If you are headed to Fort Leonard Wood for your Soldiers’s graduation ceremony, you definitely want to spend some time off-base. After 10 weeks of training on-post, your new Soldier is most likely desiring a change in scenery and some R&R outside of base.
To help you and your new Soldier celebrate their accomplishments we’ve compiled a list of the things to do in and around Fort Leonard Wood on graduation weekend.
Explore Miller’s Cave
Fort Leonard Wood, located in the Missouri Ozarks, is surrounded by beautiful outdoor terrain and dense forests. While the weather can be on the cooler side, exploring the outdoors of the Ozarks is a great way to spend quality time with your Soldier if you like nature.
Miller’s Cave is located roughly 12 miles (30 minutes) from Fort Leonard Wood and is a serene location to sit and talk, eat lunch or just drive by. The cave offers beautiful views of the treeline canopy, has four different entrances and is even featured at the Washington D.C. Smithsonian where artifacts from the cave are displayed.
Read more about the history of human occupancy from 7,000 B.C. to 1,4000 A.D. in the cave here, or go visit and see for yourself.
Visit the U.S. Army Engineer Museum
If you are hoping to stay close to or even on base, visiting the U.S. Army Engineer Museum is a great option. The museum is located on base and admission is free, but you must follow the regulation guidelines for getting onto base.
The museum mainly focuses on the history of the development of Army Engineers and Army engineering equipment. Engineer tools and special weapons are featured in displays to showcase the growth of the Army engineers over time. Displays about WWII Mobilization Buildings detail the history of the Fort during WWII when it was used as an Italian and German internment fort.
Tour Bluff Dwellers Cave
Bluff Dwellers Cave is another great outdoor adventure to embark upon with your Soldier.
While Miller’s Cave is open to the public and self-explanatory, Bluff Dwellers Cave offers tours through the cave. The visitor’s center has its own museum that explores the cave in historic and archaeological detail.
With multiple sand-colored caves and wildlife throughout, you are sure to enjoy exploring this unique side of Fort Leonard Wood. If you are accompanied by younger children, this option is great, as they offer other activities at the cave and museum such as gem panning.
Ages 12+ $17/person
Ages 4-11 $8/person
Eat at Blackjack Bar & Grill or Ozark Tavern
Crunched on time but need a bite to eat? The Blackjack Bar & Grill and Ozark Tavern are two options for restaurants on base.
The Blackjack Bar & Grill is only open Wednesday through Saturday, 11am-1pm, and 5pm-10pm. The establishment offers a fun bar environment with TVs and a pool table.
The Ozark Tavern is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11am-9pm. A more family-oriented restaurant, the tavern offers sit-down booths, a full-service menu and an outdoor patio. View the Ozark Tavern menu.
Bowl at Daugherty Bowling Center
If you’re looking for an indoor, on-base activity, going bowling at the Daugherty Bowling Center is the perfect way to do so.
Located right on Fort Leonard Wood, the bowling center has 40 bowling lanes with automatic scoring systems. The center also offers glow-in-the-dark bowling sessions along with plenty of other fun ways to bowl with family and friends.
There is also a gaming room equipped with an Xbox if your Soldier considers themselves a gamer. The “Strike Zone” offers food and snacks to carry you over for lunch or a late afternoon snack.
Daugherty Bowling Center is open Monday through Thursday 10:30am-9pm, Friday through Saturday 10:30am-12am and Sunday 10:30am-6pm.
$2.25/ shoe rental
In addition to real golfing on base, Fort Leonard Wood also offers mini-golf. The 23,000 square-foot golf course offers 18 holes of mini-golf with waterfalls and other challenging obstacles.
The golf course is part of the Fort’s “Rec Plex,” the Fort’s recreation center. The recreation center offers a public Olympic-size swimming pool and go-karting in addition to the mini-golf. Mini-golf is available to all ages and is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Ages 16+: $9/ person
Ages 4-15: $5/ person
Ages 3 and under: Free
Combo packs are available for mini-golf, go-karts and swimming access.
Treat Yourself at Uranus Fudge Factory
A unique off-base site, the Uranus Fudge Factory is a popular fudge factory near Fort Leonard Wood. Right off of the historic Route 66, Uranus Fudge Factory offers other things to do in the complex. These include a restaurant/ pub, “Creamery and Funnel Cakery,” an escape room, museum, and outdoor store.
Only 10 minutes (5 miles) from Fort Leonard Wood, Uranus Fudge Factory offers a fun and whimsical blend of experience.
Eat at Sweetwater Bar-B-Que
Looking for a place to eat off base? Sweetwater Bar-B-Que is recommended as one of the best BBQ joints in the local Fort Leonard Wood area.
With a casual dining environment, Sweetwater Bar-B-Que offers different platter and dinner combinations for lunch and dinner. Family-owned and operated, you’re sure to receive a personable and hospitable service. View the Sweetwater Bar-B-Que menu.
There are a lot of options for things to do in Fort Leonard Wood. Make sure to check with your trainee about their off-base pass regulations on Graduation Day.
For Family Day, the day before graduation, new Soldiers are not permitted to leave base. Make sure to plan your visit accordingly.
On graduation day, Soldiers are only permitted to leave base within a 30-40 mile radius of post. Most of the off-base options we’ve listed above are within this boundary, but be sure to double-check when exploring beautiful Fort Leonard Wood.