Summer Road Trips: Hannibal

AKA “Edutainment”; or “How to get the kids to learn something on your vacation without them realizing it”

We understand.  The last bell of the semester rings, and suddenly it seems like half of what your children learned that year is magically sucked from their brains.  Endless days of video games, sports and free time stretch before their eyes, while you are desperately searching for a way to keep at least SOME kind of those lessons in their heads.

We’re here to help with three ideas family-friendly vacation activities in Hannibal that will actually *gasp* have some educational value hidden between layers of fun.

Mark Twain Cave 

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Kids love caves.  Tell the kids (or grandkids) they are going to get to go to a cave, and you’ll likely experience shrieks only the family dog can hear.  But here’s where it gets sneaky – Mark Twain Cave is the same cave author Mark Twain played in as a child, and the one hour guided tour is chock-full of tales about the author and information about how caves are formed.  Don’t be surprised if they come out of the tour wanting to learn about bats or geology. This brings us to our next bit of fun…

Gemstone Sluicing 

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Once the kids emerge from the cave they will see the sluice at the and be instantly intrigued; after all searching for hidden treasure is near and dear to every kids heart.  Follow up your finds by matching the stones you got with the stones on the stone glossary, and soon you’ll have some gemstone experts.

Riverboat Rambling 


A one-hour sightseeing cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat is a great summer activity for children of all ages.  The kids may be most excited about getting a popcorn or slushy, but this one hour live-narrated cruise offers a lively narrative about the Mississippi River, Mark Twain’s time as a riverboat pilot and a great overview of many other activities you can enjoy while in Hannibal.

Other educational opportunities abound in Hannibal.  You can learn all about author Mark Twain at his Boyhood Home, get on your smartphone and search out some of the many geocaches in Hannibal, explore Rockcliffe Mansion and learn about the Gilded Age while taking in breathtaking Tiffany windows and extravagant surroundings.

No matter how much (or little) education you squeeze into your Hannibal getaway, you can rest assured the kids will only remember the fun.

Written by Megan Rapp from the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau. VisitMO on Pinterest Missouri Travel Guide

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