Just like the title says, you can take a cruise out onto the river with sailings every couple of hours. Relax and enjoy a drink, listen to some intereresting river facts as you sail up and down on an actual steam riverboat almost like a relic from the past. This was one of the brightest spots of the trip. I recommend you do this after the shops close because its cool and relaxing. The evening cruises serve dinner and I heard they sometimes have live music for dancing. Tickets were about $10 for the daytime cruise.
The cave Mark Twain wrote about in his novel Tom Sawyer, wherein Tom and Becky get lost, is really like a giant grid of passages with some neat attractions inside. Apparently when Mark Twain wrote about the cave, he really kept it close to reality. The cave is of the limestone variety, and was formed from the erosion by water and drainage. See my travelogue for pictures, but this is something you really want to do if you come to Hannibal. The total dark exhibit is cool. (They turn out the lights for 20 seconds or so.) The cost is $8 per person and everything is very safe, very well lighted and guided.
This is a bluff overlooking Hannibal and the river. Its an excellent place to take pictures. Apparently, if you sail down the river you will find a lot of these bluffs, all having the name Lover's Leap. Thsi one in particular has a legend of an Indian brave and Indian princess from warring tribes falling in love and, aftger being discovered, dodging the war parties by jumping over the steep cliff rather than live apart.
There are a number of homes and shops to tour along the water front and also going up the somewhat steep streets. The pitch down to the Mississippi is a site to behold. The houses and area has all been restored and done quite nicely to take you back in time what it ws like in the late 1800's
This is the place to see in Hannibal. Tour the home, both up and down and see the fence that Tom had everyone paint for him! Its a good way to understand where Samuel Clemens was coming from.
The tickets ($8 for adults) includes The Interpretive Center, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home, the Boyhood Home Gift Shop, the Huckleberry Finn House, the Becky Thatcher House, the J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, the Grant's Drug Store/Pilaster House, and the Museum Gallery.
March: 9:00 - 4:00; Sundays 12:00 - 4:00
April: 9:00 - 5:00 Daily
May: 8:00 - 5:00 Daily
June, July, August: 8:00 - 6:00 Daily New for 2006 Fridays & Saturdays the Museum will be open until 7:00 p.m.!
September & October: 9:00 - 5:00 Daily
November through February: 10:00 - 4:00; Sundays: 12:00 - 4:00
Becky Thatchers home is little more than a gift shop -- the upstairs has a little bit to see, but the downstairs is all a gift shop. Since your ticket to Tom Sawyers House includes Becky's house, make sure to stop by. Its just across the street when you exit Tom's house.
Cameron & Mark Twain Caves are sooo cool. Well worth the visit. Bring a sweater or jacket. It is cold, even in the summertime.
SUMMER -8am to 8pm
April-May- 9am to 6pm
Sept.-Oct.- 9am to 6pm
Nov.-March- 9am to 4pm
Admission free for kids under 5, $6 for kids 5-12 and $12 for people 12 and up.
We were lucky for having arrive in the late afternoon to see this festivity for we had not planned for it at all. It was a Friday evening, and we hoped to simply have a glimpse of the famous town where legendary Mark Twain was born and raised. I was most amused by the mud volleyball.
The small house in which Mark Twain grew up and lived during the 1830's is well-preserved and guarded by an excellent museums that documents his formative years. At that time , Missouri was a slave state and the economic heart of the midwest due to the life-giving commerce off the Mississippi River. The museum discusses how the young Samuel Clemens may have come about his anti-slavery views, to include the social contact he may have had with young black children and/or adults. It also introduces many of the other characters in his life, many whom were models for characters in his work. You'll enjoy a trip here and be able to purhase some of Mark Twain's books in the gift shop -- make sure you get them stamped as coming from his home!
Since the Riverboat is such a Mississippi icon, and Hannibal was such a riverboat town, there is no better way to experience both places by taking a ride on a riverboat. You'll circle north to the bridge, then turn south on the Illinois side before circling back towards Hannibal in Missouri. All during this time you can sit on the deck, enjoy the breeze and listen to a narrative about the town, the river, Mark Twain and riverboating itself. You'll learn about the legend of the bluffs, the ice houses that used to have their caves along the riverbanks and the perpetual flooding brought by Big Muddy. When we took our trip, we were one of the few passengers on board, so we got to move side to side to get close looks at everything the tourguide mentioned.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home And Museum
Visit this pedestrian mall area that features the MUSEUM ANNEX, THE MARK TWAIN BOYHOOD HOME, THE MARK TWAIN MUSEUM, THE BECKY THATCHER, THE JOHN M. CLEMENS JUSTICE OF THE PEACE OFFICE, THE GRANT’S DRUG STORE/PILASTER HOUSE and THE NEW MARK TWAIN MUSEUM.
Another famous native of Hannibal was the irrepressible and unsinkable Molly Brown. A child of Irish immigrants, Margaret lived in Hannibal until the age of 18 when she moved to Leadville, Colorado to work as a clerk in a store. There she met and married J.J. Brown, a prominent goldmine owner and engineer. Margaret became an educated woman, even a writer for Denver newspaper. She was enroute from Europe to Hannibal on the Titanic's maiden voyage when the ship collided with an iceberg. Margaret survived, of course, and became well known. Some say that she never went by the name Molly during her lifetime, and that name was dreamed up for the musical 'The Unspeakable Molly Brown.'
A museum dedicated to her life is located here.
There is a park and boat ramp on the Mississippi. To get there one has to walk or drive across the railroad tracks, which are in routine use. Naturally, an excursionary paddlewheeler has regular trips that leave from the waterfront.
America's greatest author has a memorial lighthouse on the hill over Hannibal. Built in 1935, this lighthouse has been visited by American presidents Roosevelt and Clinton. Unfortunately, we arrived to late to visit. But, here are some images of the picnic area and other places within the park. There's a fine bronze statue of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Twain's most enduring character's
....Okay, it's just a fence and Tom Sawyer never really existed, right? So, you still wonder if this guy is paying or being paid to paint the fence.
....For those who don't know the famous storyline from the opening of the novel Tom Sawyer, Tom was being punished for his normal prankish behavior by having to wash the fence. When the kids of the town came by to make fun of him, he convinced them that he was painting the fence because he WANTED to and it was so much fun he wouldn't let them do it even if they paid him. The reverse psychology worked and soon he had legions of Hannibal's youngest generation paying him to whitewash the fence while he watched.
....Before you laugh too hard, consider this: wouldn't you pay a dollar just to paint a slat or two of this fence so that you coould say you painted Tom Sawyer's fence and paid for it. You would, wouldn't you?