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Hannibal Family Vacation Ideas Include Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and the Mighty Mississippi River. Hannibal Missouri Music on the Mississippi River"America's Hometown" sustains an innocent spirit of adventure by sharing in real time the remarkable stories created by Samuel Clemmons.

Here's the scoop.
Arrive in Mark Twain Territory and become part of a uniquely American vacation experience. 
Ride a Mississippi riverboat and go caving, taste luscious kettle corn and talk with Mark Twain, see artists at work and enjoy live theatre, and listen to music under the stars. I have assembeld a short list of the fun stuff. 

Mark Twain slept there. Downtown Hannibal is definitely family friendly and easy to explore on foot. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is a logical stop to complete the story of Tom and Huck. A 15-minute video presentation explains the life of Samuel Clemmons a.k.a. Mark Twain. Each of the six historic buildings provides visitors with a sense of how Hannibal nurtured one of America’s most interesting authors. Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home, J.M. Clemens Law Office and Grants Drug Store may be viewed through glass-enclosed doors while listening to an audio description aired with the push of a button. Bonus points: Beginning Memorial Day and continuing through August, (Fridays/Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) watch Tom and Becky act out their engagement in front of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home.

Remembering the adventures of Tom and Huck. The three-story Mark Twain Museum spins a tale at every corner. The main level provides visitors with setting for mini adventures - a white picket fence, a walk through cave, and a raft. A movie screen shows parts of the film Huckleberry Fin. Up one level is the wheelhouse of a steamboat where guest can imagine traveling Mississippi River. Step into a stagecoach or time travel with the stories of Samuel Clemmens as your guide. Go up one more level and there are 15 original Norman Rockwell paintings. Bonus points: On Thursday nights during the summer months the museum presents “Music Under the Stars” – a free family-friendly music concert series. All concerts will take place outside on the Museum Mall and guests are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the evening’s entertainment. Hannibal Missouri Mark Twain Museum Little Kids Role Play

Ride the trolley, get a guide, or take a tour. Hannibal Trolley Company operates along an old-fashioned trolley route providing visitors on/off boarding at the local attractions and plenty of local history anecdotes. Depart and re board the trolley at the Mark Twain Cave, Sawyer's Creek, Rockcliffe Mansion and the home base trolley depot. Twainland Express Sightseeing Tours provides guides who know plenty about the area and they are willing to share their knowledge with visitors relating humorous stories, local legends, and historical while visiting the attractions. Bonus points: The Mark Twain Clopper provides a 20-minute narrated tour through the historic area by horse-drawn wagon Memorial Day through Labor Day. An essential part of any family vacation is ice cream and Becky’s Ice Cream Parlor is the place in Hannibal. In one spot taste ‘world famous’ Bankhead’s fudge and enjoy an ice cream cone or a old-fashioned sundae, milk shake or malt, lemonade or iced-tea, vintage ice cream sodas or freshly ground coffee. They also sell non-battery operated toys, classic children’s books, Dover coloring books and paper dolls.

Relive the adventures. Most children know the stories and sharing even a small adventure with your kids will make Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer jump off the pages. Hannibal, the fictional home of Tom and Huck, makes it easy to have fun in the spirit of the tales. Talk with Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher on Main Street and listen to Mark Twain's stories about life on the Mississippi River. Bonus Points: A Hannibal 4th of July tradition for more than five decades, National Tom Sawyer Days celebration is America at its best. While the cornerstone of the celebration is the fence painting competition you will also find, a frog jumping competition, and Mississippi Mud Volleyball. The celebration also includes a Tomboy Sawyer Contest for girls who do not fit the "Becky Thatcher" image. Events for this contest include the minnow catch, watermelon seed spitting, bubble gum blowing, gunnysack race, and with the help of the Jaycees, fencepPainting.

Go caving with your kids. Every great adventure has a cave and Hannibal has a cave for a great adventure. As you might expect, The Mark Twain Cave is located outside of town. It is a fun spot to go with kids and the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. The tour of Mark Twain Cave takes about one hour and is filled with stories about Huck and Becky getting lost. The Cameron Cave tour takes longer and includes narrow passages lit only by a lantern. Bonus points: At the Rock Shop on site visitors may try their luck panning for semi-precious gemstones - the sluice, the water and the gems are waiting. It is possible to find amethyst, calcite, pyrite, and rose quartz. Candles Aglow next to the Rock Shop offers candle dipping for youngsters. Kids may select a heart, cat, mouse, wolf or elephant then just dip and decorate. The temperature within the caves is about 52 degrees every day of the year so it is essential to bring a light wrap for comfort.

Bounce, pitch and feed the fish. Hannibal Missouri Sawyer's Creek Bumper BoatsSawyer's Creek Family Fun Park & Riverview Café is located on the banks of the Mississippi River across from the Mark Twain Cave. It’s the spot to play mini golf, ride bumper boats, cruise bumper cars, enact water wars, try fast pitch, set the kids loose in the Bounce house, and for little tykes ride the Too-too Twain. Bonus Points: Not that sweets matter to every family but in the Sweet Shop you will find fudge, vintage candies, and delicious caramel corn.

Take a vintage cruise on the river. The Mississippi River is awesome from almost every angle but aboard a riverboat it becomes the backdrop for living history. The Mark Twain Mississippi riverboat offers visitors one-hour nostalgic sightseeing cruises and two-hour evening dinner cruises which include live music. During the summer months it possible to purchase a 7-day Mark Twin Adventure Pass which provides discounted entry to three attractions including the riverboat cruise, Mark Twain Museum, and the Mark Twain Cave. The pass may be purchased at any one of the participating attractions.

Go for 50 Miles of Art. On Route 79, along the Mississippi River three communities - Hannibal, Louisiana, and Clarksville – are linked by history and art. The corridor known as “50 Miles of Art” contains dozens of studios and galleries representing professional artists, crafts persons and artisans. Bonus Points: Hannibal Arts Council showcases art with a series of events. The Folklife Festival embraces living history and its unique connection with cuisine, and crafts of that era; River Arts Festival showcases some of the finest art in the region against the beauty of the mighty Mississippi, and the Wild & Wacky Art Adventure allows children to explore their own inner artist. Annual studio tours are offered to the public during the first full weekend in November and the last full weekend in March.

Look for ghosts. For families with teens ghosting may be an option and Historic Hannibal Ghost Tours conducts tour by trolley and on foot. During the two-hour participants meet modern day storytellers and spirits from the past at cemeteries, former bordellos, Victorian mansions, and theatres. Tour highlights include one of the “fifteen best places to sleep with a ghost”. Bonus Points: For even more from the dark side every Saturday in October Rockcliffe Mansion offers visitors the haunted side of Hannibal starting at the Mansion and visiting other spots around town. During the session participants learn how to use divining rods as you experience the "other side" of this historic town. Or experience Rockcliffe after hours, in the dark. Start with an evening meal in the cellars of Rockcliffe followed by a haunted tour of the Mansion in the dark. The evening concludes by experiencing the phenomena of automatic writing by one of Hannibal's local psychics.

Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau. 505 N. Third, Hannibal, MO 63401. Toll free 1-TOM-AND-HUCK (or www.VisitHannibal.com).

Planning Details

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum. 208 Hill Street, Hannaibal, (573) 221-9010 www.MarkTwainMuseum.org 
Historic Hannibal Ghost. Toll-free 1-877- 423-4140, (573) 221-4140 Tours www.HauntedHannibal.com
Sawyer's Creek Family Fun Park & Restaurant. 11011 HWY 79, (573) 221-8000 or www.SawyersCreek.com
Mark Twain Mississippi Riverboat. 400 Front Street or www.MarkTwainRiverBoat.com
Becky’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor & Emporium. 318 N. Main Street, Hannibal, (573) 221-0822 or www.BeckyThatcher.com
Rockcliffe Mansion. 1000 Bird St. Hannibal, (573) 221-4140 or www.RockcliffeMansion.com
The Mark Twain Cave. Located one mile south on Hwy. 79, (573) 221-1656 or www.MarkTwainCave.com
National Tom Sawyer Days. Sponsored by the Hannibal Jaycees. 1-866-263-4825
Hannibal Arts Council. (573) 221-6545 or www.50milesofart.com
Hannibal Trolley Company Sightseeing Tours 220 N. Main, Hannibal, (573) 221-1161 or www.visitmo.com

 
Content by Lias Kamps Duac, Publisher of the Family Travel Files. Images provided by Mark Twain Museum and Sawyer Creek Fun Park. Copyright updated 2013.
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