Fun Lake Blog

Kidding Around at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks

June 18, 2024

Kidding Around at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO -- Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks has always been the go-to vacation spot for families across the Midwest. There is plenty for everyone in the family to enjoy, but for the kids in the family, the Lake of the Ozarks is something really special. There are water parks, arcades, go-karts, putt-putt courses, great fishing and so much more to do that kids of all ages never get bored at the Lake.

"The Lake of the Ozarks is such a huge hit with kids," says Lagina Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association. "They love the variety of activities and options for fun things to do. I know my grandkids, who are very active, love coming to visit us because they get to go out on the water, go swimming, go climbing at the Malted Monkey and splash around at Big Surf. They are always ready to come visit and they never want to leave."

Lake of the Ozarks Kids BoatingENDLESS AQUATIC FUN

When you have a water playground as large as the Lake of the Ozarks, there is no shortage of aquatic fun.

Swimming has been a prominent vacation activity at the Lake since it was first created in 1931 and many waterfront resorts, condominium complexes or campgrounds have swimming docks for their guests' enjoyment. In addition, many resorts and restaurants around the Lake of the Ozarks have sandy swimming beaches and/or swimming pools for their guests to enjoy as well. Plus, Lake of the Ozarks State Park has two popular sandy swimming beaches that are free and open to the public. So, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to taking a dip at the Lake.

If a family is more interested in water slides than swimming, then the Lake of the Ozarks' two waterparks are sure to please. Big Surf Waterpark in Linn Creek is an outdoor water park open annually from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Big Surf Activity Pool and its lily pad bridge can keep the kids busy for hours. Zambezi Falls, a three-story tall half-pipe of rushing water, thrills adults and older kids, too. The Challenger Flumes are dueling 300-foot water slides, twisting and turning their way down to a catch pool. Visitors also can float leisurely down the Lazy River or choose The Rapids for a white water float. Other attractions include a large wave pool and the tropical-themed Splash Island featuring small water slides, teeter-totters and squirting animal fountains for younger children.

Kid's at Big Surf at Lake of the OzarksJolly Mon Indoor Water Park, located at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Osage Beach, is a tropical-themed water park with 600 feet of water slides, an activity pool, an over-sized whirlpool, and a lazy river for tubing, and floating. In addition, there's a three-story wilderness tree house with slides, bridges, water blasters, tunnels, and a gigantic 600-gallon tipping bucket. This 20,000-square foot family-fun water park is open year around.

In addition to the big waterparks, Bear Bottom Resort in Sunrise Beach has two of the longest water slides in Missouri, each measuring over 700 feet long. And, Coconuts Caribbean Beach Bar and Grill in Gravois Mills has a sandy swimming beach and Bananas Water Park with water slides and swimming pool playground.


Dogpatch Arcade, located on the Historic Bagnell Dam "Strip" in Lake Ozark, keeps vacationers entertained with old-school skee ball games and other arcade classics as well as video games, simulators and more. This arcade has been a family-fun staple along "The Strip" for decades.

Miner Mike's Indoor Family Fun Center in Osage Beach offers entertaining miner-themed indoor activities for younger kids. Numerous token-operated games pay out tickets that can be exchanged for prizes. The

Runaway Mine Train Roller Coaster flies over dips, bends and through a rock tunnel while the Chuck Wagon Ferris Wheel takes riders two stories into the air for a panoramic view of the large entertainment complex. For older children and adults, Buster's Arcade at Miner Mike's features over a million dollars of high-tech arcade games and simulators for hours of gaming fun.

Another option for family gaming is Margaritaville Lake Resort in Osage Beach. Margaritaville features the Fin City Arcade, which has arcade games for all ages; Fin City Billiards, which has pool tables, dart boards and air hockey; and the Fin City Bowling alley, all located on the resort grounds. These activities and attractions are open to the public. Check with Margaritaville for pricing.


For any future race car drivers, the Lake of the Ozarks' different go-kart tracks have always been popular. The newest go-kart attraction is Buster's Garage, located at Miner Mike's. The Lake's only indoor go-kart track is Route 66-themed and is the largest elevated indoor go-kart track in the country. Three other outdoor go-kart tracks dot the Lake area and include Lemans Go-Karts in Lake Ozark, Gran Rally Karts and Winner's Circle Go-Karts, both in Osage Beach. Each track provides action-packed racing fun and offers single- or double-seated cars so mom and dad can race against or race with the kids along the smooth, winding paved racetracks.


For those looking to putt around at the Lake of the Ozarks, there are four miniature golf courses to choose from around the Lake of the Ozarks. Harbor Master Mini Golf at Margaritaville Lake Resort offers 18 challenging holes of putt-putt golf that will test the entire family. Pirate's Cove in Osage Beach is a pirate-themed putt-putt course promising "swashbuckling fun for the whole family" with two 18-hole courses. Putt N' Stuff, also in Osage Beach, features two different 18-hole courses with caves, waterfalls and rivers coming into play. Putt N' Stuff also is home to a bumper cars track and the Gran Rally go-kart track for more family fun. Sugar Creek in Lake Ozark offers the choice of two shady 18-hole courses in a park-like setting with many hazards to test golfer's skills.


Exploring the Ozark terrain on horseback is perhaps one of the most enjoyable and unique experiences available at the Lake of the Ozarks and is a great activity for families, friends and small groups.

There are several stables in the area that offer guided trail rides of various lengths that traverse a variety of landscapes. All the horses are tame and mild mannered and safety precautions are of the utmost concern to the owners and operators. Those interested in saddling up to have some fun will want to reach out to Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue in Linn Creek, Lake of the Ozarks Trail Rides in Eldon, Old Family Fun Trail Rides in Macks Creek and/or Thouvenel Stables at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Osage Beach to check rates and availability.


Malted Monkey, located on the Historic Bagnell Dam "Strip," is one of the Lake's newest family-entertainment options and includes an outdoor ropes course that reaches up to 60-feet high across three levels and features over 45 obstacles. And, when guests are finished "monkeying around," the ground-level cafe and serves smash burgers and custom milkshakes.

At Jetz Trampoline Park in Osage Beach, vacationers can enjoy a variety of trampoline-based activities and games, including foam pits, dodge ball, basketball, "battle" balance beams, a "Top Gun" ninja course, a slack line and a "Little Jet Jump Zone" for the smaller and younger kids.

For older kids, some Lake of the Ozarks activities that might interest them are fishing, golfing, ziplining, parasailing, paddleboarding, kayaking and wakeboarding. There's also hiking trails and four area show caves that offer guided tours.

Your Lake of the Ozarks Adventure Awaits

Visitors at the Lake of the Ozarks can choose from full-service luxury resorts, family-owned resorts, charming bed and breakfasts, rustic cabins, campgrounds and RV parks, spacious vacation rental homes and condominiums, as well as hotels and motels to complete the perfect Lake stay.

For more fun vacation ideas, or to learn more about all the year around events, attractions, as well as lodging and dining options available at the nation's "Best Recreational Lake" and "Best Lake for Water Sports," call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 1-800-FUN-LAKE, or visit

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This article was written for Tri-County Lodging Association by The Beenders Walker Group | 125 E High St. Suite 200 | Jefferson City, MO 65101 US.

For media assistance or high-resolution photography, please call The Beenders-Walker Group at 573-636-8282 or email Kyle Stewart, Jo Duncan, or Marjorie Beenders.

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