The act of viewing a bald eagle in flight is a memorable moment that brings excitement and joy to adults and children alike. One of the best times of year to spot these majestic birds is during the winter season as they migrate from Alaska and Canada to warmer climates. Visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks will have the opportunity to view these awesome feathered creatures and learn more about them and other birds of prey at Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days, January 9-10.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, more than 2,000 bald eagles are reported around the state's large rivers and reservoirs in the wintertime, making Missouri one of the leaders in bald eagle viewing in the lower 48 states. The bluffs and large wooded areas surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks make this area a popular stop during their annual exodus from the frigid temperatures of the north.
Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days activities allow attendees to see the birds in a natural setting, perched in the trees or in flight, as well as offering opportunities for up-close viewing at programs offered by the World Bird Sanctuary from St. Louis. Events on Saturday, Jan. 9, begin at 9 am and continue until 5:30 pm. On Sunday, Jan. 10, events begin at 10 am and end at 4:30 pm. All Eagle Days activities are free and open to the public and take place in Lake Ozark, all within a short drive of one another.
When Sue Westenhaver, chairman of the board of the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association, owner and operator of Inn at Harbour Ridge Bed and Breakfast and one of the original organizers of the Eagle Days event at the Lake, first moved to Missouri from northern Illinois, she had no idea bald eagles inhabited the Lake area, much less that they were so plentiful. After attending her first eagle viewing event in Warsaw, Mo. at the Truman Dam in 1983, she wanted to establish a similar event at the Lake of the Ozarks. Westenhaver recruited some good friends and together they orchestrated the first program at the Lake, which was initially a one-day event held at the School of the Osage Heritage Elementary School and the Bagnell Dam Access. Over the last 30 years, this celebration of America's national bird has continued to grow in scale and popularity from a couple hundred spectators that first year to nearly 4,000 expected over the course of the weekend for the 2016 event.
"My favorite part about Eagle Days is watching the beautiful birds flying, swooping, dipping and dancing right above everyone's head," Westenhaver says. "That, and seeing the children's eyes light up when they get to see a bald eagle up close during the naturalist programs. The little kids get so excited and just start to squeal in delight. It's just wonderful."
Wild eagle-viewing activities are hosted by the Camden County Astronomy Club and will take place at Willmore Lodge, 1 Willmore Lane, and the Bagnell Dam Access, located off of Highway 54 on Osage River Bridge Road. Eagle-watchers are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring cameras and binoculars. Interactive exhibits and crafts will be on display at Willmore Lodge each day, and eagle nest-building and rope-making exhibitions will be held at the Bagnell Dam Access. Free hot chocolate will also be available at the Bagnell Dam Access to help birders of all sizes stay warm and enjoy their time outdoors.
At Osage National Golf Resort, 400 Osage Hills Road, live eagle programs presented by the World Bird Sanctuary begin on the hour at 9 a.m. with the last of the day starting at 3 pm on Saturday. And, on Sunday, the first program begins at 10 a.m. and the last begins at 2 pm. Naturalists from the World Bird Sanctuary will be on hand to interact with attendees as they show off live birds, explain about what makes these birds unique and answer questions from the audience.
School of the Osage Heritage Elementary, 1571 Bagnell Dam Boulevard, will feature two programs by Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo. The "Day Shift, Night Shift and Garbage Gal" program provides information about hawks ("Day Shift"), owls ("Night Shift") and turkey vultures ("Garbage Gals"). The second program, "Live Owls of Missouri," features information about the species of owls indigenous to Missouri. These shows will be held every hour on the half-hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the last program of the day beginning at 4:30 pm on Saturday. On Sunday, programs begin at 10:30 am with the last occurring at 3:30 pm. There will also be photo contests, coloring contests and other activities for kids, as well as nature-related exhibitors including the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Lake of the Ozark Eagle Days is made possible by the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Osage National Golf Resort, FaceLift Marketing, School of the Osage, Camden County Astronomy Club, Missouri Master Naturalist - Lake of the Ozarks Chapter and Boy Scouts of America.
More details on Eagle Days, including a complete schedule of events, listing of 2016 vendors as well as photos from past events, can be found at www.LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com.
Many visitors build a winter weekend getaway around Eagle Days to take advantage of the off-season lodging rates and smaller crowds at the various year-around attractions and activities at the Lake. For other fun events, or for more information on all attractions and lodging and dining options at the "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation, visit the the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com,
Friday, December 18, 2015
Thursday, November 19, 2015
The holiday season is a joyous time of coming together and celebrating with friends and family. But, sometimes the stress of planning parties and meals and frantic last-minute trips to crowded markets can make the season lose its luster. The activities and attractions at the Lake of the Ozarks can be just the thing to breathe new life into seasonal traditions. The Lake offers family and friends the opportunity to relax, reconnect and even add a little extra spice to their holidays.
Thanksgiving is especially festive at the Lake of the Ozarks as many of the businesses around the area get into the holiday spirit. Several resorts and hotels offer bountiful Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings, but without the hassles of cooking and cleaning up. The Lodge of Four Seasons and Camden on the Lake Resort, both located in Lake Ozark, as well as The Inn at Grand Glaize in Osage Beach, will have full-blown Thanksgiving buffets on Thursday, Nov. 26. To make reservations for overnight stays, Thanksgiving meals and other activities, contact The Lodge of Four Seasons, call 800-THE-LAKE or visit www.4SeasonsResort.com; for Camden on the Lake, call 888-365-5620 or visit www.CamdenOnTheLake.com; for The Inn at Grand Glaize, visit www.InnAtGrandGlaize.com or call 800-348-4731.
Tan-Tar-A Resort, located in Osage Beach, will host its Winter Holiday Festival over Thanksgiving weekend. Guests and the general public can enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner buffet on Thursday, Nov. 26 along with a bonfire, sing-along, comedy show, visits with Santa Claus, a ceremonious lighting of the resort's wealth of Christmas decorations and tram rides throughout the resort property that evening. For guests staying at the resort, the entire holiday weekend is packed with activities, including a "Midnight Madness" shuttle to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets, "Black Friday" sales at Tan-Tar-A, a Turkey Trot 5k race, stations for writing letters to Santa, a duck drop race at the resort's indoor water park, tailgate parties, a scavenger hunt for the kids and additional holiday tram tours. To make reservations for lodging or the Thanksgiving day meal, visit www.Tan-Tar-A.com or call 800-826-8272.
Guests at Old Kinderhook Resort can enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 26 at The Trophy Room; and on Friday, Nov. 27, the resort will transform into a Christmas "village." The new village will be open to the public on weekends until December 20 and will feature Santa Claus and story-telling elves, carolers, s'mores, gingerbread house-making stations and horse-drawn carriage rides. Small fees may apply for some activities. Old Kinderhook's new outdoor ice rink will be open to all visitors that want to do some holiday skating. For reservations for lodging and Thanksgiving dinner at Old Kinderhook, or for more details on their holiday offerings and prices, call 573-317-3560 or visit www.OldKinderhook.com.
One of the Lake's most popular and enduring holiday traditions involves the area's different drive-through light parks. Admission to the light parks is free, but donations are welcome.
The Lake's largest light park, The Enchanted Village of Lights, meanders through 27 acres of the Laurie Fairgrounds and is celebrating its 22nd season of warming hearts. The Enchanted Village opens on November 20 and runs through January 2. The light park is open daily from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays and closes at 10 p.m. on weekends. Complete details can be found at www.CityofLaurie.com/EnchantedLights.
Also in Laurie, just a mile from the Enchanted Village on Highway 5, is the Festival of Lights at the Shrine of Saint Patrick. Started in 1981, the festival is now in its 32nd year and has continued to grow each season, with thousands of lights decorating the buildings and grounds. The site is the home of the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, so this display focuses on Jesus and His mother, Mary. The St. Patrick Festival of Lights will be open daily from 6-10 p.m. from Thanksgiving through January 1. Learn more at www.ShrineOfStPatrick.org.
Versailles joins the lighting celebration from Nov. 26 through Jan. 1 with its own Unity Circle of Lights, featuring 40 lighted holiday exhibits in the city park, at the junction of Highways 5 and 52 in Morgan County.
In Osage Beach, the city park and many businesses along Osage Beach Parkway will be dressed in holiday lights from November 28 through January 3. And, on December 12, children of all ages can meet Santa Claus from 3-5 p.m. at the Osage Beach city park. For more information, visit www.OsageBeach.org.
Other fun holiday events around the Lake include the City of Eldon's "Home for the Holidays" celebration on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20 and 21, consisting of a holiday parade, face painting, craft-making stations, dance performances, live concerts from the Eldon High School Jazz Band and Chamber Choir, and, of course, a visit from Santa.
The City of Versailles' "Olde Fashioned Christmas on the Square," which takes place from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28 in its historic downtown, features many craft and food vendors, live choir performances, a silent auction and an appearance by Old Saint Nick.
Also on November 28, visitors can watch a processions of fun floats decked out in lights during the 14th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade in Laurie.
Children of all ages can enjoy Breakfast with Santa on December 5 and 12 at HK's Restaurant located on property at The Lodge of Four Seasons.
Camdenton offers a day of family fun at Christmas on the Square, December 5. This all-day event features food, games, gifts and, of course, a visit from the season's guest of honor - Santa.
In addition, on December 12, Lake Ozark celebrates its 31st "Christmas Magic" parade, which will wind along the historic Bagnell Dam Boulevard. Following the parade, families can join Santa's Caravan, by meeting Santa at Prewitt's Point and following his sleigh to Bagnell Dam. Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and receive a free stocking stuffed with goodies from the merry-maker himself.
For more information on these and other holiday events around the Lake, visit the event calendar at www.FunLake.com.
Another popular Lake of the Ozarks tradition is taking in all the sights and sounds of "Christmas on Mainstreet," an annual presentation by the talented performers of the Main Street Music Hall in Osage Beach. The show is designed to be a treat for all in attendance with beautifully decorated sets, glamorous costumes, special effects, musical impersonations, comedy skits and the best songs of the season. The Main Street Music Hall audience will enjoy every style of holiday music, from the latest in contemporary songs to favorite Christmas hymns and carols. The show is offered Tuesdays through Sundays, beginning Nov. 27 and continuing through Dec. 20. To order tickets and to get more information, including show dates and times, as well as ticket prices, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit www.LakeMusicHall.com.
Those looking for the perfect gifts for their friends and loved ones will appreciate the wide variety of shops available at the Lake. Osage Beach Premium Outlets, the largest outlet mall in Missouri with 110 name brand stores, offers extended hours and special savings throughout the season to make holiday gift-buying easier. In addition, the boutique stores found at The Landing on Main Street, a picturesque Victorian-themed village, offer gifts for the home, unique clothing, jewelry and other personal items, as well as homemade confections. Antique shops are packed with treasures from the past and handmade crafts. For more information about shopping at the Lake, click on the "shopping" tab at www.FunLake.com.
Visitors to the Lake can also ring in the New Year in style as area resorts offer dining specials and festive overnight packages complete with live music, dancing, champagne toasts at midnight and more. Call your favorite lodging property to ask about their New Year's Eve specials.
Whether coming to the Lake to enjoy festive lighting displays, check items off the holiday gift list or to escape the demands of the season, the Lake's lodging properties offer the gift of off-season savings. Winter and holiday special lodging rates are some of the lowest of the year at Lake-area resorts, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, condos, vacation homes, campgrounds and RV parks. In some cases, travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates and give themselves the gift of a good night's rest and relaxation. For a complete list of lodging options, visit www.FunLake.com.
To find out about all the fun holiday events, year-around attractions as well as dining and accommodations at the "Best Recreational Lake" in the nation, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 800-FUN-LAKE, or visit the CVB's award-winning website www.FunLake.com.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Enjoy lots of live music and great food and drink specials during the third annual Lake Stock Fall Crawl, Saturday, November 7th at various locations around the Lake of the Ozarks.
The event has been dubbed "Woodstock on Wheels," as attendees can hop on shuttle buses to travel to and from some of the Lake's hottest nightspots to check out and enjoy live musical entertainment throughout the evening.
"It's kind of like a mini-music festival right here at the Lake," says event organizer Jeff Carroll. "You have some really great live bands playing everything from rock and roll to blues and country all throughout the night at some of the best bars and restaurants around the Lake. Everyone who has participated in the past, whether as attendees or musicians, has really enjoyed themselves."
Carroll says participating in the Lake Stock Fall Crawl is easy. Attendees purchase a $10 wrist band that gets them into all 10 event venues without paying a cover charge, as well as free shuttle service to and from all Lake Stock locations. Once they have their wristbands, participants can choose how and where they spend their evening. The shuttle service will run in a continuous loop from many local hotels, motels, resorts and condominiums to all of the Fall Crawl venues. Shuttles begin running at 6 p.m. with the event officially kicking off at 7 p.m. In most locations, live music will be showcased from 8 p.m. until closing. A detailed shuttle route can be found on the event's website, www.LakeStockFallCrawl. Wristbands can be purchased at all 10 Lake Stock venues the week before, as well as the night of the event.
Now in its third year, Carroll says Lake Stock has only been getting bigger and better. "We're expecting around 2,500 people to come and spend a festive Saturday evening at their favorite restaurants and bars. And, hopefully they'll discover some cool new bands, too." Carroll also says the "throwback vibe" of the event has really caught on. "A lot of people will be dressed up in '60s and '70s attire: tie-dyed shirts, bell bottoms, big collars, big boots, big hair. The whole getup. It's a lot of fun." And, to keep with the spirit of the event, custom tie-dyed Lake Stock Fall Crawl t-shirts will be on sale throughout the night at each location.
In addition to the live entertainment, "crawlers" are eligible for prizes and giveaways throughout the evening to ensure a fun and festive event. Carroll urges participants to book their lodging packages early and also suggests coming in a day early and making a weekend out of it. "If you're coming in from out of town, there are many awesome attractions and a lot of cool stuff to do, so you might as well make the most of your time here at the Lake."
Although the music and good times take top billing, safety is also a key component in the event. "We want to make it easy for anyone who wants to join us to have a good time and get home safely. Those are our main two concerns, with safety being at the top of the list," says Carroll. "With our shuttle service to and from all of the entertainment venues, we make it very easy to put your keys away and have a safe and worry-free night out on the town."
For a continuously updated list of participating venues and performing bands, as well as local lodging options and a detailed shuttle route, visit www.LakeStockFallCrawl.com.
To find out about all the fun events, attractions as well as dining and accommodations at the "Best Recreational Lake" in the nation, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 800-FUN-LAKE, or visit the CVB's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com.
Monday, October 5, 2015
One of the best ways to take in the beautiful fall foliage lining the 1,150 miles of shoreline at the Lake of the Ozarks is, of course, by boat. Visitors and locals alike will have another opportunity to cruise the Lake, enjoy the colorful seasonal transition and win big prize money, during the landmark 30th anniversary of the Fall Harbor Hop poker run on Saturday, October 10th.
The goal of this semi-annual event is for participants to complete the best poker hand (or hands) by traveling by lake or by land to their choice of waterfront checkpoints across the Lake (there are over 40 businesses consisting primarily of bars, restaurants and marinas on the Hop).
Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, says that the Fall Harbor is always a fun event and brings out approximately 2,500 people excited to extend the boating season into the fall.
"We have many groups of people who come back year after year for the Harbor Hop. Everyone has a good time, and, really, it's just a great excuse to get out on the Lake and enjoy the wonderful scenery." Jacobsen also says it's a good way for visitors and locals alike to discover new restaurants and bars in the Lake area and make some new friends along the way. And, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Fall Harbor Hop, every participant will receive a free vinyl waterproof phone case compliments of the Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association. "We just want to commemorate this milestone and thank everyone for participating and making it such a great event."
Players will begin their "hop" by making a suggested donation of $20 per hand and drawing their first card at any of the participating locations. Six additional cards will be drawn for each hand as participants visit the various Harbor Hop locations around the Lake. When the seventh card is drawn, the hand is complete and is turned in at that final location. An additional card to help improve the hand can be obtained at that final location for a $5 donation.
For those that want to participate but don't have a boat, Playin' Hooky Water Taxi and Charters is offering a Harbor Hop Cruise where visitors will be chauffeured to many of the Harbor Hop stops. Playin' Hooky departs from the Millstone Marina in Gravois Mill. The cruise costs $40 per person and will leave the dock at noon and return at 6 pm. To book a place on the charter, visit PlayinHookyAtTheLake.com. There are also many marinas around the Lake area where visitors can rent boats by the hour, day or longer.
Harbor Hop prizes will be awarded to the top 10 poker hands, as well as the four worst hands and 10 randomly selected players. Winners will be notified by certified mail. There also will be prizes for "section winners" who complete their entire hand in one of these four sections:
Most Harbor Hop locations open at 11 am, though some open as early as 9 am. All eligible hands must be turned in by 7 pm. However, because hours vary from location to location, "hoppers" should consult the list of locations and operating hours by visiting FunLake.com/HarborHop. Complete rules for the Harbor Hop can also be found on that site, or by calling the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
Friday, August 21, 2015
"The Lake of the Ozarks Air Show is an exciting event that will undoubtedly be an awesome experience for everyone who attends," says Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau. "We're really proud to offer this great air show that will delight audiences and honor our military heroes, too. The generosity of our sponsors ensures we can continue this fine tradition."
Spectators will enjoy thrilling aviation acts, which include aerobatics by Jeff Shetterly's Radial Rumble, Franklin's Flying Circus' demon bi-plane, Dracula; stunt flying by Team Vortex, G&M Airshows; and performances by the KC Flight Formation Team. To add to the entertainment, Kenny Carroll will be racing aerobatic planes across the tarmac in his 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and there will be multiple Ping-Pong ball drops and remote controlled airplanes as well, which are always a favorite among the children in attendance.
On Friday, Sept. 11, free flights for veterans are once again being offered in a B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber. Organizers say this is another way of thanking those who have served in the armed forces.
On Saturday morning, from 7:30 until 9:30 am, there will be a pancake breakfast to honor local military members at Hangar D. The opening ceremonies for the event take place at 10 a.m., as the Zack Wheat American Legion Post 624 will present the colors followed by a performance by Main Street Opry and LOZ Dance Academy at 10:05 am. The national anthem will be performed at 10:30 a.m. by Melissa Carroll. Shortly thereafter, all the high-flying action really takes off and continues throughout the day until 3:30 p.m. when all flights at the airport resume. There will also be a meet and greet with the aerial performers from 6-10 p.m. at Captain Ron's Bar & Grill, 82 Aloha Lane in Sunrise Beach, to officially bring the action-packed day to a close.
When the Lake of the Ozarks Air Show first started five years ago, there were only 4,000 people in attendance. Since then, it has been breaking attendance records every year, with last year's show drawing crowds well above 14,000 spectators. "The Air Show gets better every year as the organizers add more and more cool acts to the lineup," Jacobsen elaborates. "People are always very impressed. They go away talking about how much fun they had, and because of that, it keeps growing in popularity."
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. Local civic organizations will set up vendor booths to sell food and drinks during the show, therefore, no outside food or beverages will be allowed. Proceeds from the vendor booth sales will be reinvested into the air show and local community projects, making the show a benefit to the Camdenton community in many ways.
Free parking will be available in parking lots at the Camdenton RIII schools. There will be a free shuttle running from 8 am to 5 pm to transport attendees to and from their vehicles. Parking also is available at the Camdenton Memorial Airport for a fee of $10.
The event is made possible by collaboration among the City of Camdenton, the Camdenton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Camdenton Memorial Airport, the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau and many other local sponsors.
To learn more, go to www.LakeOfTheOzarksAirShow.com or call the Camdenton Memorial Airport at 573-346-0300.
The Air Show is just one of many exciting summer and fall events at the Lake of the Ozarks. To keep tabs on all the fun and exciting events taking place at the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation," visitors can download the "Fun Lake Events" app for iOS and Androids or check out an in-depth event calendar on the Convention & Visitor Bureau's website. To find out more about all the dining, accommodations and attractions at the Lake, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 800-FUN-LAKE, or visit our award-winning website at www.FunLake.com.
Monday, August 10, 2015
Friday, July 31, 2015
"Family Travel with Colleen Kelly," a popular National Public Television series, will feature Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, highlighting the outdoor adventure, water activities, shopping, dining and attractions that make the area a great family vacation destination. The Lake of the Ozarks episode will be part of the show's season two lineup and will air at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2 on KMOS - Channel 184 on Charter Communications and also in Springfield on OPT-Create TV Channel 21.3 at 8:30 a.m. on August 2.
"We are very excited to see the program air in our geographic area and even more excited about the national coverage the show will bring to the Lake of the Ozarks," says Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau.
The show's host, Colleen Kelly, and the crew spent time throughout the Lake of the Ozarks area in July 2014, shooting segments at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park and Captain Ron's Bar and Grill. They also went fishing, had some fun on the lake with Iguana Watersports, took a flight over the Lake with AirLake Aviation, went on an excursion on the Tom Sawyer Paddlewheeler at Bagnell Dam and shopped at Blair's Landing on Main Street.
Kelly says the Lake of the Ozarks was an obvious choice for the show and that she looks forward to introducing viewers to all that the area has to offer. "With the beautiful lake scenery and fun activities for all ages, the Lake of the Ozarks is a perfect fit for our family travel program," she says. "It's already a popular vacation destination for Midwestern families, and we are thinking that people living in other parts of the country will find that it's worth the trip."
"Whether you want to do nothing but relax on the water, have an adventure in the great outdoors or take part in the many attractions for people of all ages, this lake vacation has something for everyone," Kelly concludes.
"Family Travel with Colleen Kelly," which helps families plan memorable vacations, reaches 90 percent of the country on National Public Television stations and recently was picked up by APT Worldwide for international distribution. Each half-hour episode gives viewers a personalized, behind-the-scenes tour of must-see locations throughout the U.S. and abroad.
About Colleen Kelly: As a family travel expert and modern-day parent, Colleen Kelly isn't afraid to kick back, get a little messy and have fun. In addition to being co-creator, co-executive producer and host of "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly," she was the Emmy-nominated executive producer of NBC's successful show "24/7 Chicago." She is the co-creator of that show and is currently its travel correspondent. Colleen is also a featured travel expert for a top Chicago morning TV show. She frequently speaks at high-profile travel conferences and is often used as an expert source for media stories and interviews regarding travel topics.