Exciting New Developments are Taking Place in the Midwest

Activities, GTD

From Chicago to Winterset, Iowa, a slew of new attractions are opening in 2023


In the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage will present Warhol: Featuring Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop/Works from the Bank of America Collection from June 3-September 10, 2023. The exhibition will feature 94 works on loan through Bank of America’s Art in Our Communities program, plus Warhol works from the college’s permanent collection. It will include a biographical exhibit, video installation, interactive mural, Studio 54 experience and Central Park-inspired outdoor cafe. (warhol2023.org)

The Art Institute of Chicago presents the exhibition Van Gogh and the Avant-Garde: Along the Seine from May 14 to September 4, 2023. On display will be works by Post-Impressionist artists who flocked to industrialized suburbs northwest of Paris from 1882 to 1890 to experiment with color and paint application. Among those represented are Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Emile Bernard and Charles Angrand. Their subject matter included bridges, embankments, factories, parks and villages. The exhibition is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. (artic.edu)

Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island kicks off 2023 with We Will Rock You, a musical featuring more than 20 hit Queen songs, January 2-March 11. The season continues with Grumpy Old Men: The Musical, March 17-May 6; Mamma Mia!, May 12-July 8; Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville, July 14-September 9; and The Outsider, a political comedy, September 15-November 4. (circa21.com)

The Obama Presidential Center, now under construction in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago, is expected to open in late 2025. The campus will feature museum exhibits on the 44th U.S. president, a public plaza, children’s play area, Great Lawn and a Sky Room that will offer panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the downtown skyline. (obama.org)

Obama Foundation Plaza

Obama Foundation unveiled TWBTA designed Obama Presidential Center.


The John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset recently unveiled an expansion that more than doubled its exhibition space. On display in the new wing are a model of Wayne’s customized Safari station wagon, a model of his Wild Goose yacht, the original Irish horse cart from The Quiet Man and a major installation on Wayne’s epic 1960 movie The Alamo. (johnwaynebirthplace.museum)


The Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson has announced the following shows for 2023: The Music Man, February 23-April 9; Grumpy Old Men: The Musical, April 13-May 28; Legends in Concert – Direct from London, June 1-July 16; Mary Poppins, July 20-September 3; and Scrooge the Musical, November 2-December 23. (firesidetheatre.com)


The Cleveland Museum of Art presents The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England from February 26 to May 14, 2023. The exhibition traces the transformation of the arts in Tudor England through more than 80 objects—including iconic portraits, spectacular tapestries, manuscripts, sculpture and armor—from both the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection and international lenders. (clevelandart.org)


The 2023 playbill at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis will feature Footloose the Musical, February 9-March 26; An American in Paris, March 30-May 14; Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, May 18-July 9; Sophisticated Ladies, July 13-August 20; Grumpy Old Men: The Musical, August 24-October 1; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, October 5-November 19; and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, November 24-December 31. (beefandboards.com)

Fireside Music Man ladies

A scene from The Music Man at Fireside Dinner Theatre.


The new St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, four times the size of the previous museum and equipped with the latest technology, just opened in Creve Coeur. On display are artifacts from victims of the Nazi regime’s systemic murder of millions of European Jews and others. Videos provide accounts from survivors and liberators. (stlholocaustmuseum.org)

The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the country’s oldest such garden in continuous operation, recently unveiled a new visitor center, the centerpiece of its $100 million Gateway to the Garden campaign. The soaring lobby of the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center provides a welcoming portal offering views of the gardens and conservatories beyond. The project included the addition of 46,000 plants to the entry landscape and an expanded gift shop. (missouribotanicalgarden.org)

Copperhead Mountain Coaster at Shepherd of the Hills in Branson is the newest, fastest, most scenic, and longest downhill family-fun thrill ride, The Copperhead Mountain Coaster is brand new at Shepherd’s Adventure Park. The coaster snakes through riveting loops, drops, and curves in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. (theshepherdofthehills.com)

Aquarium at the Boardwalk is one of the newest things to do in Branson. Some features that visitors can expect to enjoy are more than 250 different animal species, an original 5D submarine adventure to the bottom of the sea; sharks, a 24-foot Kelp Forest climbing structure for kids; stingrays, a gorgeous 16-foot view of a coral reef, two mirrored art installations that give the sense of infinite ocean life; lionfish, and more than 7,200 individual sea animals.

WonderWorks in Branson

WonderWorks’ architecture is truly unique and exciting.

WonderWorks is one of Branson’s newest indoor attractions. You won’t be able to miss the iconic exterior—a huge upside-down house—in the heart of Branson’s Entertainment District. When you venture inside, you will find four stories of over 100 STEAM-focused (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), hands-on activities and exhibits that will entertain, educate and inspire everyone in your family. The sixth WonderWorks in the country, the Branson location features unique experiences: an interactive military experience, a local Ozark area art display and an exhibit that honors Branson’s history.


The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum is set to open in 2023 at the Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport in Atchison. Exhibits will spotlight the pioneer aviator’s childhood in Atchison and her fame as a flying ace who became the first woman to wing her way across the Atlantic. On display will be the world’s last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E, an aircraft identical to the one Earhart piloted on the flight where she went missing in the South Pacific in 1937. Visitors can pilot a virtual reality recreation of her 1932 trans-Atlantic flight. (ameliaeartharthangarmuseum.org)

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Featured Activity

Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium

Situated in the heart of Missouri, the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium captivates visitors with a diverse array of creatures from land and sea. From the intriguing depths of the Sobela Ocean Aquarium, home to over 8,000 marine species, to the expansive grounds showcasing wildlife from across continents, it’s a celebration of nature’s marvels. A must-visit destination for a comprehensive zoological experience.

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