independencemo08In the historical town of Independence, MO located just outside of Kansas City, you can make history come to life and enjoy history as a family. Independence has a unique Mormon history, many of the frontier settlers passed through here, and Independence was home to our 33rd President Harry S Truman “The Buck Stops Here.”

independence117 2

Discovering the Life of our 33rd President

The Harry S Truman Library and Museum brings history down to a child’s level. A majority of the Truman Library and Museum is aimed toward the older visitors and bringing the history and events surrounding the Truman Presidency. However, tucked away on the lower level of the museum is the “Harry S. Truman: His Live and Times” exhibit. This area is perfectly designed to enlighten the brains of those who are not old enough to remember Truman’s famous line “Buck Stops Here”. There is four interactive stations giving children the opportunity to learn what it was like when Truman was a Postmaster. Children can make their own campaign buttons, unlock the secrets to Harry Truman’s jobs, and dress up and pretend to be President Truman.

The Truman Library and Museum is open Monday thru Saturday 9 am to 5 pm and noon to 5pm on Sunday.   Visit the museum’s website for admission prices, holiday hours, and special information.


independencemo2 400x267Meet the Frontier Trails

The National Frontier Trails Museum gives us a detailed history of what life really was like when our
ancestors crossed the river and headed west. Inside the museum, you will find an authentic 19th century covered wagon, artifacts from the trails, and journals of those who were on the trail including writings of young children on the trail. Children also have the chance to learn what was needed to take the journey across the country years ago. Much different from packing our suitcase and grabbing our toothbrush, this interactive display with a small-scale wagon and what you might pack for a 5-month journey. Visit the museum’s website for admission, hours, and special events.

independencemo054 400x383Make Your Own Puppet Friend

One of the “hidden” secrets of Missouri is the Puppetry Arts Institute in Independence, MO. On display, marionettes designed by local puppeteers Robert Smith, Hazelle Rollins, and many other puppets from around the world. While the puppets are charming, the real secret is you get your chance to make your own puppet and then have your own puppet show. Truly, a child’s imagination can explode as they carefully pick out the color of their puppet’s eyes, hair, and body.

The Puppetry Arts Institute also host monthly puppet shows and workshops. Visit their website for hours of operation, special events, and maybe take a moment to learn the history of Hazzelle Rollins’ love for puppets.        

independence083Discover the History of the Mormon Settlers in Independence

In 1831, the leader of the Mormon Church designated Independence, MO the site of “Zion”. However, by 1833, the Mormons as they had been nicknamed, were run out of Independence and eventually banished from the state of Missouri. The Mormon Visitors Center gives you glimpse of what life was like for the Mormon settlers and their role in Independence’s history.

Inside the Visitors Center, you will find an interactive play area where a child can pretend to be heading west, or see what the cabins may have been like.

The Visitors Center is open daily and is free to visit, check their website for more details and directions.


Have Sweet Treat

A family cannot leave town without seeing where Harry Truman held his first job and need I say it was at Clinton’s Soda Fountain. This historical landmark has been serving up sweet treats since 1988, but their historical building dates back to the 1800’s. Yes, the building is worth the visit, but the ice cream, phosphate sodas, and all the sweet treats make it extra worth the effort. Visit Clinton’s Soda Fountain’s website for glimpse of their menu and hours of operation.  

Tour the Town by Wagon

independencemo014 400x267Allow Ralph Goldsmith and his Missouri Mules to take you on a Historical Tour of Independence, MO.

Ralph can spats out all the details, history, and information about Independence, MO, but what makes this tour worth it is his enthusiasm. Ralph not only tell the story, but encourages his passengers to get involved, changes his voice, and tell you the side of history you may not read in the books.

Ralph’s Missouri Mule drawn wagon offers several different tours and can often is found greeting his guest on the Independence Square. Visit Pioneer Trails Adventures website for tour options, pricing, and hours of operation…be sure, when you take your tour to ask Ralph about the story of Wild Bill Hickok.

For more Family and Kid friendly attractions or other historical attractions of Independence Missouri visit their tourism website.

Becky is the Missouri Traveling Mom, her blog site is Adventures Among Us. She not only shares a unique passion for traveling with her family, but traveling in Missouri. For more of Becky’s adventures find her on facebook Adventures Among Us, or follow her on Twitter @BeckyAdventure.

****Disclosure: Our visit to Independence, MO was sponsored by their tourism office, however all thoughts, opinions, and photos are my own.