Friday, November 14, 2014

St. Louis Adventures

Admittedly, a Halloween trip to St. Louis, Mo is not your average vacation, but we Morningstars are anything but cliched!  My cousin, Teddy, in an equally non-cliched move, opted for a Halloween wedding and we figured that if we were going to cart 6 people halfway across the US we were going to make a proper vacation of it!

We had a fantastic exploring a new city and catching up with seldom-seen family. The weather was great, the company delightful, and we managed to pack 5 days chock full of Gateway to the West adventures.

There was no question about it, we new our first excursion had to be to The Gateway Arch. This is mostly because The Arch was pretty much the only thing we knew about St. Louis. To be frank, we didn't even know it was called The Gateway Arch. As with everything in St. Louis, we went with fairly low expectations and no preconceived notions and had a fabulous time! Maybe the key to a fantastic vacation is zero preparation or knowledge of the place you're visiting?

The girls were so funny as they eventually reconciled that the arch was actually a giant building - a building we were going inside! Once they understood the plan, they were totally stoked.
Man, those 5-person elevator pods were small
We made it!
They say you can see 30 miles from the top of the arch and we believe it!
A contingent of us went over to Illinois to get another view on the arch - it's cool from all angles
Day 2 of St. Louis exploration was a big one. We started the day at the very cool Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the oldest gardens in the nation. In happy coincidence, I'm reading Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi which, funnily enough, even mentions the Missouri Botanical Garden.

There were two highlights of the gardens:
  1. The koi in the pond were ginormous. Terrifyingly huge. Awesome.
  2. We got to walk around the gardens with glasses of wine purchased at a garden cafe. St. Louis is a wonderland!
Sasha and Grammy inspect the garden map at lunch.
Day 2 Stop 2 was The Magic House, the St. Louis Children's Museum.

It was so stinking cool! The Magic House is an old mansion built in 1901 and converted to a children's museum in 1979. It houses new discovery down every hidden stairway and hidden in every attic room, and we all had a shockingly good time (sorry, couldn't resist the Van de Graaff humor!).
Detective Sasha inspects the ducts for clues in the Sherlock Holmes exhibit (you can tell she's undercover by the glasses)
Ben the Bubble Boy!
WanYing tries out her constructing skills
And of course we tried out some amazing St. Louis BBQ. I think we licked every plate clean, from the fried corn (pictured) to the burnt end brisket and everything in between.

Wedding photo day was admittedly challenging because:
  1. We had to dress up for family pictures
  2. We had to wait for our turn
  3. The kids were dying to put on their costumes (remember the part about a Halloween wedding? we weren't kidding!)
But never fear, we perservered and got some mighty fine photos in the process.

Sasha looks adorable, WanYing makes a little mischief.
Beautiful girls!
We do clean up nicely
And we can get awfully crazy no matter how fancy our outsides look!
Saturday brought a family trip to the St. Louis Zoo, which is both very cool and free. Unless you have to purchase carrousel, train, and children's zoo tickets. Which, of course, we did.
The Children's Zoo totally paid off - there were goats that needed grooming and you know our girls were up for the challenge!
Ugh. Goats.
The boys were thrilled to get a whole gaggle of people interested in this exhibit. It turns out that if you express interest in a cage, even an empty cage, people will crowd around to see what's so interesting!
And we concluded our visit with the best outing of all - The City Museum! The City Museum is tough to describe... it's like a giant playground for all ages (all ages willing to scramble up, through, and around small spaces and get some very bruised knees in the process!). It was amazing.

Part sculpture, part playground, all fun!
Like we said, you have to be ok with small spaces..
...and lots of climbing and maybe some heights as well!
3- and 4-story slides abound
As do 11-story ones!
Seriously, we all slept very soundly after all that climbing
Why walk on the platform when you can wiggle through under it?
There was always a new nook, cranny, ladder, or slide to discover
The view from the rooftop ferris wheel was almost as good as the arch! But a lot colder :)
Ok, this was the only time I got really nervous. Climbing into the cage at the top of the giant dome seemed like a good idea from the bottom. From within the cage it was very disconcerting.
The City Museum was a fantastic end to a really great vacation. If we ever find ourselves in St. Louis, I have a feeling we'll be visiting The City Museum again. Repeatedly.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails