for us parents.
A hot cup of coffee while the kids are happily engaged is just the break we need.
The staff at Where the Wild Things Play are always friendly and accommodating, ensuring the place is super clean and safe for everyone.
I've even opted for their multi-visit bundles which offer great value for money, considering the frequency of our visits.
This place has made birthdays special too, as I've purchased several gift cards and the response has always been overwhelmingly positive.
Get Your Coffee Fix at Ozark Mountain Coffee Co | Roastery
There's no question that my morning starts with a cup of freshly brewed from Ozark Mountain Coffee Co | Roastery.
The aroma of their specialty coffee beans roasting is the best alarm clock I could ever ask for.
Their vast selection of over 100 flavors keeps me coming back for more, always eager to try something new.
The owners, Preston and Madi Blake are fantastic people, and their passion for coffee is evident in the quality of their brew.
Their personal touch is one of the reasons why this place has a special spot in my heart.
They are always keen to share their knowledge about the roasting process, which makes every visit a learning experience.
Besides their excellent coffee, their collection of amazing loose leaf teas is another reason to love Ozark Mountain.
And if you're ever in need of a personalized gift, they've got you covered.
You can customize the coffee label, making it a unique and thoughtful present.
Having been a customer for almost four years, I can confidently say this: If you're looking for a place to enjoy an excellent cup of coffee, Ozark Mountain Coffee Co is the place.
It's a local gem that I'm proud to support.
And the best part?
If you're a regular, they offer a discount on purchases when you buy their custom canister to keep your coffee super fresh.
It's an offer that's hard to resist.
Stroll through Bluff Spring Trailhead
You may not believe it but Bluff Spring Trailhead is my sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of Ozark, Missouri.
The level ground of the trail makes it an ideal spot for a leisurely stride or an invigorating run.
If you're up for a quick jaunt, try the outermost loop which measures nearly 0.7 miles.
The trail is ensconced in woods, providing a soothing green backdrop and the soft whispers of nature.
One of the best features about this trail is its proximity to the river.
There's nothing quite like the cool breeze that dances off the water, particularly during the sweltering summer months.
On lucky days, I even catch sight of a deer or two prancing around in the wilderness.
To get to Bluff Spring Trailhead, head right of the building at Ozark Community Center, descend a few stairs and follow the path through the trees.
However, I must admit, the occasional stench of sewage can be off-putting.
And if you're planning a family outing, do be careful of the occasional copperhead snake near the riverside stretch.
My Great Danes, Max and Daisy, absolutely love this trail but I'm always watchful to ensure their safety.
Despite these minor inconveniences, the Bluff Spring Trailhead has remained my go-to getaway for years.
So, if you're ever in the neighborhood and could use a breath of fresh air, I'd highly recommend a visit.
Just remember to keep an eye out for the local wildlife!
Catch Performances at Stained Glass Theater
Let me bring you into the world of Stained Glass Theater, an experience that's truly something special.
It's a charming little place, tucked away like a hidden gem that's waiting to be discovered.
You'll be enchanted from the moment you step through the doors.
The auditorium is intimate, making every word of the play easily audible.
But the magic doesn't stop once the curtain falls.
There's a real sense of community and connection when the cast comes out to the lobby after the show, ready to chat and shake hands with the audience.
For me, the Stained Glass Theater is the perfect place for an outing with friends or family.
I've attended several plays there over the years, and each time I'm struck by the respect and kindness of the cast.
There's something truly heartwarming about the way this place is run.
Check out their website here to see what's playing next.
Aesthetically, the theater always stands out.
It's always spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated according to the season.
I remember attending the theatre around Christmas time, and the delightful festive atmosphere that filled the place.
But this year, I took a chance and visited during fall.
The theatre was adorned with fall decorations, complete with a beautifully embellished tree and tables, making it a feast for the eyes.
Comfort is another aspect where Stained Glass Theater shines.
The temperature inside the theatre was just right during my last visit, although, I noticed that it felt warmer than usual.
But it was nothing a comfy blanket couldn't fix.
And despite the theater attracting an older crowd, I never felt out of place.
Since my 40s, I've been an avid attendee, and now in my 50s, I still enjoy it as much.
The young actors and actresses bring an energy and zest to the performances that's simply infectious.
Booking tickets at this theatre is a breeze.
The cleanliness extends to their parking lot which is always well-maintained, and finding a parking spot has never been a problem.
And the cherry on top?
My partner and I are Season Ticket Holders.
It's been an absolute joy to watch all their plays, and the friendly, helpful staff makes each visit a pleasure.
Savor Delights at Urban Grounds
During a leisurely Sunday before heading off to church, I found myself at Urban Grounds, a delightful gem tucked away in our neighborhood.
My taste buds were taken on a culinary ride with the charcuterie cup, a delightful mix of juicy strawberries and blueberries, paired with cheese and meat that complemented each other perfectly.
The crunch from the cucumber spears was just right, and the saltiness of the pretzel sticks added that extra touch.
Let me tell you, their Lavender Vanilla Iced Latte is something else.
The sweet aroma of vanilla mixed with a hint of lavender, over a bed of perfectly brewed coffee, was simply the best way to kick start my day.
I returned to this fun local shop to try their seasonal toasties - topped toast that is absolutely delicious.
And oh, don't even get me started on their coffee - robust, aromatic, and just fantastic.
If you're in for a bit of fun, they even have a plant shopping and potting activity guided by their talented Caffeine & Chlorophyll Consultant, Ericka.
A brilliant way to spend a Sunday, I must say.
The atmosphere at Urban Grounds has a beautiful warmth to it.
You almost forget you're in a coffee shop and feel like you've stepped into a cozy greenhouse.
Surrounded by lush, healthy plants, you can enjoy their creative menu of tasty alternatives like the Avocado Toast and the Mud/WTR.
The staff is friendly, making the first visit and every subsequent one a treat.
This spring, they've rolled out a new line of drinks and toast, which I can't wait to try.
Sample Cheeses at Heather Hill Farms
I remember the first time I stepped into Heather Hill Farms.
It was like walking into an emporium of exotic delights.
My eyes were instantly drawn to the vast array of pickled goods, cheeses, charcuterie, and so much more.
It was like a one-stop-shop for every delicacy under the sun, and I was hooked immediately.
I couldn't resist the rows upon rows of pickled goods, with each jar promising a delightful tangy bite to stimulate my taste buds.
And let's not even get started on their incredible selection of cheeses.
Each type of cheese had a unique flavor profile that was unlike anything else I'd ever tasted.
The creamy brie, the sharp cheddar, the smoky gouda – you name it, they had it.
But what truly sets Heather Hill Farms apart is their wine room.
This treasure trove of fine wines and moonshine caters to all tastes.
Yes, you read that right – moonshine.
They have a stunning selection, including a pickled moonshine that is simply out of this world.
Trust me, you haven't truly lived until you've tried this particular concoction.
What's more, you can also partake in wine tastings and enjoy a glass of wine at just $5!
I've spent countless evenings sipping on a glass of their finest, surrounded by the sumptuous aromas of the shop.
It's truly an experience that can't be replicated.
Heather Hill Farms is more than just a shop.
It's a gastronomical journey, a place where you can indulge your culinary curiosity and find new favorites.
And the cherry on top? The staff.
Their friendly faces and excellent customer service make every visit a pleasure.
Hop on the Tram at Fantastic Caverns
I might be spoiled by having Fantastic Caverns just a stone's throw away from where I live, but I can't help but be mesmerized every time I visit.
It's a whimsical handiwork of nature, an underground cavern that I've been visiting since my childhood days.
The cavern is not just a sight to behold, but also a cool retreat, especially during the hot summer months.
Tucked away underground, the cave holds a steady temperature that can send a refreshing chill down your spine.
On more than one occasion, I found myself wrapping a sweatshirt around me or drawing a small travel blanket closer.
The tram ride tours are a highlight of each visit.
There's something about hopping on a jeep and being driven around that brings out the child in me.
For folks who have mobility issues or little ones that can be a handful, the jeep tours can be a godsend.
Every time I've taken the tour, the guides have been nothing short of friendly and informative.
They share interesting tidbits about the different formations in the cave, speaking loud and clear to ensure everyone can hear them.
And you know what? Even after countless visits to Fantastic Caverns, I always learn something new.
I remember an incident when a family with an autistic child joined the tour.
The staff, noticing the child's discomfort while waiting, went above and beyond to accommodate them.
The driver allowed the family to board early and offered them seats near her.
This sensitivity and kindness shown towards the child made a lasting impression on me.
Over the years, I've also brought my own kids along on several field trips.
Each time, they've returned home with wide-eyed stories about the underground marvels they've seen.
And don't get me started about the gift shop.
It's a treasure trove of quirky and reasonably priced merchandise.
I've lost count of the number of times I've given in to the temptation and walked out with a little souvenir.
Indulge in the Cuisines of The Workshop at Finley Farms
Stepping into The Workshop at Finley Farms is like stepping into a little slice of countryside heaven.
The moment you walk in, you're greeted with a warm, rustic ambience, a plethora of tables and chairs for socializing or working, and the welcoming glow of a fireplace.
It's the kind of place where a simple coffee order turns into a delightful experience.
Their vanilla latte? Magnificent.
It's a creamy, aromatic blend that hits all the right notes on your taste palette.
The coffee is, simply put, exquisite, and it's easily one of the best in the city.
It's a hidden gem, tucked away just 25 minutes from Springfield that's worth every minute of the drive.
But it's not just about coffee here. It's also about food.
I once tried their avocado bacon toast and let me tell you, it was a match made in heaven.
Cured, crispy bacon atop a bed of sharp, creamy avocado, all on a perfectly toasted slice of bread.
It's the kind of combination that makes your taste buds sing.
And yet, there's more to The Workshop at Finley Farms than just good food and coffee.
It's the feeling of being one with nature as you stroll through their outdoor seating area, surrounded by their onsite garden and farm.
It's the childish delight of finding a swing set amidst all the greenery.
It's the overall vibe of the place that makes you feel right at home, urging you to linger a little longer.
Treat Your Palate to Southern-American Fares at Lambert's Café
Living nearly in the heart of Missouri, you get to know the best places to eat around, and Lambert's Café is undoubtedly one of them.
Known for its classic Southern-American fare, there's never a dull moment here.
From enormous portions to their unique "throwed rolls" tradition, it's a place that never fails to put a smile on your face.
The restaurant is always busy, packed to the rafters with locals and tourists alike.
Yet, somehow, you don't feel cramped.
The staff are always cheerful and they move around like clockwork, ensuring that your dishes arrive promptly, despite the crowd.
I love the roast beef here, and I must say, the mashed potatoes and coleslaw are simply out of this world.
Then comes the unique part – the "throwed rolls".
If you're good at catching, you're in for a treat.
It's a spectacle you don't want to miss, with folks laughing and diving in attempts to catch the rolls being thrown by the servers.
It's quite hilarious and it adds a distinct charm to the place.
The rolls themselves are soft, warm, and perfectly baked.
I must admit, no matter how often I visit, I can't resist trying to catch a roll each time.
They also have servers walking around with additional sides, just in case you were thinking of leaving any space in your stomach.
From fried okra to black-eyed peas, they've got it all.
The portions are so huge that you'll leave with a full stomach, even if you entered famished.
And here's another tip: try the chicken wings, they're the best in the city.
If you're in Missouri and looking for a unique, fun, and delicious dining experience, Lambert's Café should be on your list.
Just remember to bring cash as they don't accept credit cards.
Have a Picnic at Finley River Park
Whenever I need a break from the hustle and bustle of life, I find myself heading to Finley River Park.
Nestled in the heart of Ozark, this park is a treasure trove of outdoor delights, providing a serene setting for all kinds of activities.
The park is spacious, with extensive lawns that are perfect for a game of frisbee or football.
I often see local teams practicing at the well-maintained sports facilities, which include accommodations for softball and soccer.
For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, Finley River Park offers plenty of picnic tables and pavilions, ideal for lazy afternoon picnics.
One of the park's most captivating features is the Finley River.
I usually bring my kayak and navigate through the calming waters.
There's a convenient boat ramp for easy access, and the river is teeming with tiny fish that make for a fun catch and release fishing experience.
Aside from the sporting activities, there's a charm in just taking a leisurely stroll along the park's sidewalks.
I often find myself lost in the beauty of the surroundings, admiring the river, the majestic trees, and the charming mill.
Delight Yourself to the Rustic Charm of The Ozark Mill Restaurant at Finley Farms
I'll never forget stepping into The Ozark Mill Restaurant at Finley Farms for the first time.
It was like taking a step back in time, with the restaurant set in an old sawmill from the 1800s, the wooden floors creaking underfoot and the rustic charm of the old mill workings setting the tone for a truly unique dining experience.
The location is simply breathtaking.
Nestled by the river, the restaurant offers an option to dine al fresco.
I remember lounging outside on a warm spring day, the calming river flowing by as I enjoyed my meal.
But I do have to caution those who wish to dine outdoors during the summer months - the humidity can be a bit overwhelming, and the flies do love to join in on the fun!
The food, of course, is the star of the show.
The appetizers are a delight, particularly their spinach dip.
And yes, I've tried their cornbread, too, which was a tad too salty for my liking, but the ribeye steak more than made up for it.
It might be worth noting that they tend to cook it a bit more than requested, so do keep that in mind while ordering.
But what truly completes the dining experience at The Ozark Mill Restaurant at Finley Farms is the staff.
Knowledgeable, friendly, attentive - they go out of their way to make your meal more enjoyable.
They are more than happy to offer suggestions, and believe me, their recommendations are spot on!
On one occasion, we were a party of four and decided to share among us the pizza, burger, power bowl, spinach dip, cobbler, and the green tomato cake.
The food was delicious, and the view of the river alongside our meal was an added bonus.
If there's one thing you must try here, it's the green tomato cake - an absolute delight!
Peruse a Treasure Trove at Camp Flea Antique Mall & Vintage Market
There's something inexplicably fascinating about stepping into a place where the past and present intertwine, and that's exactly what you get with Camp Flea Antique Mall + Vintage Market.
The scent of time passed and the thrill of discovery collide as you step through the doors into a veritable labyrinth of curiosities.
Every aisle you turn down is akin to flipping through the pages of a history book but with added color and whimsy.
Well-organized rows of vintage clothing, antique furniture, books, toys, movies, and so much more await your perusal.
The vintage clothing section is particularly noteworthy for anyone with a flair for fashion from bygone eras.
And it's not just about the items themselves; it's the thrill of the hunt.
This is a place where every visit can feel like a new adventure, unearthing treasures hidden amongst the myriad of goods.
The place is so expansive that even after countless visits, I feel like I've only scratched the surface.
The staff are always friendly and helpful, ensuring any precious finds are wrapped carefully for the journey home.
And despite some comments about pricing, I've always found the prices to be fair.
In fact, more often than not, I feel like I've snagged a true bargain, especially with the gorgeous pieces of Corning Ware I've picked up over the years.
Camp Flea Antique Mall + Vintage Market is not just a store, it's an experience, a step back in time, a treasure hunt, and a testament to the beauty of items loved and used by generations before us.
Cool Down at The Ozark Community Center
Diving into a refreshing aquatic adventure at The Ozark Community Center, fondly known as The OC, has become a cherished ritual in my life.
It's not just a facility, it's a haven for those seeking an active lifestyle and quality family time.
The OC has two well-kept basketball courts where I often engage in friendly matches with fellow residents.
It's always a joy seeing my neighborhood friends and joining them in a game or two.
One of the highlights of The OC is the pool area.
As a parent, the safety of my children is paramount.
The segregated pool area allows my kids to swim in the shallower end while I bask in the more profound sections.
The slide adds an irresistible splash of fun and adventure, and the lazy river - oh, it's the perfect place to unwind after a tiring day.
My children have been attending the swim lessons there and have shown immense growth in their confidence.
The swim instructors are dedicated and have helped them improve their swimming skills.
Then there's the gym, equipped with new and well-maintained workout machines.
I've spent countless hours on the treadmills, pushing myself to achieve my fitness goals.
The motivating environment and a wide variety of classes for self-improvement make it an ideal place to work out.
One cannot miss the rock wall and the bicycle room, providing an adrenaline rush for all adventure lovers.
And for those of us who prefer a calming end to our day, the beautiful walkway behind the facility gives a peaceful, serene walk closer to nature.
The Ozark Community Center staff, from my experience, is friendly and efficient.
They always greet with a warm smile and are proactive in addressing any issues.
The center doubles as a church on Sundays, serving as our sanctum for spiritual rejuvenation.
Have a Movie Night at B&B Theatres: Ozark/Nixa 12
There's something simply enchanting about a night out at the movies, isn’t there?
A chance to escape to different worlds, to live different lives.
And B&B Theatres: Ozark/Nixa 12 offers just that.
Nestled in our city, it is a hub of entertainment for us locals.
Walking into this contemporary multiscreen theater, you are greeted with a relaxing atmosphere.
It's just perfect for catching the latest mainstream films.
I remember a time I took my little niece to her first movie here, a little bundle of curiosity and excitement.
She was absolutely enthralled by the comfortable seating and the wide array of yummy snacks.
It was a weekday and the theater wasn't teeming with moviegoers, giving us a personal and intimate experience.
The movie we watched was a delightful animated flick, the kind that leaves both adults and kids grinning from ear to ear.
B&B Theatres: Ozark/Nixa 12 is also pretty conscientious about hygiene, with clean and well-maintained restrooms.
Grab Fresh and Local Produce at Ozark Farmers Market
Every Thursday, without fail, I make my way to the Ozark Farmers Market at Finley Farms.
Nestled right by the Finley River and the old Mill, it's the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the local community.
Right off the bat, you’re met with rows of vendors displaying a vibrant array of fresh vegetables and succulent cuts of meat.
The sight of farm-fresh produce is a delight to behold.
Early in the season, you're in for a treat with their selection of peaches and cantaloupe.
Tomatoes are also a standout, just to name a few of their offerings.
But it's not just about fruits and vegetables.
There's a charm to Ozark Farmers Market that goes beyond fresh produce.
It's about the fried pie stand that has become a regular pit stop, or the awesome baked goods from a lady all the way from Galena.
I absolutely love grabbing supper here; the pasties from London Calling and the tamales are my personal favorites.
I usually pick up extras to stash away in my freezer for future meals.
And let's not forget about the local crafts.
From handcrafted jewelry to art prints, there's always something unique to discover.
Grab a Pint at Back Home Brewing Company
If you're looking for a place that's got a real personality, you've got to check out Back Home Brewing Company.
Now, I won't lie to you.
It has a real dive bar feel, complete with the smoky atmosphere and the local patrons who've made it their second home.
It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're into dive bars, it’s sure to be a hit.
One thing that really sets it apart is how friendly and helpful the staff is.
They're always quick with a smile and ready to recommend the best brews on the tap.
Speaking of brews, they've got a decent selection.
I'm not going to say never had a miss - there was this one home brew that didn't exactly hit the spot for me, but there are so many others to choose from, you're bound to find something you like.
And who can forget about the food?
It's not gourmet, mind you, but it hits the spot when you're having a few drinks with friends.
The food arrives quickly, and it's always hot and tasty.
The typical bar grub is what you can expect, but trust me, when you're there, it's exactly what you want.
Of course, there's more to Back Home Brewing Company than just drinks and food.
They've got pool tables and a great atmosphere that welcomes good times.
It's the kind of place where you can chill and enjoy a few drinks without being bothered by toddlers and strollers.
I'm telling you, it's a great place to unwind.
I always find myself looking forward to my next visit.
Hit the Target at Sound of Freedom
I've been to many shooting ranges in my time, but none quite compare to the professional and clean environment that Sound of Freedom offers.
From the moment you walk in, the staff greet you with friendly smiles, ready to assist and answer any questions you might have.
The shooting lanes at Sound of Freedom are top-notch.
They've engineered them in such a way that target retrieval and positioning are a breeze, making it an excellent place for both beginners and seasoned shooters to practice.
It's not just the shooting lanes though, the customer service is exceptional too.
Staff members are not just friendly, but very knowledgeable - always ready to offer advice and guidance.
What's more, they stock a decent inventory of shooting gear, and at competitive prices too.
Enjoy Mexican Cuisine at Iguana Roja Restaurante
Every city has its local eats, and for us here in Ozark, Iguana Roja Restaurante is a popular pick.
It's one of those places you can always rely on for a fun dining atmosphere and a satisfying Mexican meal.
But I must say, my recent experience was a little different from the norm.
Let's take a stroll over to Iguana Roja Restaurante and I'll fill you in.
It was Taco Tuesday, a weekly tradition I religiously look forward to.
Right off the bat, I noticed the service on that particular day was a tad bit slower than usual.
Perhaps the staff was just having an off day or maybe it was the lack of hustle and bustle to keep them on their toes - the restaurant wasn't as packed as it usually is.
Nonetheless, despite a slower pace that evening, the food was still commendable.
I opted for the steak tacos, a personal favorite.
While the flavors were spot on as always, the steak was slightly overcooked.
But hey, we all have our off days, right?
On a brighter note, the black beans we ordered as a side were an absolute delight - a must-try.
On a subsequent occasion - my birthday to be exact, which happened to fall on the 4th of July - I visited the restaurant again, this time with family.
We treated ourselves with the table side guacamole, expecting it to be freshly made right before us.
However, it arrived pre-made in a bowl after our meals were served.
A bit of a letdown, but I'll let it slide considering it was a busy holiday and they seemed to be short-staffed.
Now, let's talk drinks.
If there's one thing you cannot miss at Iguana Roja, it's their Watermelon Margarita.
A refreshing blend of sweet and tangy - it's like summer in a glass!
The charm of Ozark, Missouri, lies not only in its natural beauty but also in its historical sites, local eateries, bustling markets, and engaging entertainment spots.
I truly believe, there's no place quite like this city.
It's a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be unearthed, a city that’s full of surprises, and a place I'm proud to call home.