This article is presented in partnership with Missouri Division of Tourism

Hi everyone, it’s me … Road Trip Mo. If you’re ready to explore the open road and get away for the day, have I got a route for you. Stretching across the northern part of Missouri, Highway 36 is known as “The Way of American Genius.” Connecting individuals and inventions, this route features dozens of places that embody creativity, innovation, and ingenuity. 

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, spent much of his boyhood in Hannibal—the Mississippi River town that inspired many of his greatest works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Learn more about the author, humorist, publisher, and lecturer at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum.

Museum of Osteopathic Medicine

In 1892, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still established the country’s first school of osteopathic medicine, A.T. Still University, in Kirksville. Today, more than one hundred thousand doctors have graduated from more than thirty accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. Discover the history of this approach to health care at the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine.

Walt Disney Hometown Museum

As a boy, Walt Disney spent several memorable years in Marceline, a place that nurtured his vivid imagination. He modeled Main Street USA at his Disney theme parks after Marceline’s downtown. Visit the Walt Disney Hometown Museum to explore the early life of the world-famous animator, writer, and entrepreneur.

Home of Sliced Bread Innovation Center

Learn the story behind Chillicothe’s claim to fame at the Home of Sliced Bread Innovation Center. In 1928, the Chillicothe Bakery Company was the first company in the world to sell commercially sliced loaves of bread. See the first bread slicing machine—on loan from the Smithsonian Museum.

Missouri Star Quilt Co.

The town where retail pioneer J.C. Penney was born and raised has been revitalized in recent years by the Missouri Star Quilt Co., known as the “Disneyland of Quilting.” Although its dozen shops are currently closed due to the pandemic, the company continues to operate its online quilting supply business. Drive through downtown Hamilton to see murals honoring the area’s history and the world’s largest spool of thread.

Pony Express National Museum

As the west was being settled, a relay system of horseback riders to deliver the mail was developed in St. Joseph … and the Pony Express was born. With their saddlebags stuffed full of letters, the riders could deliver correspondence far quicker than a stagecoach could. Housed in the stables where the horses were once kept, the Pony Express National Museum features interactive exhibits about the riders’ adventures as they made their way through the untamed wilderness.

The Way of the American Genius is just one of the many trips I can offer you. For more itineraries, visit me and my friends at