TRAVEL THERE:PRECIOUS MOMENTS ROAD TRIP
This post has been on the back burner for a while, because I made a visit to the Precious Moments Chapel this spring, but hadn’t shared it with you. At first it was because the pictures were on my friend’s camera, then I just got busy with other stuff.
Not On My Travel Radar
The Precious Moments Chapel wasn’t on my travel radar. All of my energy was focused on Oregon, but life is what happens when you’re out making other plans. A friend had a family situation come up and I rode out to Missouri to help her with it. Her chore wasn’t a pleasant one, so I was determined to bring as much joy with me as I could.
En route we began to see signs advertising the Precious Moments Chapel. You know Precious Moments. Theyre those darling pastel colored statuettes in Hallmark stores that feature big-eyed waifs doing all kinds of grown up things, like getting married or having babies or participating in other important life events. Though they’ve waned somewhat in their popularity, not so long ago they were all the rage. I’ve never been into collectibles, but even I couldn’t miss them.
We were able to finish up my friend’s task a little earlier than we anticipated, so I joked that we should visit the chapel on the way home. What started as a joke, turned into a plan and when we hit the road on the way back to Dallas, we looked for the signs, hoping they were as interested in western bound visitors as they had been eastern bound. Lo and behold, we found the signs.
Have you heard of “roadside” attractions that say”turn here” and then take you on a wild goose chase. As we followed the signs to the chapel I began to fear we’d been drawn into one. The next turn was always just a little bit down the road, but the Precious Moments Chapel was not what I would call a roadside attraction. It was something that I can only describe as absolutely darling, but at the same time a little spooky.
I’ve known people who visited the chapel on bus trips to Branson, but it’s been a while since anyone I knew said they
were making a visit. What’s spooky about the facility is that it’s virtually empty. Apparently, at one time lots of bus trips were stopping by, but on this day, there were only a small handful of cars on the parking lot and I think most of them belonged to employees. I found that very sad. If I had any real influence, I’d do what I could to direct traffic back to this pleasant little tourist attraction. Once you get over the ghost town aspect of everything, the absolutely darling part is well worth your time.
The first thing you enter is a visitor’s center with restrooms, a gift shop and a snack bar. There’s not a ticket kiosk, because it’s free. There was even some entertainment on the hour, but it was a little juvenile for our tastes. I wished for the kids in my life, a grandniece and a friend’s daughter. Hannah and Daniella would have been besides themselves with glee.
In the visitor’s center a new series of signs began. Because of the challenge of getting to the property, we couldn’t help but get tickled about where the signs at the attraction might lead us and how far we’d actually have to go to get to the chapel. Instead of the long hike we feared, we made a nice stroll through a lovely park. Attractive landscaping, charming statuary of the Precious Moments kids and well-maintained walkways led to the chapel.
The exterior of the chapel is well appointed with lovely proportions, but very simple. Inside “It’s a Small World After All” goes to church. Abandoning the sweet pastels of the popular figurines, the scenes in the chapel sport festive jewel tones. The mind goes through a paradigm shift. You know you are looking at Biblical scenes. There’s Noah’s Ark, the Creation, Ruth and Naomi, Moses, Jacob, Esther, Samuel, the life of Christ and more, yet all the scenes are filled with children. “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” clanged around inside my head. What child would not be fascinated with these carved doors, stained glass windows and gorgeous murals?
On the way out I stopped at the gift shop. I wanted to share the experience with Hannah and Daniella. I bought a Precious Memories DVD about Joseph in Egypt for my niece and a doll for my friends daughter. For me, I bought a Keepsake Memory Book. I wanted to remember my visit.
The Precious Moments Chapel brightened a trip that could have become nothing but a dark memory. Now my friend and I can reminisce about a pint-sized Daniel among sanguine lions and laugh about roadside attractions. I hope I’ve told you enough to spark an interest in the chapel, because it would be a shame for it to disappear from lack of interest. If you’re ever near Carthage, Missouri, you should stop, too.
Most of the pictures here were taken by my good friend since I was camera-less on this trip. I’ll share I few more to give you a flavor of the chapel’s features.