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|
There were two highlights of the gardens:
- The koi in the pond were ginormous. Terrifyingly huge. Awesome.
- 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.|
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|
- We had to dress up for family pictures
- We had to wait for our turn
- The kids were dying to put on their costumes (remember the part about a Halloween wedding? we weren't kidding!)
|Sasha looks adorable, WanYing makes a little mischief.|
|We do clean up nicely|
|And we can get awfully crazy no matter how fancy our outsides look!|
|The Children's Zoo totally paid off - there were goats that needed grooming and you know our girls were up for the challenge!|
|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!|
|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.|