10 Things to do in Springfield, MO

I've been living in Springfield, MO (on the Missouri State University campus) for almost 9 months and I've done some exploring. I absolutely love it here. In my opinion, it's the perfect sized city for a college student. So, today I'm sharing ten things to do next time you visit Springfield. These are all places I've visited and several I've eaten at because food is always a priority. 

1. Dickerson Park Zoo
  • Admission is $12 for adults. The Zoo is open from 10am-4pm daily between April and September. If you're from Kansas City or Saint Louis, you may be underwhelmed by this Zoo but it's still a good way to spend a day! One of my favorite things is that you can feed the giraffes! You can even take a virtual tour to get a feel for the Zoo before you visit. 

2. Springfield Botanical Gardens
  • I've taken photos for this blog at the Botanical Gardens. This is a great location if you are looking for somewhere to take photos. The day I was there, there were people taking family portraits and senior photos. It's completely free to walk around and there are several gardens to see that are open from sunrise to sunset. There is also a Butterfly House!

3. World's Largest Fork
  • This fork is 35 feet tall and weighs 11 tons. There's not much to do since it's located just outside an ad agency, but it's a fun photo op and you can make a lot of puns. Apparently, it used to stand in front of a restaurant, but that closed. 

4. Attend a Baseball Game
  • Whether it be the Missouri State Bears (bear up!) or the Springfield Cardinals, head to Hammons Field. The home opener for the Cardinals is April 14th but the Bears season is already underway and they're doing great. I highly suggest going to a game!

5. Pineapple Whip! 
  • One of my favorite places in Springfield is Pineapple Whip. It just opened back up for the season. The flavors depend on the day, but there is always pineapple. You can get a cone or a cup for $2.50. If you're not convinced, when we introduced one of my friends to Pineapple Whip she told me it was "the best thing to happen to her."

6. Hurt's Donuts
  • Speaking of food, a trip to Springfield would be incomplete without stopping at Hurt's. They have an endless variety of crazy flavors. My favorite menu item is the milkshake because you get a flavored shake topped with a donut instead of a lid. Hurt's is always full of college students in the evenings. 

7. Bambino's 
  • My friends and I absolutely love this restaurant. The location we usually go to is tucked away in a neighborhood close to our campus. They have incredible bread and really good Italian food. It's not super expensive and it's a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner. They don't take reservations, but you can call in advance if you have a large group. 

8. Bass Pro Shop
  • Known as the "grandaddy of all outdoor stores", this Bass Pro is gigantic. It includes aquariums, a NRA museum, and every camouflage item you could ever imagine. There's also a restaurant inside and a fudge shop! It's easy to spend hours wandering around this huge store. 

9. Lake Springfield
  • If you want to get out into nature, you should definitely explore Lake Springfield. You can fish, canoe or kayak in the lake. There's also plenty of trails to hike and bird watching opportunities. 

10. Visit Missouri State
  • Schedule a tour online and take a look at Missouri State University with one of our University Ambassadors. I found my home here, and I absolutely love it. Make sure you take a photo with the Bear Statue, she even has her own twitter account. We have a beautiful campus and our student body keeps growing each year. 

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Chicago {Day Three}

On our final day in Chicago, we left my friend's apartment by 8am to see the river being dyed green. We met a few of her other friends and tried to see some of the parade. However, there were way too many people around and we weren't prepared to get to the parade early enough. Although we pretty much missed seeing any of the parade, it was really cool to watch them dye the river. This has been a tradition in Chicago for several years, but the dye only lasts five hours, since they use a vegetable dye. 

We didn't have time for anything else that day, since we had to be on our train by five. Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Chicago. It felt a little rushed, since we tried to do as much as we possibly could in three days. However, I enjoyed that more than I would have enjoyed sitting around for a week and spreading everything out.

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Chicago {Day Two}

On our second day in Chicago, we went to Navy Pier and I brought my big camera along with me to get some good photos. We went back to Belmont for lunch at Brazilian Bowl. The friend I was staying with is from Brazil, and she had been wanting to try it, so we went all together. We had some time to relax that afternoon before we went to an exhibition for International Students at Columbia College. My friend helped put it together so it was really cool to see. We then went to Giordano's for deep dish pizza with a few of her friends. 

My day one of Chicago blog post is here! Keep an eye out for day three! If you have any general questions about Chicago, let me know in the comments!

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Chicago {Day One}

My spring break was last week and I caught a train from Saint Louis to Chicago with a friend to explore and see one of our friends from high school for a few days. She is currently studying at Columbia College in Chicago, and her dorm is basically an apartment. We only had a few days but we did as much as we could.

On Thursday, we walked around Millennium Park, saw the bean, and explored the area near the lake. After lunch at Cosi (which is very similar to Panera), we went to the Art Institute of Chicago and were able to see the Van Gogh exhibition. We wandered around there for a few hours. For dinner, we went to Cheesie's, which is a grilled cheese restaurant on Belmont Avenue.  I got The Mac, which was basically a macaroni and cheese stuffed grilled cheese sandwich. 10/10, I would it recommend to anyone who enjoys food. You can check out the rest of their menu here. They also have food trucks all over Chicago in spring and summer. 

Keep an eye out for my next two blog posts, which will be all about what I did in Chicago the next two days of my trip! If you have any questions about my travel experience or the food or what to see in Chicago, let me know in the comments!

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Life Lessons from Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy is an incredibly dynamic TV show. Shonda Rhimes gives us hope, makes us angry, causes uncontrollable sobbing, and brings us laughter, usually all within one episode. She also teaches us valuable life lessons. I am not afraid to admit that I have used direct quotes from Grey's Anatomy when giving one of my friends advice. She doesn't watch the show, but I don't think it's fair for her to miss out on the important lessons that can be learned from all our favorite characters.

Don't change for anyone else.

One action does not define you.

It's okay not to be happy. 

Nobody is perfect.

Work hard and believe in yourself.

Take the chance.

Say it before it is too late.

Trust yourself.  

We all need our person.

And, if all else fails:

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