They boast that Cape Girardeau, MO is where the river turns a thousand tales, but what tales are there to be told?
The Story Told in Paint
Mississippi River Tales Mural along the downtown riverfront tells the history of Cape Girardeau one-step at a time. Each panel paints a picture of what life was like at that particular point of time. The mural runs 1,100 feet long and covers nearly 18,000 square feet; our particular favorite is 1927, portraying one of the great floods along the Mighty Mississippi.
The little ones in my gang, the itinerary for a downtown riverfront walk would include stopping off to view the boats passing by, grabbing some ice cream from Port Cape’s outdoor window, and stopping at every marker to learn or relearn historic details of Cape Girardeau.
The Cape Girardeau Riverfront is one of our favorite pretty afternoon stopping points, fortunate for us we live close enough we can visit often and do, which goes to show kids can never get bored with history. I will also add in parents, my 4 year old has recently displayed that Cape Girardeau Riverfront is great place to throw in some cardio without the stair master, and that is normally followed by a longafternoonnap.
The Tearful Journey of Trail of Tears
My very first visit to Trail of Tears State Park was many many moons ago when I was just a small child and my dad took me there to teach me part of our family’s legacy. While the family history lesson has stuck with me throughout the years, we have made new and more pleasant memories on the trails at Trail of Tears State Park. That husband of mine has used Trail of Tears for “hiking” dates, and yes I enjoyed it, and we often sneak away to Trail of Tears on Sunday afternoons for short “cardio” hikes.
Museums of the River
Along the River in Cape Girardeau sits two buildings overflowing with tales of the Mighty Mississippi. The Cape Girardeau River Heritage Museum is loaded with not only “River Heritage” but also history of Cape Girardeau. While I snuck in for a tour last summer with my two sidekicks along, I discovered how cool history could be to kids. I often say that “river-life” is in my kid’s blood, I never completely knew how much of an interest they had in “river-life”. From stories, to photos, to small scale models of what boats look like they were amused and entertained beyond what I had expected.
The museum itself is a historical marker in Cape Girardeau; the building is Fire Dept No. 1. It housed the police and fire department headquarters dating back to 1908. Inside you will get a glance at what used to sit there, and see a 1950’s Hook n Ladder Fire Truck.
The Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II at the Riverfront Campus of Southeast Missouri State University is a more modern display of the Mississippi Tales. Beautifully displayed artwork, small replicas of riverboats, an abundance of history surrounds you. The Crisp Museum also has new featuring exhibits, family fun night, and many extra activities
From old to new the Cape Girardeau Riverfront is filled with a unique shopping experience. I must confess we do a majority of our shopping for grandparents, teachers, and any special gifts in Downtown Cape Girardeau. The kiddos love to take off downtown just before any major holiday, and stroll through the antique stores looking for the perfect trinkets, antique toys, or just anything that catches our eye that we believe they will love. Ryan (that husband of mine) also loves to shop downtown, he hands off $5 to each of the kiddos, and they are on a happy treasure hunt.
Let’s Eat Downtown Cape Girardeau
I recently shared with my readers Broussards Cajun Cuisine in Downtown Cape Girardeau, but Broussards is only one of many options. Grab some classic Italian at Bella Italia, Buchner Brewing Company not only makes some great beer they also have some delicious fried pickles, Port Cape of course serves up some good ice cream, but also doubles as a historic landmark with some great eats. There is something for everyone to eat, no matter your taste, your style, or you budget. Click over the Cape Girardeau, Visitor’s Centers website for their complete dinning guide.
Structures that Speak History
There is something about old buildings that just keep secrets about what life might have been like, it is almost like a treasure hunt when you enter each location. Among many of the historic sites in Downtown Cape Girardeau, you will find Fort D Historic Civil War Site, Old St Vincent Church, and the Red House Interpretive Center. Each of these places, and the museums listed above hold many clues to what life was like in Cape Girardeau a hundred plus years ago.
The must packs for a Downtown Cape Girardeau visit includes: your camera, good walking shoes (you do not want to miss all the sites), and BIG purse to put all your loot in. Unlike many big cities downtown areas, parking is free, there are several public parking areas, but there is also street parking along Main, Broadway, and Spanish Street. Coming soon to the Riverfront of Cape Girardeau is Isle of Capri Casino scheduled to open later this year.