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THINGS TO SEE AND DO:
For those who come from parts of the country known for their scenery or from large metropolitan areas, it may seem at first glance that there is nothing to see or do in and around Morris. Any location is what you make of it.
In Morris there is a bike path from the corner of Columbia and Green River Road all the way to Pomme de Terre Park a couple of miles away. There is even an underpass to make it easier to cross Hwy 59. Once across the highway there are two choices. The path to Pomme de Terre Park starts right across the dirt road and heads south, it is visible from the end of the path you are on. Another bike path heads east along the dirt road. It winds through undeveloped public land near the Pomme de Terre River and then heads north to Hwy 329 (which lines up with the East entrance to the UMM Campus.) There are now 2 nice gazebos installed on this loop where you can sit and enjoy the view. You may spot wildflowers in season, and deer at dusk. Many people walk or in-line skate this path. If you time it right in the fall, you can see some great sunsets with Canada geese heading for their evening roost on the Pomme de Terre river as you head back toward town. New in 2005, they have added an extension down the east side of the river all the way from Hwy 329 to Pomme de Terre Park. This now makes a very nice loop, just under 5 miles, for a good bike ride or long walk and offers an excellent view of the Pomme de Terre River and WCROC's new wind turbine. New in Summer 2006, they have now added another spur on the trail which connects to the campus near the Regional Fitness Center on 2nd St. This now allows you to more easily access the trail loop from campus, although you do need to cross hwy 59 without an underpass on this trail. Another new addition to report in 2008 - there is now a connection at the north end of the trail up to a scenic overlook and the display gardens at WCROC.
If you continue on the county road east past Pomme de Terre Park another couple of miles look for a low tan building on the right with a paved parking lot. This is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wetlands Office with a demonstration prairie and wetland restoration area. You can walk a half-mile trail through the prairie grasses and wildflowers and see what the Morris area looked like before the plow. You are welcome to walk around the area even when the office is closed. During the summer a gate located on the road about a quarter mile before the main entrance is open and you can drive through the area. Great habitat for native plants, birds and frogs.
A View of the Prairie in August
Ever see the words "All America selection" on a package of seeds in the store? Well, right here in Morris is one of the test gardens involved in determining what flowers and vegetables get that coveted national designation. The University's West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) maintains a beautiful garden that's easy to get to. From the UMM campus go past the horse barn and take the east exit road out to Hwy 59. Cross the highway and continue up the hill past the "Experiment Station" office on the left and just beyond the trees on the right, there is a road to the right. Turn right and go less than a 1/4 mile and there is the garden. Walk through it and enjoy seeing stuff you grew as a kid and stuff you've never seen before, all looking better than the stuff in your garden!
They have also installed a nice childrens area with an international garden, butterfly garden, bird garden, sand box and climbing structure. In the fall they often have a corn maze available.
New in Summer 2006 they have added a connection from the gardens down to the bike trail, a great addition to the trail loop. Plans include a new river valley overlook on the west end of the gardens. (Photos courtesy of WCROC.)
X country ski trail at the Wetlands Office.
If it's not windy, you can ski right in Morris. There are lots of small city parks, there is Pomme de Terre Park where they are now grooming x country trails in the winter, the golf course, and the Wetlands Office. With a reliable car you have more possibilities of places with trees to block the wind: Niemackel Park between Morris and Herman, Runestone County Park between Hoffman and Alexandria, or Andy's Tower Ski Hill, near Alexandria which has both downhill and groomed x-country trails for a fee. You can rent equipment from the University's Outdoor Rec Center in the Regional Fitness Center, 589-6077.
The Lee Community Center is the name of the indoor skating rink at the southwest edge of town next to the county fairgrounds. Call to check the hours when the hockey teams aren't using it and it is open to the public, at 589-4585.
Crystal Lanes Bowling & Entertainment Center
Morris has a nice local bowling alley with an attached bar. They offer
youth and adult bowling leagues, food, pool tables, darts and food all
in a non-smoking environment.