Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Spring Magic: Wildflowers in Missouri State Parks

 By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

 A little magic is happening in Missouri’s woods. The show will go on through much of April.

After a seemingly endless winter, the sun shining through the leafless trees is warming the forest floor, causing spring wildflowers to awaken. Like little jewels, they poke through the leaf litter and dot the drab landscape with bouquets of white, yellow, pink and blue.

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Mid-April is the beginning of Missouri's peak wildflower season. Come and see what Missouri's state parks have to offer.

Eagles soar above state parks

Wag the tail of the dog days

By Tom Uhlenbrock

What’s a matter, Bunky? Heat and humidity got you down? Feel like a flower wilting in the sun? Already dreaming of a white Christmas?

Missouri offers several sure-fire ways to beat the dog days of summer. Here are a few tried-and-true favorites.

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Missouri offers several sure-fire ways to beat the dog days of summer. Here are a few tried-and-true favorites.

Bats make themselves at home in Missouri’s state parks

LEASBURG, Mo. – You don’t have to go far to find bats at Onondaga Cave State Park.

Just inside the interior glass doors that lead into one of America’s most spectacular caves, a dozen or so tiny balls of dark fur clustered together on the ceiling a few feet above visitors’ heads.

“Those are little brown bats and eastern pipstrelles, which are also called tri-colored,” said Tara Flynn, a naturalist with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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You don’t have to go far to find bats at Onondaga Cave State Park.

The ruins of a dream: Ha Ha Tonka’s castle

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Fire played a role in creating another of Ha Ha Tonka’s attractions, the ruins of Robert Snyder’s mansion. In the early 1900s, the wealthy Kansas City businessman purchased 5,000 acres that included a spring-fed lake.

He selected a site on the rocky summit above for his retirement home, saying, “I will fish and loaf and explore the caves of these hills, with no fear of intrusion.”

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Fire played a role in creating another of Ha Ha Tonka’s attractions, the ruins of Robert Snyder’s mansion.

Laughing waters: A hike to where Ha Ha Tonka got its name

In a karst landscape, mildly acidic groundwater moves through soluble bedrock, dissolving the limestone and dolomite into a subterranean maze of caves and fissures. Much of the Missouri Ozarks is karst, earning its nickname as the Cave State.

The first stop on a tour of the park led by Webb, the naturalist, was a natural bridge, where the trail led under a massive arch in the woods. He explained that the formation was caused by the collapse of a cave roof.

“Basically, that’s a sinkhole here and that’s a portion of the cave that did not collapse,” he said.

Front page blurb

In a karst landscape, mildly acidic groundwater moves through soluble bedrock, dissolving the limestone and dolomite into a subterranean maze of caves
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