Although it is often ignored by travelers looking for the glitz and glamour of the coasts, the midwestern part of the United States provides a bevy of interesting tourist attractions, history, and entertainment options. A road trip through the Midwest is a rite of passage for many families.
Here are five sights to not miss on your Midwest road trip:
OMAHA’S HENRY DOORLY ZOO AND AQUARIUM
This world-class zoo is one of the most popular places to visit in the Midwest. Known for its commitment to the protection and breeding of many endangered species, this zoo features a desert dome, an indoor rainforest, a nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp, and the largest collection of animals from the cat family in the country. The aquarium boasts a 450,000-gallon shark tank, penguins, jellyfish, and sea turtles. Visitors can choose to dine at Durham’s TreeTops Restaurant, offering floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the jungle.
The jewel of the Midwest, this grand city has it all. There are so many highlights of the Windy City that is hard to narrow down the choices. Sites to consider visiting include Millennium Park, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, and more. Shopping and dining enthusiasts will delight in all of the trendy options dotting the Miracle Mile. Children will appreciate all of the fun to be had at Navy Pier while sports fans will never be bored with Chicago’s multitude of professional and amateur teams to watch.
THE ST. LOUIS GATEWAY ARCH
An iconic symbol in the Midwest, this historical monument is a must-see on any road trip through this part of the country. This 630-foot monument is the world’s tallest arch, symbolizing the country’s expansion to the West. Visitors can choose to take a tram ride to the top of the Arch, offering sweeping views of the Mississippi River, the city of St. Louis and beyond. A new museum gives a detailed history of the Arch, its construction, and its historical significance.
No road trip through the Midwest is complete without traveling part of the historic Route 66 highway. Stretching almost 2,500 miles, the highway originally began in Chicago and ended in Santa Monica, California, traversing through many Midwestern states and making history along the way. Although the original route has not been preserved, guests can still travel through sections of the iconic roadway, taking in a variety of historic landmarks. It is worth it to spend a little time getting your kicks along Route 66.
When you want to connect with Mother Nature, look no further than the rolling hills of Eastern Kansas. Formed over 250 million years ago when the shallow ocean receded leaving flint and shale near the surface of the earth, this scenic tallgrass prairie landscape is dotted with fields of sunflowers and miles of waving wheat. When traveling through the hills, it is often difficult to discern where the grass ends and the sky begins. This oasis is perfect for when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of road trip travel.
Wherever your travels take you on your road trip through the Midwest, you will be sure to encounter many things to remember for a lifetime.
Photo credit: Free-Photos / Pixabay