Day Trip Ideas
From exploring the stars to being more adventurous, Miami County’s opportunities for discovery are endless and often unexpected.
On a hill just outside of Osawatomie, Shoot House Paintball offers three playing fields designed by a local army veteran, with each field intended to encourage tactical gameplay. Players can take shelter in abandoned houses, or dominate the opposing team from a machine gun nest. This is a unique opportunity to turn off the video games and have some fun in a simulated, safe environment. Paintball isn’t just a fun excuse to run around and get messy; it promotes leadership, confidence and team building. Equipment can be rented on site, and groups are welcome.
At Spring Hill’s Escape House, visitors are encouraged to step into the shoes of an investigator and save the day in one hour flat. Well, that last part isn’t guaranteed. Escape House tests critical and creative thinking with a variety of stories. In each scenario, teams of two to eight people work on solving a mystery. Afterward, your team can gather to celebrate or commiserate with a group photo. Remember, success is never guaranteed, but at Escape House the best tool is always teamwork.
If you are looking for a more relaxed outing, you might look to the stars. Built in 1984, the 30-inch Ruisinger Telescope at the Powell Observatory in Louisburg’s Lewis-Young Park is one of the largest in a five-state area. The facility is owned and operated by the Astronomical Society of Kansas City.
Visitors can get involved in educational programs on topics including the solar system and the “Big Bang,” or do some solo stargazing during public nights.
Located in a “dark zone,” an area with limited light pollution, Powell Observatory is the perfect spot to watch a meteor shower or sunspots. Its new solar telescope provides views of the sun, so arrive just before sunset on Saturdays, May through October, to view those spectacular sights. Public night attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket, bug spray and a few snacks, so they can watch the night skies in comfort.
Don’t be surprised if you make a few new discoveries of your own. Minor planet 25890 Louisburg, spotted in 2000, is named after its home city.
The observatory and local school district have plans that will move Powell Observatory to a new location in the future. Fundraising is underway for this effort to construct a larger observatory and presentation center at Circle Grove School.
Private events can be booked at the facility.
Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory & Education Center is a nonprofit organization devoted to the care and preservation of endangered large cats. In addition to saving these animals from harm, the conservatory has made it their mission to educate the public on these animals’ behavior, habitats and threats of extinction.
The 11-acre complex houses animals from all over the world, including Arctic fox, red fox, wolves, leopards, bobcats, cougars, lions and tigers. Guided tours of the facility are available on weekends. If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss the feedings at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Winter hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends with feedings at 2 p.m. Those hours run November through March.
The group has purchased an additional 126 acres with plans to expand the facility. As those plans are developed, the group is working to return the ground to its more native state with plantings, pollinator gardens and beehives. In partnership with MO-KAN Honey, Cedar Cove has added an observatory hive to their educational center. It provides visitors with a new perspective on how honey is produced.
The Miami County Trolley is primarily known for tours of the county’s local wineries. The trolley offers curbside pickup at hotels, bed and breakfasts, or other sites along their route. An expansion of their fleet now allows them to offer even more transportation options for a wedding, party or visitors looking for a scenic tour. During the holiday season, a special Christmas lights tour is offered. Their drivers offer great insight into the region and courteous service to riders.
A classic, single-screen drive-in movie theater is perfect for a date night or an evening with the family. At the Midway Drive-In, you’ll find reasonably-priced snacks served at the concession stand, often provided personally by the owners. As a throwback, the facility is cash only, so come prepared. First run, double feature, family-rated movies are played on their digital system weekends during the summer months. Families often show up early to stake out their picnic