5 Fun Things You Must do with Your Kids the in Springfield Missouri Area


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Springfield Missouri offers a lot of really entertaining and educational things to do. Springfield has long been a destination on my list of places to take my kids and we finally did it.

We  didn’t manage to see everything, and I’m ready to head back there again soon. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know we were there as I posted during our trip. If you don’t follow me on Instagram, what are you waiting for?! It’s my favorite way to connect with my readers.

I’m excited to share the fun things we did on the trip: visit Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, eat at Lambert’s Cafe, head over to the Bass Pro Shop, and then drive out of Springfield to Mansfield, to tour the Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm and Baker Creek Seed Store & Village, as well.

5 Fun Things to do with Kids in the Springfield Missouri Area

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri from SimplifyLiveLove.com Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

1. Wilson’s Battlefield National Battlefield National Park

We had a great time at the Wilson’s National Battlefield. Not only did we learn more about the Civil War than I have ever learned before, but the kids really enjoyed hiking around the area and seeing authentic cannons that were actually used there during the Civil War.

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri - Wilson's National Battlefield, hiking in the creek from SimplifyLiveLove.com

The Visitor’s Center was our first stop. Here, the kids picked up a Junior Ranger Program Booklet and we all watched a movie about the role Wilson’s Battlefield played during the Civil War. The video was very interesting, but it was a tad scary for my five year old.

At once point during the video she whispered to me, “Mom. But we just came from Springfield and it was all okay there!” I had to do some pretty quick explaining that all of the events the video mentioned happened a long, long time before we we there, and no war was currently be waged there.

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri Wilson National Battlefield from SimplifyLiveLove.com

We learned such interesting facts about Missouri’s role in the Civil War. While Missouri was officially part of the Union, it was hotly contested as many of its citizens sided with the South.

Did you know that the first Union General killed during the Civil War died here? Or, did you know that Missouri had the third most number of battles of any state during this time?

I had no idea, and I lived in Missouri for eight years, and graduated from both a Missouri high school and college! We really enjoyed our day at Wilson’s Battlefield.

We spent a good part of the day there between the Visitor’s Center, hiking, and touring houses on the driving path. I highly recommend a visit to this amazing part of American Civil War history.

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri- Eat at Lambers Cafe from SimplifyLiveLove.com

2. Eat at Lambert’s Cafe – The ONLY home of throwed rolls…

If you’ve never been to Lambert’s Cafe – I highly recommend stopping in. It’s a family-style restaurant, famous for its delicious comfort food and also for the rolls they throw. 

It was the perfect place for our seven rowdy children as it’s loud and food always ends up on the floor. We didn’t have to worry about them a bit.

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri-Lambers Cafe, catching rolls from SimplifyLiveLove.com

Yes, please to the throwed rolls! Restaurant employees push a huge cart of delicious, home-baked rolls which they serve by throwing them at you. Better catch them, or they end up on the floor ( if they end up on the floor, you don’t have to eat them of course :D).  

If you go to Lambert’s, and I highly recommend that you do, go hungry. They serve HUGE portions, and in addition to throwing you all the rolls you want, they also serve pots of fried okra, tomatoes & onions, fried potatoes, and more – just in case the portions they serve aren’t big enough. Which they totally are.

We loved the family friendly nature of this restaurant as well as their food. A must stop on your way through Springfield.

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri - Bass Pro Shops by SimplifyLiveLove.com

3. Walk around the Bass Pro Shop

It might seem a little strange to include a store on my list of fun activities to do with kids, but we really love the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Missouri. It’s the biggest Bass Pro (except I do believe they are in the process of opening or just opened a bigger one somewhere in Texas), and the kids love walking all over this store. There are live fish to see, tons of taxidermy to take in, and of course the Marine Center (named after us of course…).

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri-pet the fish at Bass Pro Shops by SimplifyLiveLove.com

Bass Pro Shops also recently started a kid’s club which all of my kids were thrilled to sign up for. They gave them a nice box and a bunch of information cards about animals.

The cards kept my kids occupied during our driving time and I really appreciated that! They’ll have a new set of cards available each month, so if we happen to get back to another Bass Pro Shop, we can collect the next set of cards.

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri-visit Laura Ingalls Wilder home, Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield Missouri by SimplifyLiveLove.com

4. Tour Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm

Rocky Ridge Farm is not really in Springfield. It’s actually in Mansfield, about 50 minutes east of Springfield. It really was the reason for the trip. Mansfield is a pretty small town, and a trip there is best staged from Springfield, in my opinion.

5 things to do with kids in Springfield , Missouri-Rocky Ridge Farm where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House on the Prairie books by SimplifyLiveLove.com

Rocky Ridge Farm was the adult home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She and Almonzo built moved there with their young daughter Rose after all of their terrible setbacks during their early marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I have read the Little House on the Prairie series.

If you don’t own the boxed set of Little House books, I highly recommend buying it. In my opinion, these nine books belong in every American’s library. I’m a huge fan and because I remember visiting Rocky Ridge Farm when I was young, I was so excited to take my kids.

When Laura died in 1958, her daughter Rose essentially closed the doors to the house and left everything the way it was – down to the mail on the table and shawl hanging on the chair. The house is so, so interesting to see and very fun to tour due to all of the personal effects that are still there.

5 Fun Things to do with Kids in Springfield, Missouri. Stone Cottage built by Rose Wilder Lane for her parents Laura and Almonza Wilder. by SimplifyLiveLove

If you go to Rocky Ridge Farm – make sure you also see the stone cottage Rose built for Laura and Almonzo. It was the first house in the area to have electricity as Rose paid the city of Mansfield $3,000 to put up electrical poles. It’s a gorgeous home and also the spot where Laura first wrote her books. Laura and Almonzo lived there for eight years before moving back to their beloved wooden house.

They sold this farm and it was only reacquired by the historical society in the 1990s. Check the schedule to make sure you can see both homes when you visit as you won’t want to miss either one.

While we were on this tour, I learned about Laura’s new annotated autobiography Pioneer Girl and am very excited to start reading it! I never knew the controversy surrounding her Little House series and can’t wait to learn how her reality differed from what she portrayed in those books.

5 things to do with kids in the Springfield Mo area. Baker Creek Seed Planting Festival. from SimplifyLiveLove-003

5. Visit Baker Creek Seed Store & Village

Visiting Baker Creek, also located outside Mansfield, is another place that has long been on my to-do list because I love the seeds I order from them every year for my gardens.

This year we were lucky enough to head out to their Spring Planting Festival and we were not disappointed. This great festival was very family friendly and had a lot of activities for the kids to do.

The prizes for the kids’ games included only organic candy which made me very happy.

5 things to do with kids in the Springfield Mo area. Baker Creek Seed Planting Festival. from SimplifyLiveLove

Baker Creek Pioneer Village was a lot of fun with buildings to visit, delicious food to buy, and awesome music entertainment. The kids enjoyed climbing on the covered wagon and looking at the animals.

5 things to do with kids in the Springfield Mo area. Baker Creek Seed Planting Festival. from SimplifyLiveLove-001

Face painting, hunting for real money in a huge sand pit, shooting ping pong balls with squirt bottles – all these old fashioned activities really kept the kids entertained.

The only downside to our day at Baker Creek was I really wanted to tour the gardens and learn more about their seed selling business. There were so many people there – many more people than I ever imagined would be. So I guess now, I just get to go back!

Of course there are many more things to do in the Springfield area. We couldn’t get everything in during our three days there, but we sure did enjoy the activities we chose. I’d love to hear if you have been to any of these places and about other places you’d recommend in the area! Please comment with your thoughts.

Heading to Springfield Missouri? If so, you'll want to check out all of these fun things to do in and around the area including Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, Laura Ingalls Wilder's Rocky Ridge Farm and more!

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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    1. Thanks, Marjie! There’s much more to do in the Springfield area than just these things, though. I want to go back to go caving and of course, Branson is fun too and not far off. 🙂

  1. This looks like it was an incredible familiy trip. I love the history that you took in and, of course, I want those rolls!!

  2. This sounds like a wonderful trip with lots of great activities for the kids! I love the Little House books, how lovely to see where some it happened!

  3. Thank you Michelle for a really fun vitual tour of some of the highlights of Springfield Missouri. My husband and I have every intention of visiting there someday. no we know some fun things to do!

  4. I had no idea Missouri played such a huge roll in the Civil War, although I’m sure the rivers provided supply routes. Being a Marylander, I’m more familiar with the goings on in Md and Pennsylvania. For me the highlight of the trip would also be Rocky Ridge Farm. I’ve read those books over and over as well as a collection of essays by Laura and a novel written by Rose. Thanks for the link to Pioneer Girl.

    1. Rocky Ridge Farm is really worth the trip, Lydia! I hope you can make it out some day. 🙂

  5. My husband’s family is in Missouri and tells me about how fun it was to visit as a kid. I can really see why now! Rich in history and quite beautiful. I would love to check out the cottage at Rocky Ridge Farm!

    1. It’s a lovely area, Sandra. And that cottage is really something. Laura and Almanzo were both quite short and that is reflected throughout both of their homes. 🙂

    1. Ha! Yes, maybe even more fun for the adults. I was with a good friend of mine and her three boys and we joked that next time we take an educational trip like these, we will leave the kids home. Lol! 😉

  6. This was such a neat post to read because I actually live near Springfield. It really is a great town. Thanks for visiting and y’all come back soon!

  7. Thank you so much for a virtual trip to a place I probably will never be able to visit! Such a fun article to read!

  8. We live 35 minutes SW of Springfield. Off the top of my head another two places you might want to visit there are the Japanese gardens and the Butterfly gardens. Also, something YOU might enjoy (not the kids so much) is Mama Jean’s Organic Foods and spices. They have three locations in Springfield. Also, the Dickerson Park Zoo is well known nationally. College of the Ozarks is another place the kids would greatly enjoy.

    Unfortunately, most of the time nowadays, that we are in Springfield is due to medical reasons, so those are definitely not fun trips.
    We’ve been to all the above except Rocky Ridge – don’t know if that was open when we went years ago. We’ve lived here 27 yrs. – moved from SE Wisconsin. Used to love floating down the James River.

    1. Mama Jean’s sounds awesome and so does everything else you mention. We took a lot of float trips when I was younger, mostly on the Niangua River though. I would love to take my kids on a float trip one of these days. Thanks so much for the tips and you should head out to Rocky Ridge!!! 🙂

  9. Hi! Glad you enjoyed your trip to Springfield! The Bass Pro in Springfield is the largest and the original one. The owner of Bass Pro also has beautiful property at the lake you can visit. It’s in Ridgedale MO, not far from Branson. There is Top of the Rock, Dogwood Canyon and Big Cedar Lodge.
    At Top of the Rock, you can do a Lost Canyon Cave and trail tour. It is awesome! You rent a golf cart, large enough for four and covered. You drive it around and there are trails and bridges and waterfalls and you even drive it through a small cave! Dogwood Canyon is a beautiful park- perfect place for a picnic and you can rent bicycles. Big Cedar is a lodge, with private cabins, the lake and places to eat. You don’t have to be an overnight guest to eat there or use some of the fun things they offer. You can get a day guest pass and kayak around the cove or pedal boat and canoe. There is also go karts there and a super fun bowling alley that looks like your under the sea.

    Springfield has free fountains downtown at Jordan Valley park that kids play in, heck I play in it! If you come in the summer, and not during a pandemic- you can catch a Springfield Cardinals game. They are affiliated with St Louis Cardinals. There are lots of sculptures and murals to go find and many are downtown. There is a fun food truck park and a neat miniature golf place called Getaway golf. Saturday mornings there is a huge farmers market at Farmer’s Park. It is bustling and super fun with so many fresh food choices! Springfield also has a ton of trails to walk and bike. The Springfield Nature Center is free and a great place for a simple hike. We love to go on food tours and find our favorite place to eat a Springfield original, cashew chicken!