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April 19, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
A whiskey distillery was operated in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park between the 1820s and early 1900s. At its peak, it was Missouri’s No. 2 distillery and generated about 5,000 barrels of whiskey a year, or 17 percent of the state’s whiskey production. Local prohibition laws shut down the factory. No more highballs in the park!
The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department oversees more than 2,900 acres of land and 75 facilities. The largest park, Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area or “Cosmo,” is a whopping 533 acres. That’s four times the size of the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.
Every Columbia spelunker knows about the Devil’s Icebox, a cave in the middle of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. The cave stays 56 degrees all year; most caves maintain their temperature because the limestone insulates the underground area like a basement. Apparently that’s the perfect and only known climate for the pink planarian, a flat worm.
Columbia outlawed skateboarding on streets in the 1990s. Youths and parents protested the decision and teamed up with Parks and Recreation to construct a skate park. In 2009, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk did a few ollies at the park, and in November 2011, Columbia changed the ordinance to allow skateboarding on city streets.
Not only is it a crime to immortalize your summer fling by carving “Joe + Kelly 4ever” into a tree, but it is also illegal to climb one. Don’t pick a flower for a loved one either; a citation from a park ranger will definitely cheapen the mood.