HANNIBAL — Tis the season for outdoor fun and travel but with soaring gas prices, many are choosing to stay closer to home this year.
It’s a great time to rekindle a passion for America’s hometown or discover it for the first time. The Hannibal area has plenty of daily or weekend tours to stay busy throughout the summer months.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum Properties
Hannibal residents can enjoy a full day of education and fun for free in Hannibal by visiting the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum Properties. This includes a tour of historic homes such as Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home, Becky Thatcher’s house, and Huckleberry Finn’s House, where each of the real-life persons behind the character once lived.
The Museum Gallery is a two-stories of interactive exhibits, the Norman Rockwell Gallery, and treasured Clemens family artifacts. Live performances by Mark Twain can be seen at various times throughout the day as well.
You will also have free admission to the Interpretive Center, which includes a timeline of Twain’s life and interactive exhibits, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, where Samuel Clemens’ dad once held court, and Grant’s Drugstore where he and his family once lived upstairs with the Grant family.
For more information on this free opportunity for Hannibal residents call 573-221-9010.
Visit the 120-year old mansion built by lumber baron John J. Cruikshank Jr. for his 2nd wife and four daughters. The Hannibal gem sits high on Bird Street on a limestone bluff in the heart of Hannibal, offering grand views of the Mississippi River, Lover’s Leap and more. The mansion features mostly original antique pieces and personal effects of the original family are preserved and on display in the 13,500 square feet home adorned with late Victorian and Art Nouveau styles.
The mansion is open to the public for tours and is also a bed and breakfast for those who want to make a night of it.
Learn more about Rockcliffe Mansion by visiting their website at rockcliffe.com.
American Hometown Tours, LLC
A bus leaves twice a day from Hannibal to explore the museum displaying artifacts of Mark Twain’s birthplace of Florida, Mo. The tour also includes a visit to the M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center at the modern hydroelectric Clarence Cannon Dam.
For more information call 573-462-8500.
Tour Hannibal Murals
Brush strokes of history can be seen all around Hannibal on a self-guided tour of murals that have been painted in Hannibal. Most of the murals have been painted by muralists Bob Allan and Ray Harvey.
The Visit Hannibal website describes the murals of Hannibal’s Bicentennial in 2019 as “Ghost Signs” which refer to “new paintings of old advertisements that were common on the sides of buildings in the 1800s.
These include the Ladies Shoe advertisement, Bear Creek Lime Co. and the Diamond Jo Line Steamers signs that can be found downtown. These were all items or companies that could once be found in Hannibal.”
The location of murals along with a background of each one can be found by visiting the website of the Hannibal Visitors Center at visithannibal.com.
Hannibal History Truck Tours
Discover the legends and see the views of Hannibal aboard a safari truck through a new daily tour hosted by Mark Twain Cave Complex. Learn new stories of Hannibal history during the 50-minute guided tour.
To purchase tickets or learn more call 573-231-1000.
Cave Tours at Mark Twain Cave Complex
Mark Twain Cave
Echoing from the walls of the Mark Twain Cave is a history like no other. From the hollows that Samuel Clemens once considered a playground to the spot where the notorious Jesse James stopped by on his way to a robbery in Independence, Mo.; the cave is a national landmark and the oldest show cave in Missouri. Walk through the smooth paths of the Mark Twain Cave and relive the history for a 60-minute tour with an experienced guide.
The Cameron Cave is one of Missouri’s newest show caves.
Climb aboard a safari truck and take a trip to the entrance of the Cameron Cave. In a 90-minute walking tour, discover the depths of the cave by flashlight. Those 13 years or above can climb and crawl their way through the cave on a special Adventure Tour hosted by the cave on July 13 or August 13.
For more information visit the Mark Twain Cave Complex online.
The Mark Twain Riverboat
Take a tour of the mighty Mississippi aboard Hannibal’s favorite riverboat.
For an afternoon cruise, take the one-hour sightseeing tour and hear about the history and legends of the river along with some breathtaking views. From Jackson Island, Lover’s Leap and beautiful river views along the way, it’s an hour you won’t forget. Beverages and sandwiches are available on-ship for purchase during these tours.
For a special evening out, book a 2-hour dinner cruise and enjoy live music and dancing with a buffet dinner featuring River Roast Beef, Baked Boneless Chicken Breast and a variety of sides.
For more information on dates and times of cruises call 573-221-3222.
Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tours
Take a walk on the dark side through this history-based haunted Hannibal tour.
From murder, mischief and dark secrets of small-town mayhem, tour Hannibal sites where you might experience a few ghost stories for yourself. A shuttle will take you to the most notoriously haunted sites of Hannibal, including mansions on Millionaires’ Row and a graveyard investigation among the resting place of slaves and Civil War soldiers at Old Baptist Cemetery.
Visit hauntedhannibal.com or call 573-248-1819 to schedule your Hannibal ghost tours.