1. Hunt for Morel Mushrooms
Shhh… hunting spots are a secret.
Any forager will tell you, springtime is the best time to hunt for the elusive morel mushroom. These coveted fungi have a short growing season and cook up into some awfully tasty treats. Some foragers prefer to keep their hunting locations secret, but we found general tips from the Missouri Department of Conservation: A good rule of thumb is to start searching for morels after a week of nighttime temperatures above 50°F and plenty of recent rain. Morels grow on moist, leaf-covered hardwood forest floors and near river bottoms.
2. Go to Silver Dollar City
399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy., Branson,
The park is seasonal and opened for 2015 last month. But April is one of our favorite times to visit because the painful heat of summer hasn’t hit yet, and neither have the monstrous summertime crowds. You can visit and have the place practically to yourself if you play your cards right (and by that we mean play hooky from work and go during the week—check silverdollarcity.com to find the operational calendar). This month even marks the beginning of the always-entertaining World-Fest, an extra perk of a springtime visit.
3. Float the Buffalo
Buffalo Outdoor Center, buffaloriver.com
Like to take in gorgeous scenery while you paddle a canoe down the Buffalo National River? Well, April is prime time for this! Once the summer heat begins and the spring rains slow down, the Buffalo becomes less and less floatable in some areas.
4. Get the Full Farmers’ Market Experience
loveyourfarmer.com, springfieldfarmersmarket.com, and many more
Sure, many of the local farmers’ markets are open year-round, but the experience just isn’t the same in the dead of winter. It doesn’t have that same market buzz. But in April, things start to pick up again. You’ll begin to see lettuces, spinach, radishes and other early season goodies. Before you know it, you’ll be tossing peaches and tomatoes into your basket and muscling through the crowds.
5. Visit the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield
This lovely spot reopens in April. The trees are blooming, the grass is greening, and it’s the perfect time to walk around the park’s paths, koi lake, tea house and more. And there’s an extra-special bonus: Stress relief. We can’t think of many scenic spots that make us feel more relaxed than the Japanese stroll garden. It’s secluded, so all you hear is the occasional ripple of water or rustle of a breeze through the trees. This place is a true treat.