Not this ha ha Tonka....But this one! It's Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri.
On the four hour trip to John's parent's house, we pass by a sign that points to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Even though the sign always catches my attention, and I've been passing by it routinely for over seven years now, I had never found out exactly what was at Ha Ha Tonka. John had told me that there were some castle ruins, but I didn't really get what he meant. I thought there were some rock piles or something. When we randomly decided to check it out recently, I didn't expect to find this....A castle! Missouri has its own, real-life, medieval castle! Okay, not really. Some rich guy had it built in the early 1900s, but it's still a really cool castle! It's quite huge. The cute two-year-old in the big window should give you some idea how large the castle is. The castle is on a 250 foot high bluff overlooking Lake of the Ozarks. If one looks down the bluff (and I mean wayyy down) he/she can see Ha Ha Tonka spring (Ha Ha Tonka means laughing waters). It's an awesome place to have a castle; when I build my castle, I think I'll choose a similar site. :) Unfortunately, the rich man who had the castle built died in one of the state's first automobile accidents and didn't get to enjoy his finished castle. The castle did not last long after it was built either, for it burned in the 1940s leaving the rock walls that visitors to Ha Ha Tonka State Park now explore.*
As it was fairly late in the evening when we visited, we didn't have time to traverse much of the park before dark. We will definitely stop again to check out the several trails and natural wonders, which include some caves and a natural bridge. Hopefully, we can go back when it cools down this fall because the park looks like a fun place to do some Missouri hiking!
*Source: A sign in the park. :)