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Branson, MO – Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, MO

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Table Rock Lake – 800 miles of shoreline

We spent a glorious sunny day at Bass Pro Founder Johnny Morris’ Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve.  It was a compilation of all the beautiful scenery we had seen this month throughout Arkansas and Missouri in one place.  Johnny Morris clearly values conserving the natural habitat while making the outdoors accessible for all.  He has several other similar ventures in the area.  We started off with a 2 1/2 mile ride in an electric golf cart along the Lost Canyon Nature Trail.

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Curvy path on the trail.

The trail would take us in close contact with “dramatic features” in nature such as stunning rock formations, unforgettable waterfalls, beautiful views of Table Rock Lake, and the Lost Canyon Cave.

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Caves – legend has it Jesse James and his gang hid out in caves in this area
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Entrance to Lost Canyon Cave.
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Drive up Bat Bar.

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The centerpiece of the four story cave is a cascading waterfall.
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Baby bat on the ceiling.

We encountered two wooden covered bridges built by the local Amish.  The floors were open metal grates which allowed you to view the rushing water beneath.

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Waterfalls coming out of Lost Canyon Cave. 

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Bear cave

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Table Rock Lake in the far background.
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Carbon dated Wooly Mammoth skeleton.

Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum was built by the same design team as the world-renowned Chicago Field Museum.  Johnny Morris wanted his museum to celebrate the rich ancient history of the Ozarks and commemorate the people and animals that came before us.

There were many beautiful outdoor fireplaces to sit and relax by.

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Arnie’s Barn is a 150 year old wooden barn that was brought from Arnold Palmer’s hometown in Latrobe, PA and reconstructed at Top of the Rock by a local Amish family.  Notice the soaring, vaulted ceilings.  It houses a Mexican restaurant, gift shop, and Top of the Rock Pro Shop.

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Something new and unexpected to Top of the Rock – a sink hole.  Excavation has begun as it is thought this cave links to the other cave on the tour.  They hope to connect it with the tour.

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One of a kind practice facilities in an incredible setting!  The Arnold Palmer Driving Range has sixteen target greens and three tee decks.  You can even practice at night when the greens are lit with recessed lighting.

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To the far right is Arnie’s Barn.  In the middle is the museum and to the left is Osage Restaurant, Buffalo Bar, and End of the Trail Wine Cellar.

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Ceiling of the elevator.

You can stroll down a stone lined stairway (or take the elevator) and hallway to the wine tasting bar or All-American Whiskey Room.  The hallway is lined with candles and wine cellar vaults.  Banquet space is also available down here.

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We had dinner at the Buffalo Bar – an open-air patio with a breathtaking sweeping view of Table Rock Lake and the Ozarks.  If you sit at the end of the patio you can admire the infinity pool with a magnificent “End of the Trail” bronze statue commemorating Native Americans.  We enjoyed tasty wood-fired pizza and spirits as we waited for the “best sunset in the country.”

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This place is filled with amazing structures!  The Chapel of the Ozarks is a three story stone wedding chapel perched on a cliff-side with a stunning view of the lake.

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At sunset music is played on a bagpipe (live) and this authentic Civil War cannon is fired.

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Majestic sunset leaving a feeling of being on top of the world at Top of the Rock.

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Top of the Rock’s motto is “the only thing we overlook is the view of Table Rock Lake.”  No truer words spoken.

 

 

 

 

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