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What’s cool in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MISSOURI (WSIL) -- The city offers tons of activities for residents and visitors from restaurants, museums and art galleries in its historic downtown to nature trails for the outdoor enthusiasts just a short drive away.

Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center:

The center is 8,000 square feet with exhibits highlighting life in Southeast Missouri. That includes animals like fresh water fish, a two-headed snake that's a real eye-catcher, and native plants. While other exhibits are interactive and depict the history of the area such as Native Americans and pioneers

Outside, there's more than two miles of trails ranging from ADA-friendly, which are paved, to trails that are more challenging with hills.

Alex Holmes, a Naturalist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says there's a little something for everyone.

"We get a pretty wide visitors,' he explains. "We've gotten different senior groups that come out and use our facility for different purposes. We also have a lot of a families that come."

On top of all that, the nature center offers different educational and sometimes hands-on programs throughout the year. Those are offered to school groups and the general public.

One of those programs starting in the fall is identifying wild mushrooms that are edible. 

For more details on the conservation center, follow the link here.

Ebb and Flow Fermentations:

The establishment at the corner of Spanish and Independence Streets opened in July 2018 as a beer bar, and became its own brewery in March 2019.

On an average day, they serve 9 to 13 of their own beers on tap, and feature a few guest breweries.

Ebb and Flow has a variety of beer types from sours -- what they're most known for -- to lagers and a few hoppy options.

Owner DeWayne Schaff is always trying to keep things creative and experiment with flavors like a beer made with peaches from Flamm orchards and another with notes of pickle. Maybe a spicy pickle down the road after lots of requests.

Along with great drinks and food to pair, Schaaf wants the brewery to be a place where people can relax and create memories.

"That's kinda what I wanted to recreate here," he remembers about the decision. "An old kind of public house setting per se. A place more divided for conversation, for meeting people, for doing that. We don't have any T.V.s; We don't have any of that."

He and his wife add their house used to be filled with family and friends as the place to gather on Sundays, and that's the atmosphere that they've carried over to Ebb and Flow.

There's a patio outside where visitors can soak up the sunshine surrounded by beautiful flowers. It's also a kid-friendly establishment with outdoor games for the kiddos.

Glenn House:

The home was built in 1883 for Lulu Dean as a wedding gift from her father, who was prominent architect in the area at the time. It depicts what life would be like for upper middle class in the late 1800's.

The home is filled with decorations and furniture from that time period including several pieces owned by the Glenn family.

It's been a historical house museum since 1974 and visitors can take traditional tours or come late a night to see a spookier side.

Christy mershon, who is the President of the Historical Association greater Cape Girardeau, says the crew of  Ghost Hunters stayed at the home for nine-days and put together an episode called The Glenn Family Curse.

"The stories that we had were so compelling, and we too had gotten to a point where we needed a little help and were losing volunteers and docents," she recalls. We really don't think there's anything threatening in the house, but there's definitely a sense that the Glenn family may have never left."

During Halloween and Christmas, the house holds seances and ghost tours for those who are brave enough to visit once the sun goes down. Click here for more information (if you dare!).

Riverside Pottery Studio:

Last but certainly, not least on this list is Riverside Pottery, which recently renovated a former Jewish Synagogue with lots of stained glass.

According to the city's tourism, Riverside Pottery is the only gallery of its kind in Cape Girardeau where the public can come in and make the same kind of pieces that are on display

There are workshops or six-week classes where participants can learn how to make cups, bowls, plates, and other small objects while easy-listening music plays in the background. 

Owner Robert Lorenz, who lives in the Carbondale area, says its open to all skill levels from those who have never touched a pottery wheel to people who have with worked clay before.

"Just come and try it out, there's no pressure or anything," he explains about the studio. "A lot of times people have this idea that they're going to make this beautiful vase or whatever. You can make lumpy little cups. You can make bowls that are too flat. You can make whatever you want as long as you're having fun doing it."

Once participants learn the basics, they can take more advanced classes making larger clay pieces. Some examples include bird feeders, covered jars, and vases.

On top of the studio, there's also a shop in the front featuring Robert's handmade pieces and an exhibit that rotates work from other local artists.

Brooke Schlyer

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