Despite being set among more than 4,600 acres in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, there’s something undeniably homey about the Big Cedar Lodge.
There are 317 private accommodation options at the lakeside resort, ranging from cottages and private log cabins to multiple lodges, but each feels like walking into a guest room in someone’s home. And that’s because owner Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, designed it that way. Photos that line the halls of Morris playing golf with friends and fishing with family members can be viewed by guests as they roam the rustic yet luxurious property.
Morris purchased the land that would become Big Cedar Lodge in 1987 because it reminded him of his childhood memories of fishing with his family in the beautiful landscapes of the Ozarks. A conservationist by nature, Morris immediately set to work restoring the land — including two of the original 1920s buildings on the property — to its former glory while ethically and responsibly expanding the landscape to encompass a wilderness resort. Today, the resort welcomes families and groups that seek to make memories of their own fishing, playing and staying at the resort.
Along with a variety of nature-based experiences such as fishing, boating, hiking, and horseback riding, there are five award-winning golf courses and an 18,000-square-foot spa with world-class wellness offerings at the resort. Each of the dining options on the property offers an experience, along with delicious cuisine. Guests can set sail aboard Lady Liberty for a sunset dinner party on a cruise along Table Rock Lake or gather around a roaring indoor fire inside a cliffside restaurant that offers 360-degree views of the Ozark Mountains.
The resort boasts 18 meeting and event venues for groups to use during their stay, among them several adaptable meeting and function rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 1,000 people. Everyone is family at the Big Cedar Lodge, and the meetings and events on-property are executed with a precision and passion that can only come from a team that loves what they do.
Each of the 18 meeting spaces at the Big Cedar Lodge provides a backdrop for successful gatherings. The largest space, the Grandview Ballroom, can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. The Grandview Conference Center also offers breakout rooms and boardrooms, as well as business lounges and an expansive Grandview Lawn that can host up to 700 guests. Other venues include the Cedar Creek Rooms and Patio, for up to 150 guests; the Table Rock Event Room, for up to 120 guests; the Worman House, for up to 160 guests; the Worman Room and Patio, for up to 45 guests; Integrity Hills, for up to 300 guests; the Bass Pro Shop Shooting Academy, for up to 600 guests; the Wine Cellar Event Room, for up to 100 guests; the Osage Restaurant, for up to 310 guests; the Buffalo Bar, for up to 210 guests; Arnie’s Barn Restaurant, for up to 215 guests; and the Lady Liberty Yacht, for up to 41 guests.
The on-site catering team creates custom menus that feature the freshest ingredients from the Ozarks with an international flair for presentation. Breakfasts are served boxed, buffet-style or plated, with many options for enhancements and interactive stations. Lunches are great for getting outside, with options for picnic lunches or family-style grill-outs. The resort’s buffets are the best way to get a taste of all this catering team can do, and the staff can create themed buffets. Plated dinners and passed hors d’oeuvres showcase the Ozarks’ bounty with dishes like smoked Ozark trout and local Missouri cheese courses. Alcohol is allowed when purchased on-site.
Teambuilding is a blast at Big Cedar Lodge, where groups can take to the grills for a chili cookoff with all the ingredients on hand to create a memorable recipe. Lawn games can quickly escalate to the resort’s famous Hillbilly Olympics or Ozark Olympics competitions; scavenger hunts can take groups on a scenic search through the stunning landscape. Groups can end the day with a private chuck wagon dinner or with a campfire complete with sips and s’mores.
Before and After
Groups at the Big Cedar Lodge often leave with an affinity for nature that’s matched only by the experiences shared with their group mates. The lodge is a haven for outdoor exploration: scenic guided nature walks at Top of the Rock, teeing off at one of five golf courses, guided fishing trips on the 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake and much more. Just a 30-minute drive away at the 10,000-acre wilderness paradise Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, visitors can view American bison, elk, white-tailed deer and Texas longhorns on a two-hour, open-air wildlife tram tour.