I've lived in Joplin my entire life and it will always be my home. The person who gave a review before me did not not give an accurate description of Joplin AT ALL with the exception of yes, we do get some pretty bad storms. On May 22, 2011 an EF5 tornado leveled nearly the entire town killed about 160 residents. I'll never forget that day, huddled in my bath tub, clinging to my Mother, praying "please God, I don't want to die" But we rebuilt, as did most everyone else, and so quickly! I'm proud to say Joplin really banded together like I never thought we could and we made a tremendous recovery. Enough about the tornado...as for what the reviewer before me said, I don't see how someone could claim to live here for two years and say it takes 30 minutes to get to shopping centers and attractions? Nearly ALL of Joplin's housing is located in the center of town, or just on the outskirts and it takes 5-10min if that to get anywhere you're going (Mall, Walmart, Parks, Schools, Restaurants, etc.) As for attractions? We don't have any. It's rather a very dull, quiet town. We have a couple of clubs and a few bars, oh, and a movie theater. The George Washington Carver National Monument is also a couple minutes outside of town. That's about it. If you were to drive for 30 minutes like they were saying, you'd end up in neighboring cities like Carthage or Neosho. And dinner out isn't that expensive. About $10 a plate on average. Now if you want to drink alcohol, then it will start to get pricey. Joplin does not lack in places to eat, that is for sure! But if you're looking for a nice quiet place to raise your kids that is safe and affordable, I definitely would recommend the friendly town of Joplin, MO. But I would also recommend that you invest in a storm shelter for your home as well just to be safe.
I lived in Joplin, MO for about two years with a friend of mine. While I was living there, I saw some of the worst storms I have ever seen. I will never move back out west because of the number of tornadoes I saw in the city. With that said, I did enjoy the quiet that the country life offered. There were enough shopping centers to keep me happy, and I could usually find a good place to eat.
One of my favorite places to go was Richardson Candy Factory. This large building was covered from floor to ceiling with all types of candy. If you can't find it here, then you won't find it anywhere. The back of the factory is where the candy is made. You can walk through the factory on a tour and get a free scoop of ice cream. I love animals, and the Reptile World Zoo was one of the places that I found unique. The zoo does not have the typical animals that you would find in an ordinary zoo. The only thing the zoo has is reptiles. I didn't mind this because I like snakes and lizards, but I would much rather see a cute tiger or an elephant instead.
When you visit the city, you should be prepared to bring a good bit of money. Not everything is expensive, but if you want to spend a night on the town, some of the restaurants can get pricey. You should also plan to use public transportation unless you are staying in the city. Most of the houses are located on the outskirts of the city, and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the shopping centers and attractions. There are a few parks in the area including Cunningham Park. I enjoyed walking through the park and seeing all of the beautiful flowers and children playing.