The College of the Ozarks doesn’t charge tuition. Instead, students at this southwest Missouri school are required to work fifteen hours per week. Student workers in many of those jobs create goods or hospitality experiences available for sale to the general public. We visited the College of the Ozarks, located about four miles from Branson, expecting to spend a couple of hours in the Ralph Foster Museum and to grab a bite to eat in the Dobyns Dining Room. We ended up spending a full five hours on campus, discovering there is much more to explore at the College of the Ozarks besides the museum.
Don’t miss a Midwest Wanderer post. For a FREE subscription, enter your e-mail address in the Subscribe2 box to the left and click Subscribe.
Start at the Keeter Center, the rustic lodge recreated from Dobyns Hall, a lodge that was displayed at the 1904 World’s Fair. The original lodge was moved to the College of the Ozarks where it stood until 1930.
The Keeter Center houses fifteen luxury suites, the Dobyns Dining Room, an ice cream parlor, a gift shop and a small armed services memorial. The Keeter Center is also where you can pick up a map to take a self-guided campus tour.
Plan to eat lunch or dinner in the Dobyns Dining Room (reservations recommended). Many of the ingredients used in the dishes are campus-to-table and some of the other ingredients are sourced locally. All of the vegetables and fruits in my Spinach with Smoked Chicken Salad were raised by the students on campus, and so was my husband’s pork fritter. Yep, they raise pork on campus.
The Maybee Lodge in the Keeter Center offers fifteen suites that accommodate up to six people each. We didn’t stay at the lodge and didn’t see the rooms, but judging from the descriptions and photos on their web site, the suites truly are luxurious. Every room has a fireplace, private balcony and other upscale amenities.
A 12-foot water wheel powers the mill where student workers grind whole-grain meal and flour.
Upstairs in the mill we watched basket weaving and rug weaving demonstrations. Baskets, placemats, rugs and tablecloths that the students make are available for sale.
Ralph Foster Museum
The Ralph Foster Museum is named for an Ozark region radio pioneer instrumental in bringing country music to a national level. Besides broadcasting, the museum includes antique and archaeology exhibits.
The College of the Ozarks, located southwest Missouri’s Point Lookout is an ideal side trip when visiting Branson. Check the web site for hours of the various campus sights or to make reservations for the Dobyns Dining Room or Mabee Lodge.
Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. If you enjoyed this post and would like an e-mail notification when other posts are published, enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe. Be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm.
Other articles that may interest you: