Industrial Development Authority of Stoddard County, Missouri

Tourism

Attractions         Visitors to Stoddard County have an opportunity to see the Bootheel region as it once was. Early visitors marveled at the vast swampland and the variety of wildlife. Some spoke of the fields full of game, wild cattle, deer, turkeys, partridge, parrots, quail, woodcocks, wild pigeons and ring doves.
Canadian Goose at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.        A visit to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge is reminiscent of those early visitors. The Refuge, located off Highway 51, north of Puxico, was formed over 18,000 years ago. The 21,676-acre refuge preserves a remnant of the vast swampland that once covered most of the Bootheel and is home to various waterfowl and other migratory birds. It is the only large tract of bottomland forest left in the Bootheel of Missouri. A visitor's center is open year round. Hiking, canoeing, fishing and nature study is allowed during daylight hours from March 15 through September 30. Limited picnic facilities are also available. From October through March, visitors should stop by the headquarters before venturing into the refuge.
        Mingo is also home to the Mingo Job Corps Center. This is a voluntary program for young men and women, ages 16-25, who have had limited opportunities for success in school or work. See schools for more information.
Waterfowl are frequent visitors to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and Duck Creek Wildlife Management Area.         Excellent hunting and fishing can be found at the Duck Creek Wildlife Management Area, located north of Puxico on Highway 51. The 6,190-acre area offers waterfowl hunting and some of the best bluegill and bass fishing in the state.
Get a closer view of nature at Otter Slough Conservation Area located Southwest of Dexter.         Southwest of Dexter on Highway ZZ is where you'll find the Otter Slough Conservation Area. Made up of 4,866 acres, the area is managed primarily for species associated with wetlands such as migratory waterfowl, mink, otter, herons, egrets and many kinds of shore birds. Open marsh areas provide natural seeds, tubers and invertebrates, all important waterfowl foods.
1833 Log cabin at the Bloomfield City Park.         In Bloomfield, you'll want to visit the City Park, home of two log cabins built in 1833 by Morton Barnett in what was the swampland near Clines Island. These rare and well-preserved survivors of pioneer days were moved to the park for public display. Built of hand-hewn poplar logs, one stands two stories high with a dog run through the center. The second log cabin is a one-story structure. The Holly Ridge Conservation Area west of Bloomfield makes for a nice scenic drive.
Stars and Stripes Museum in Bloomfield, MO         Bloomfield is the birthplace of the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. The Stars and Stripes Museum is headquartered here just off Highway 25. The Stoddard County Courthouse, listed on the National Historic Register, is located in Bloomfield. Visitors can tour the building, veiw the war memorial on the lawn, and see the historical marker of the first county court.
Heritage House in Dexter, MO.         Dexter, the largest city in Stoddard County, has several parks and a 12-acre fishing lake. The Heritage House, located on a site adjacent to the lake, is one of the oldest houses in Dexter. This 1876 house is now a living museum with period furnishings. Also available for tours is The Heritage Museum and The Heritage Caboose. The Museum holds the history of Dexter in photos and artifacts, and also houses a genealogy research room. Seasonally, visitors can enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations at the Hickory Log Restaurant. .

Log Cabin Library in Puxico, MO         In Puxico, visitors can see the only log cabin library still in use in the continental states. Built in the 1930s by the WPA, the building is on the State Historical Register and will soon be on the National Register. The Old Depot is a must-see for railroad enthusiasts as well as the caboose housed there. Friends and family gather each August for Puxico's annual Homecoming, which celebrated its 50th year in 1996. Good food is abundant at this annual event! About 10 miles east of Puxico is the Crowley's Ridge Wildlife Area where you can enjoy pretty scenery.
        In Bernie, Bloomfield and Dexter, murals have been painted on the sides of various buildings, depicting the history of the area. For additional information on a visit to Stoddard County, contact the Dexter Chamber of Commerce at 1-800- 332-8857, or contact the IDASC. Ross Cotton Gin is available for tours during the season. See an actual cotton gin in operation from boll to bale. Located on KK, 2 miles to Frisco.

ANNUAL EVENTS

Murals throughout Bernie showcase work of talented local artists.         Eagle Days - This free event is held each February at Mingo Wildlife Refuge. Visitors are treated to a look at America's national bird plus displays and guided eagle watches.

        100 Mile Yard Sale - This popular event takes place along Highway 25 from Jackson to Kennett on Memorial Day weekend (Thursday through Monday). Businesses and individuals set up their sales to welcome shoppers from around Missouri and surrounding states.

Chuckwagon Races at the Holly Ridge Ranch.             Missouri State Racking Horse Championship - Racking horses from around the state compete for prizes at this annual event held the first Saturday in June.

        Puxico Homecoming - Sponsored by the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, this event, always begining on the second Tuesday of August and running through the following Saturday, is host to thousands of visitors and features carnival rides, reunions, a parade, and world famous goat burgers.

        Stoddard County Fair - Food, fun, games and rides highlight this annual event held every September in Dexter.

        Christmas Cantata - Presented each year in mid-December by the First Baptist Church in Dexter, this three-hour music presentation is a favorite of the holiday events held in the area.

      Bloomfield Lions Club Cars in the Park
- Scheduled on the third Saturday in May, this event features cars and trucks of all makes and models for viewing. Vehicles are judged and trophies awarded, including a five foot "Best of Show". There's food and entertainment surrounding this event held in the Bloomfield City Park.

      Bloomfield Fall Fest - Carnival-like atmosphere surrounds the courthouse square during the annual Fall Fest held on the first Saturday in October. Festivities begin with a parade and continue with Fall Fest pageants, Halloween costume competitions, and lots of food, games & entertainment.

If you would like a Stoddard County Tourism Packet, please email us with your name and address at info@idasc.com

Recreation

Houck Park in Puxico offers a beautiful setting for a picnic, children's activities or a game of tennis.     The Stoddard County area offers a great climate for business as well as pleasure. Our abundance of parks, tennis courts, swimming pools and golf courses make it possible for everyone to relax and enjoy life.
    If you enjoy fishing, head to the Duck Creek Wildlife Management Area for bluegill or bass. At Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, fishing is permitted for bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Just a half-hour west of Stoddard County is Lake Wappapello where you can fish, boat or just soak up some sun.
Enjoy a picnic, tennis, or the playground at the Bernie City Park

  Golfers can enjoy a game at Crowley's Ridge Recreation Center in Bloomfield or Hidden Trails Country Club in Dexter. Pack up a picnic and head to any one of our city's parks. You'll find them clean and green! Maybe you'd enjoy an afternoon of antiquing. Stoddard County has an abundance of antique stores and flea markets. The kids won't get bored with a visit to the Bootheel Youth Museum, located just south of Stoddard County in Malden. This hands-on museum offers 50 exhibits for children to explore.

Fishing, a favorite pasttime

     Art exhibits, concerts and sporting events are just 42 miles away at Cape Girardeau's Southeast Missouri State University or the Show-Me Center. Poplar Bluff, 25 miles west of Stoddard County hosts national events at its new Black River Coliseum.
     Civil War history abounds throughout Southeast Missouri and in Bloomfield, birthplace of the famous military newspaper Stars and Stripes, visit the new Stars and Stripes Museum/Library.

One of the many antique malls
     
One of 2 Stoddard County Golf Courses         Mother Nature is very kind to Stoddard County, giving us beautiful Dogwood trees in bloom in the spring and wondrous colors in the fall.
        There is much to see and do in Stoddard County. We feel you'll enjoy your visit no matter the season!
Nature trails at Mingo National Wildlife Preserve
     
     

Additional Attractions can be seen on our history page.

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