Tucked away off Interstate 44, just under one hour from Rolla, there's plenty to see and do in Lebanon. There's definitely more to do and see than you might expect. From fishing and floating to the arts and even a glimpse into history on Route 66 here's what you will find in Lebanon.

From fishing and floating to the arts and even a glimpse into history on Route 66 here’s what you will find in Lebanon.

GO HIKING 

With so much on the springs, people may not realize that Bennett Spring Park is actually more than 3,000 acres and features multiple hiking trails. A 7.5 mile trail features a 296- foot long natural tunnel, rock overhangs likely used by early travelers and bluffs. History buffs may be interested in a couple of shorter trails which are believed to be pre- historic pathways that became more frequently used walking paths beginning in the 1840s. Other trails in the park were also part of old roads from the 1800s. 

TOUR THE FISH HATCHERY 

The hatchery where those beautiful rainbow come from is located in the north end of the park next to the spring. Tours are offered from March to October on the first and third Saturdays of the month at 10 am, or by request. Call the hatchery office at 417- 532-4418. 

TOUR THE ‘OTHER’ HATCHERY 

The area is also home to the Cackle Hatchery, a third generation family-owned poultry hatchery. Cackle offers free limited tours of their facility where you can check out the more than 193 varieties that they ship throughout the country, including rare breeds of chickens, heritage turkeys, game birds and water fowl. They also have a store with poultry supplies, incubation viewing and live baby chicks to see or purchase. 

HANG AROUND TOWN 

Lebanon offers a variety of shopping. Cute downtown shops, Mr. C’s Routepost on Route 66, malls and the 40,000 square-foot Heart- land Antique Mall offer something for everybody. Kinderhook Treasures Gift Shop is part of the Route 66 Museum in the Lebanon- Laclede County Library on South Jefferson. 

ZIP IT 

For the adventure-seeker, the NRO Zipline offers 3,000 feet of fun through the canopy of the Ozark forest. Located four miles west of Bennett Springs off of Hwy. 64, NRO Zipline is open 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. 7 days a week during the summer, and during the off-sea- son, you can zip by appointment-only Monday-Thursday, and Friday-Sunday hours for walk-ins and appointments are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 

SEE THE ALPACAS

Whirlwind Alpaca Ranch 

24649 Snowberry Drive
417-533-5280

Meet the Alpacas, learn about raising them or take a class. Whirlwind Ranch is home to 30 Alpacas and Missouri. They have had as many as 142 Alpacas at one time, but average around 30 and have several Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs to keep potential predators away. Huacaya Alpacas are raised at Whirlwind Ranch, along with other breeds. 

If you would like to set an appointment to come for a visit, please e-mail ahead of time at info@whirlwindranch.com or call. 

TAKE IN A GALLERY 

McCreed’s Art Gallery 

25805 Millersburg Dr., Lebanon, MO 65536

417- 588-7993 

Displays include many mediums of watercolor, oil, acrylics, and pottery. Jewelry has increased in creativity with multiple artists and styles. 

TAKE A TRIP DOWN ROUTE 66

The Mother Road 

Lebanon was an important stop on Route 66 and it provided the road services that tourists sought. In fact, one of the very first motels along the highway was Camp Joy, which opened in 1927 as a tent camp at a rate of $0.50 a night. Later, cottages and a combination gas station / grocery store were added. Check out the history in Lebanon. 

Lebanon is one of the best places to see the Mother Road, which was officially named right here in Missouri. You can drive a five-mile section of the original road. Just follow the Route 66 signs. Check out the history of Route 66  at the Route 66 Museum & Research Center at 915 S. Jefferson Ave., 417-532-2148

CHECK OUT THE RACES 

Lebanon 1-44 Speedway

For racing fans, there’s nothing quite like the excitement of the sounds of cars revving their engines as they line up. A night at the races is the place to be on Saturday nights April through September. Racing gets underway at 7:30 pm. Gates open at 5 pm. The track draws thousands looking to see some of the best auto racing competition in the Midwest Track is located at  24069 Route 66 or visit i44speedway.net. 

HIT THE WATER 

Take a lazy float trip down the tranquil Niangua River, enjoy the beauty of the Ozarks, and spot some of the wildlife–beavers, minks, river otters, muskrats, great blue herons, turkeys, deer, and more. Most outfitters will not only rent canoes and supplies to you, but they’ll also take you to the put-in point and pick you up at the end. Picnic on a sandbar, then sit back and smile while the river does the work.