Monday, June 9, 2014

Cool stuff in Springfield Missouri

Last weekend we drove up through the Ozarks to visit friends in Springfield, Missouri. Even if the weather hadn't been idyllic for walking around outside, it was a relief to escape the muggy lowland humidity for awhile!

Here are a few highlights from our trip that are worth checking out if you go to Springfield…

The Springfield Botanical Gardens encompass 36 beautiful garden spaces, most of which are free! Only the Japanese strolling garden charged a small entry fee. We wandered around the historic log cabins and church, heritage garden, butterfly house, Master Gardener demonstration garden, and areas dedicated to impressive displays of hostas, roses, mini conifers, and viburnum. There are several playgrounds with creative equipment for kids to play on, and plenty of open space to run – very kid-friendly.

There was a wedding reception in the main building, otherwise we would've explored that too, but I gather that it's very environmentally friendly and expected to earn a respectable LEED rating. The Greene County Extension Service and Master Gardeners are housed here.

At the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, three miles of paved hiking trails meander through woods and wetlands. In and around the main building you can see live turkeys, fish, and insects as well as exhibits on water and forest conservation.  Also a great place to bring the kids.

And finally, the Diverging Diamond Interchange, for the infrastructure nerds among us. Apparently there's one of these in the Baltimore-Washington area, but I'd never seen one before. This type of interchange was developed in France in the 1970s to reduce traffic backups from drivers waiting to make left turns onto highway on-ramps. According to the NPR article I linked above, they are cheaper and safer than many alternatives, and I can attest that although it's unnerving to drive on the left side of the road for a spell, this particular one seems to be effective.

So there you have it:  three cool reasons to visit Springfield, Missouri.  Bon voyage!

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