A day spent a Dillard Mill State Historic Site (a Missouri State Park) is both relaxing and educational.
Dillard Mill is located a couple of hours outside of St. Louis, MO in Davisville.
Our group chose to visit Dillard Mill on a beautiful holiday weekend and were pleasantly surprised to find that we had the picnic area to ourselves for most of the day. A large pavillion provided shelter from the sun and plenty of picnic table space for our large group to visit and share a picnic meal. An open, recently cut field behind the pavillion was the perfect spot for the younger kids to play ball and simply run around.
Many in our group were interested in walking around the cemetary located within the park. The cemetery at Dillard Mill State Park is a mixture of old and newer graves, some of which gave interesting insight into life long ago.
A visit to the Dillard Mill itself requires a hike along a gravel, wooded trail and along the mill pond. It did not appear to be easily accessible for visitors with any physical limitations. The hike was beautiful, though, and did provide a multitude of photo opportunities.
The Dillard Mill tour is not free although the price was not terribly expensive. The tour guide for our tour group was very well informed about the history of the mill, the equipment and the history of the surrounding area. The tour does require climbing steep stairways to both the upper floor and the basement. It is not a tour for small children, the eldery or anyone with a fear of heights.
The tour of the mill was most interesting because of the history stories related to the mill than the actual mill itself. Our family found the diving helmet from the early 1900s that is displayed in the mill and the story that goes with it to be the most interesting part of the tour.
The Dillard Mill park is a beautiful place to hike and several members of our group spent quite a bit of time doing just that.
Restroom facilities in the picnic area consist of two environmental toilets (upgraded outdoor bathrooms). Their location down a hiking path is inconvenient and they were difficult for an eldery member of our party to reach.
The only other complaint we had about our visit were the annoying, small black bugs that caused very painful bites. Bug spray is a "must-have" for visits to this Missouri State Park.
A visit to Dillard Mill will provide your family with an educational, fun and relaxing day away from the hustle of everyday life.