Get Creative: Weekend Fun Isn’t Just for Kids!

To me, the arrival of the weekend is like savoring a piece of rich, dark chocolate after a day of drinking green smoothies and eating salmon and vegetables. It’s a treat, a reward for all the hard work we adults do at our professional and parenting jobs during the week.


We celebrate our weekend time in a variety of ways. We watch movies, meet friends for dinner, go on trail runs or, conversely, sit on our bums and scroll through Facebook for hours. All of these ways to unwind from the workweek have merit, but we often find ourselves repeating the same activities over and over again.


Then we get in a rut. And somehow the weekend is just not that rewarding anymore.


That’s when it’s time to try something new, something that challenges us and enables us to discover skills and talents that we didn’t know we had. That’s when it’s time to learn.


There are many area organizations that offer weekend programs for adults in art, history, gardening, nature, yoga, and more. Look over this list and see if something stirs your soul to learn, create, and move.





Making peanut milk in the lab at Carver


George Washington Carver National Monument, 646 Carver Road, Diamond, MO

Just a 20-minute drive south of Joplin, this national park celebrates the life of George Washington Carver, a former slave who became an accomplished scientist, teacher, and philanthropist. The visitor center here offers programs which honor Carver’s passion for nature and learning. Channel your inner scientist at a lab demonstration (I made peanut milk at the one I went to), attend a special program such as Wonders of the Night Sky or the Plant-Based Cooking Workshop, or listen and learn at special presentations such as Women in Carver’s Life or Encouraging the Next Generation. Click here for upcoming programs.


Joplin Greenhouse & Garden Center, 2820 East 32nd Street, Joplin

More than just a great place to buy healthy plants (it’s where I buy mine every spring!), Joplin Greenhouse is also a learning center, offering workshops such as Beginning Beekeeping and Hipster Houseplants. Click here for upcoming programs.


Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, 201 Riviera Drive, Joplin

In addition to having some of the area’s most scenic hiking trails, Wildcat Glades has a visitor center which contains a nature discovery area and classrooms for special programming. Learn about local nature at Discover Winter Birds or Ozark Chinquapin: A Lost Treasure, or hone your nature photography skills at the Behind the Lens workshop. Click here for upcoming programs.





Painting pet portraits at RSVPaint


Crackpot Pottery & Art Studio, 3820 East 20th Street, Joplin

This laid-back studio invites you to learn how to make pottery at your own leisure at the Saturday drop-in class (read about my experience here), or attend scheduled programs in a variety of mediums, like the Birdhouse Workshop, Watercolor Painting, or Jewelry-Making Basics. Click here for upcoming programs.


Firehouse Pottery, 112 South Main Street, Joplin

This paint-your-own pottery studio makes it easy to individualize a piece of art. Drop in during studio hours, select an unfinished piece of pottery and paint colors, then personalize your creation. The staff at Firehouse will guide you along the way. Bring your special someone for Friday night Date Night, or your BFF for Girls’ Night (which is on Tuesdays, but I’m including this so you can plan a weekday escape, too! Read about my experience here.) Click here for upcoming programs.


Joplin Greenhouse & Garden Center, 2820 East 32nd Street, Joplin

Yes, Joplin Greenhouse makes the list again! This time, it’s for hands-on workshops where you can create things like Fairy Gardens, Macramé Hangers, and Christmas Wreaths. Click here for upcoming programs.


Phoenix Fired Art, 1603 South Main Street, Joplin

This clay studio also offers a Saturday morning drop-in class for those who want to learn to make pottery (read about my experience here). For a unique learning and socializing event, come to the Friday Film, where a potluck meal is served, followed by a viewing of an arts-related documentary film, and then a discussion. Click here for upcoming programs.


RSVPaint, 223 Third Street, Joplin

Here’s another studio where you can create and socialize. Also, at RSVPaint you can imbibe in your favorite drink as you create (bring your own, or purchase one at the studio’s bar). RSVPaint offers a variety of class theme. I’ve been to one where my friends and I painted designs on wine glasses, one where I painted a portrait of my dog (click here to read about it), and a Date Night class where my husband and I each painted a panel that, when put next to the other, made a complete picture (read about it here). Click here (then scroll down) for upcoming classes.


Spiva Center for the Arts, 223 West Third Street, Joplin

Since 1947, Spiva has served as the art hub of the Four States, thanks to the many classes and programs its offers the community. Try Basic Drawing, Fun & Funky Upcycled Hats, Pysanky Egg Decorating, or the Fused Glass Tray class (read about my experience here). Click here for upcoming programs.






soar open jump

Play on trampolines at Soar’s ExSOARcise class

4 States Yoga and Restoration Center, 2615 North Range Line Road, Joplin

In addition to a weekend Vinyasa Yoga class, 4 States Yoga offers Barre and Tai Chi classes, as well as special workshops, like Aerial Yoga and Self-Defense. Click here for classes and programs.


Downtown Yoga, 501 South Wall Avenue, Joplin

If you’re feeling the need to de-stress after a hectic week, try one of the weekend classes at Downtown Yoga, such as Restorative Yoga, Hot Yoga, or Power Yoga (read about my experience here). Click here for classes and programs.


Soar Trampoline Park, 1502 South Madison Street, Webb City, MO

Get a cardio workout while jumping on trampolines! Soar’s 45-minute Saturday morning ExSOARcise class includes jumping and floor exercises, and is open to all experience levels. Click here for more information.


If you’re content with your current weekend plans, kudos to you. But if you ever find yourself in a rut, come back to this list. There’s sure to be something at one of these locations that will beckon you to learn, create, or move.


To read more about my adventures in the area, visit



There’s a recreational hot spot in downtown Joplin with a curious name: RSVPaint.


What do the letters stand for?


R = Relax. Ahh, sounds great.


S = Sip. Count me in!


V = Visit. Actually spend time in person with my friends rather than texting them? Sounds awesome!


P = Paint. Um, painting?


I do not have one artistic bone in my body (ask my kids about my attempts at drawing stick figures and I guarantee you’ll elicit some hearty laughs).


But paint-and-sip galleries are popular now among people, both with and without creative talent. They are filling a new recreational niche. Rather than meeting at a noisy bar, people are looking for alternative places to socialize with their friends, and RSVPaint is one of these places.


And, you know what? I found out that you truly you don’t have to possess any artistic skills in order to have a good time there.


Here’s how things work at RSVPaint?


First, you browse through RSVPaint’s online calendar to see which piece of artwork appeals to you. Make sure you select the Joplin location (there’s an RSVPaint in Springfield, too).



Themes change according to the season, so the choices are always fresh. The photo above shows some examples.


Once you find the piece that you want to paint, you can immediately reserve your space for the session online. While you don’t have to do this, I’d recommend it because the sessions fill up fast (remember, these places are popular now!).


On the night of your lesson, you can bring a beverage of your choice (alcoholic or not, it’s all good) or purchase one at the bar in the studio, then find a spot in front of one of the blank canvases at the tables.


After a few minutes of relaxing and visiting with your friends, the lesson begins. The instructor breaks everything down for you, leading you through the process one small step at a time.



Usually, all the students in class work on the same image for the night. However, I went to RSVPaint on one of the monthly Paint-Your-Pet nights, so while the process was the same for everyone, we all were painting different images.


Sounds intimidating to paint a portrait of your pet, right? Well, RSVPaint made it so simple.


First of all, everyone who registered for the session was asked to email personal pet photos to the studio. Here’s the photo of our golden retriever Micky that I sent:



And here’s what my canvas looked like when I arrived at RSVPaint:



Those artistic angels at RSVPaint had taken our pet images and sketched their outlines on the canvases. I was so relieved to see these lines because I certainly needed their guidance!


Coleman, our instructor, immediately put us at ease by explaining that the acrylic paint we were using was very forgiving, and that we could easily paint over our mistakes. (He was right – I successfully painted over several spots throughout the night.)


He began the lesson by showing us how to paint the background for our pet image, which consisted of green grass and blue sky. He said if you didn’t want that to be your background, you could do something else, but following Coleman’s technique felt like the safe thing to do for those of us with low artistic confidence.


Then we moved on to outlining the image. I started with the darkest color first.



Coleman’s instruction was so relaxed and encouraging, as was the atmosphere among the students in the studio. There was no judgement.


As the lesson progressed, I gained more confidence.


And while my finished painting is nowhere near museum quality, I feel satisfied by the fact that my kids didn’t laugh when they saw it.



I enjoyed this girls’ night out experience at RSVPaint because I was able to visit with my friends while also learning something new. (To see their awesome pet paintings, scroll down to the end of this post.)


My next task is to convince my husband to come with me to RSVPaint for a date night. On date night, each couple paints an image that extends over two canvases rather than each person painting the same thing. That way, there’s no competing with your beloved about whose painting is better. Brilliant!



Date night!


By the way, RSVPaint opens its studio to younger painters, too. Painters of all ages are welcome during designated times (Saturday Family Paint and Walk-In Wednesdays), and children (13 and under) can also have their birthday parties there.


But it was grown-ups only on the night I went. And while I enjoyed relaxing, sipping and visiting with my friends, it was actually the painting part of the RSVPaint experience – the part that I’d originally dreaded – that made me forget my worries.


Because for a few hours that night, so much of my attention was focused on learning a new skill that my mind had no room for other thoughts, and my stress melted away.


Now that’s a great escape.


Here are the other pet paintings from our girls’ night out (courtesy of RSVPaint’s Facebook page):



Jackie and Erin (can you tell that they’re sisters?)



Carrie and Donna



Me and Julie


RSVPaint is located at 223 Third Street. Click here to visit its website.


To read more about my adventures in the area, visit