Entertainment and Recreation
The richness of a community can be measured by the quality of its cultural activities and resources. Warrensburg has a great variety of assets that make it a wonderful place to visit and live.
University of Central Missouri
Thanks to the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg is a regional center for culture and the arts. Each year, the university’s Performing Arts Series brings nationally renowned artists and entertainers to town, while the Oppenheimer Lecture Series features some of the world’s leading thinkers, writers and political leaders. There are numerous concerts, exhibits and plays showcasing the work of university students and faculty members.
The university’s public radio and television stations, KTBG-FM and KMOS-TV, broadcast art and cultural programming that includes drama, documentaries, concerts, children’s programming, and radio shows in a great mix of music genres.
The Warrensburg community sponsors a number of popular events including –
- The Wings Over Whiteman Air Show is hosted by Whiteman Air Force Base. This summer time favorite routinely attracts over 150,000 visitors to the Warrensburg area.
- The Johnson County Fair held in July, and the Johnson County Rodeo in September are annual events led by the Johnson County Fair Association to showcase the local agricultural industry and 4-H Clubs.
- The University of Central Missouri’s Homecoming parade and football game in October.
Other events include the Scottish Highland Games, an Earth Day festival, the university’s Family Weekend, downtown Trick-or-Treat, auto races during the summer months, and seasonal home, art and craft shows.
The $6.2 million Warrensburg Community Center with its indoor aquatic center (including a zero-depth entry pool, lap pool, children’s pool, whirlpool, slides and diving boards), walking track, weight room, gymnasium, art and craft room, meeting rooms, full kitchen, and senior center is a fine example of the city meeting the needs of residents. Recreation opportunities abound in Warrensburg and the community prides itself on the number of recreational activities offered to the young and the young at heart. For more information, contact Warrensburg Parks and Recreation at (660)747-7178 or visit www.warrensburg-mo.com.
The Warrensburg Branch of the Trails Regional Library offers a full slate of programs including children’s story hours, book talks, film presentations, and reader assistance. The seven libraries within the district maintain more than 137,000 volumes, and the materials available include books, periodicals, and audio/visual media. The Warrensburg Branch of Trails Regional is located in downtown Warrensburg.
The Johnson County Historic Complex on the west side of town is home to several unique structures. The historic 1838 courthouse is one of the few examples of Federal-style architecture west of the Mississippi River. This stucco-covered brick building was restored to its former beauty during the early 1960s. The courthouse has been the scene of a pre-civil-war murder, a daring raid for the purpose of stealing/preserving the county records throughout the war between states, and the Old Drum Trial in 1870. The defense’s closing argument was a moving speech about the dedication and loyalty of dogs, and is said to be the origin of the phrase “A dog is a man’s best friend.”
Other buildings on the property include the Miller Smiser Heritage Library (built in 1985 to house a collection of materials concerning county history, family genealogy, and newspapers); the Agriculture Building (a large collection of farm machinery and artifacts about the development of farm machinery); and the One Room School (built in 1911 and moved from Elm, Missouri to the Historical Society grounds in 1995).
The University of Central Missouri Archives & Museum houses a variety of exhibits focusing on the history of the University of Central Missouri, and local natural history. The university’s Art Center Gallery features works by outside artists, as well as exhibition spaces filled with student works.
Throughout Warrensburg, and on the University of Central Missouri campus, you can find softball diamonds, tennis courts, golf courses, volleyball courts, basketball courts, racquetball and handball facilities, walking areas, and swimming pools. The Warrensburg Parks and Recreation system consists of 12 parks, 402 acres, hiking trails, skate park, eight tennis courts, and five playgrounds. A new aquatic center is expected to open in summer 2009. For more information, contact Warrensburg Parks and Recreation at (660) 747-7178 or visit www.warrensburg-mo.com.
Warrensburg is home to two 18-hole golf courses within the city limits, and one near Whiteman Air Force Base. Keth Memorial Golf Course, built in 1971, is owned and operated by the University of Central Missouri. This full-service, newly renovated 18-hole facility is equipped with a snack bar and pro shop, and is open to the public. Hidden Pines Country Club is a semi-private club with an 18-hole golf course. The club offers a snack bar, pro shop, pool, banquet facilities, and a bar. Royal Oaks Golf Course is associated with Whiteman Air Force Base and is open to the public via their guest program. There is a pro shop and snack bar on-site.
The beautiful Blind Boone Park, a tribute to renowned jazz pianist and composer John William “Blind” Boone, features a 20-foot gazebo with electricity, a life-size steel and bronze sculpture depicting Boone, a 13-foot-tall wind harp, plants native to our area, plus a sensory garden for the visually impaired. Other amenities include a reflexology walkway, roped pathways, type, Braille and audio information signs, ADA-approved bathrooms, wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, a shuffleboard court, and horseshoe pits.
Powell Gardens, just 25 minutes west on 50 Highway, hosts dozens of activities throughout the year, including a Festival of Butterflies exhibit, plant sales, a wedding planner fair, and numerous holiday-themed events.
Knob Noster State Park is located eight miles east of Warrensburg between Whiteman Air Force Base and Warrensburg. The park encompasses more than 3,500 acres and offers fishing, camping areas, covered pavilions, picnic areas, an equestrian trail and camp, and restroom facilities. The park has a nature center with exhibits, several small lakes, a small stream, and many trails for exploring. Several WPA-era buildings are still in use.
Just outside Warrensburg, east on Highway 50 in Montserrat, Bristle Ridge Vineyards offers lovely views, meeting and event facilities, wine tasting, a gift shop, decks to enjoy the sunset, and delicious wines from locally grown grapes.
For more information about amenities and events in the Warrensburg area, contact the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber and Visitors Center at (660) 747-3168, toll-free at (877) OLD-DRUM, or visit www.visitwarrensburg.org.