Few stops pique the imagination like the Arabia Steamboat Museum in
Kansas City, Missouri. The facility was built to exhibit a 19th-century
vessel that sank five years before the Civil War began. For more than a
century, Arabia lay buried. When it was brought up in 1989, nearly every
item on board was still intact.
A full-size paddle wheel turns at the entrance. A full-scale replica of
the main deck makes up much of the exhibit area. The fabulous cargo,
which included more than 4,000 pairs of leather boots and shoes, is
exhibited in adjoining rooms. In addition, there is a working
preservation laboratory, which visitors can observe.
The 181-foot-long Arabia, built in 1853, operated for three years
on the Ohio and Missouri rivers. It was en route from St. Louis to Sioux
City, Iowa, in September 1856, loaded with 222 tons of cargo and 130
passengers, when it struck a tree snag and sank near Kansas City.
The Arabia Steamboat Museum is located just off the interstate at
400 Grand Avenue and has a huge parking lot. Open daily; admission is
$8.50 for adults, $8 for seniors. Call (816) 471-1856 for further