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Photo TR: A Chilly Weekend in St. Louis


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A few weeks ago my wife and I decided to take a weekend getaway to a new city... St. Louis had been on my list for a while, primarily because of the City Museum and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, so we booked our flights and made our way there. A few days before our trip the weather forecast changed from cold and rainy to cold and snowy... And by the time we arrived, it turned out that Winter Storm Gia was on its way. With our trip already under way, we did the best we could to maximize our time before the storm shut things down.

 

First on our list was the St. Louis Zoo...

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Our view from our hotel... This would change pretty significantly over the course of the weekend.

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More fuel...

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First glance at the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

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I'm in Budweiser town!

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A really cool sculpture at the entrance of the zoo...

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Just reminds me of the classic SeaWorld/Busch Gardens architecture...

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The entry interior is quite cool too!

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Never saw an insect exhibit this neat!

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Millipede!

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Nightmare fuel.

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Most fuel.

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Just crazy.

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Neat getting to see these ants at work.

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Can you find the stick bugs?

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The butterfly garden was neat too!

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Signs of the cold starting to creep in...

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The hyenas didn't mind the chill.

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A cheetah on the run...

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It is eyeing me down...

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Elephants out in the cold...

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TPR (fake) Turtle Fancy fulfilled!

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This bear was adorable!

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A little too cold for Dole Whip today...

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TPR (real) Turtle Fancy fulfilled!

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So neat looking and yet still deadly.

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So cool!

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Lemurs!

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I'd never seen a spider monkey in person before! Its tail was quite impressive.

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Primate cuddles.

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Zebras!

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This bird cage (their words, not mine) was built for the 1904 World's Fair... And it looks like something out of Jurassic Park III.

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ALAN.

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You don't have to go to Legoland to experience The LEGO Movie 4D.

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Time to spend some time with the orangutans.

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Just hanging out...

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Meet Ginger (that's her actual name)!

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Don't act like you're not impressed.

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He's like the Coca-Cola Polar Bear!

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Beautiful!

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The zoo's penguin exhibit was like a smaller, successful mix of SeaWorld's old Penguin Encounter and its new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin exhibit.

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It is an open air exhibit but it doesn't have the silly ride attached.

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Up-close and open air like you'd want an exhibit for penguins to be.

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Echoes of the former Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld.

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And there were puffins!

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The St. Louis Zoo is free for all guests (save for some up-charge experiences like the train and the 4D theater) and it is well worth a visit!

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Is everything awesome?

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Afterwards we stopped to have some St. Louis BBQ... But first, real orange soda.

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Pappy's was well worth the hype...

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All the meat!

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And by the time our lunch had ended, the snow had started to roll in...

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Nice! We really do have a great zoo. Fitz's, BBQ, check (both kinda touristy, but still good). Glad you got in on City Museum while it was still independent.

 

If you come back around these parts, check out Bogart's on the south side. I like their ribs better. People say good things about Adam's too, bit sweet for me but it's popular and less touristy than Pappy's.

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I'm not too familiar with the St. Louis Zoo, but your pictures make it look really awesome. An open-air penguin exhibit is a huge plus, and the insect exhibit is possibly the best I've ever seen! Is that really casu marzu cheese with all the maggots?

 

Also, it's never too cold for Dole Whip.

 

Great start on the report! St. Louis is a city I've visited a few times so I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of it.

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After the St. Louis Zoo and Pappy's, things started to get interesting as warnings started to go out about large amounts of snow and much of the cities' attractions, restaurants and roads shutting down early as a result. When we had booked our trip, the City Museum was one of our must-do's on the list, thanks very much in part to TPR's coverage of the unique attraction over the years. With this in mind, we took our chances and Uber'd over to the City Museum. On our way, the attraction posted on Facebook that it would be closing early for the safety of its team members and guests (an incredibly admirable move by the way) but that they would be open til 5:00 PM. We arrived at 2:30 PM and were delighted to find that we would be allowed in for free for the remaining 2.5 hours of operation. While not enough time to experience everything, this was our chance to visit for fear that the next day (our last in the city) it would not reopen and we would have missed our opportunity to explore...

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From the moment you enter the City Museum, there's nothing "ordinary" about the place.

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This experience is FILLED with free-roam spaces to walk, run, slide, climb and crawl through... Almost anything is fair game if you can access it.

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Sadly due to it being Winter (and the snow), the outdoor section was not open to explore.

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But it certainly looked cool!

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While there aren't many directions (or maps) given out for the City Museum, the one thing that they will tell you if you ask is how to get to the two ten-story slides... You have to go down through the caverns to get up into the space where those slides are.

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Then you walk up ten stories worth of steps... This is about half way up, where they have a five story slide for the less brave or the younger guests.

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You know how they say don't look down?

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with a set a bad knees the kneepads came in handy while here... They were available to purchase for $6 a pair and well worth it for an old kid like me.

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The City Museum is filled with different antiques, oddities and exhibits with little rhyme or reason to their placement, design or purpose... But it is all super cool!

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Terrifying.

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Very cool, though I don't know that I can articulate why for.

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The City Museum consistently updates its spaces so that permanent pieces are maintained and temporary exhibits are swapped out.

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The skate-less skate park was fun!

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The City Museum even has a Toddler Town section for the younger guests to enjoy.

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I love the tributes to the Gateway Arch throughout the experience.

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Flashback to the days of Shamu's Happy Harbor at SeaWorld Orlando...

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Some of the slides are near pitch black and that's awesome!

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Almost everywhere you look you'll find climbing structures to explore.

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There's a train for the youngsters to enjoy as well.

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Beatnik Bob's ended up being a favorite spot of mine during our visit.

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Retro arcade games and pinball machines!

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There was a collection of loose toys available for purchase for $1 each!

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The lighting junkie in me loved this section of the place!

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Awesome lighting AND alcohol? Sign me up!

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So my speed!

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Love it all!

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I wish I could've ridden this...

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The train wraps around a few sections of the City Museum including this cool display that you can also crawl under and inside of.

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Just hanging out on a giant pencil...

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The outside section looks so cool, especially in the snow!

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There's an art museum on one of the upper floors to explore.

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It wasn't open during our visit but it looked neat.

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These smaller crawl spaces aren't for the claustrophobic as you have to contort your body in some weird ways to move around...

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Every angle presents a unique view.

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Every. Single. View.

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I couldn't help but stare at this view.

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Goooooingggggg dowwwnnnnnn.... *guitar riff*

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The ground floor of City Museum is arguably the most artistic.

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So many hidden crawl spaces.

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If you can access it, you can explore it.

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There's a steep slide to the basement found from the above crawl space.

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The caverns are pretty neat too.

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Don't look down!

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The caverns really are unique.

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Artsy shot...

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Time to head out...

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I'll be back more in the future without question!

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Compared to our view of the courthouse the night before, a lot had changed...

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I echo all the comments on the greatness of the City Museum.

I stumbled across it a few years ago, and I couldn't believe how much fun it was. I felt like I had stumbled into an Alice in Wonderland kind of environment, especially going from those caves into the shoe slides.

 

Every corner seemed to have something unexpected (and unmarked).

I hope they preserve it.

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We woke up the following morning to an email from the Anheuser-Busch Brewery advising that due to Winter Storm Gia that the brewery would not open for the safety of the staff and guests originally scheduled to visit that day. It was a bit of a disappointment considering that this was a main point of our itinerary, but we totally understood the reasoning behind it. With our main attraction now canceled for the day, we started to try to figure out where else we could go, which as it turned out, there weren't many options because the brewery wasn't alone in closing. The snow from the night before and the expected snow throughout the day had led to many of the city's attractions, shops and restaurants remaining closed for the day.

 

We weren't ones to let that stop us so we called up anything that caught our eye and threw together a day to make lemonade with the lemons we'd been given.

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The streets had been cleared in the morning but not many people were out and about.

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Rooster, a local cafe was open and started us off with an awesome breakfast.

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We found a local escape room that looked high tech and theatrical and it turns out that they would be open for a few hours before the snow picked up again.

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St. Louis Escape also had a series of pinball machines to enjoy.

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Pinball is a recent fascination of mine that I can attribute to our recent visit to Free Play Florida and these three pinball machines were all there at that event!

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About a ten minute walk away was the 4 Hands Brewery and they too were open.

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So while we didn't get to the Busch Brewery we did get to enjoy some quality beer this weekend.

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The brewery had some games upstairs and I somehow made the scoreboard for Galaga... I can't imagine that this is a high score.

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Still a snowy landscape outside...

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As more of the city began to close we found a local AMC Theater that was still open, so we decided to see Aquaman... Even in St. Louis, we were able to catch a familiar advertisement in the theaters...

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We found a highly recommended restaurant, The Shaved Duck for dinner and had some quality jambalaya.

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St. Louis-style ribs, shaved tri-tip, burnt ends and amazing mac and cheese. It was incredible!

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The weather had finally calmed down enough to walk around the Gateway Arch.

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This snowman didn't fare too well.

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The Gateway Arch was closed during this weekend, not because of the weather...

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Well, you know.

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I didn't realize that the Gateway Arch was a considered a National Park.

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The pavement was so much warmer than the cold air outside that steam was coming off of the floor.

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A different view of City Hall as our trip finished up...

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One last look.

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As we made our way out of the airport this caught my eye and I couldn't help but laugh.

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Even getting on the plane the snow tried to follow us home. While the weather wasn't what we planned to experience and a few of our intended stops had to be cancelled, we still had a great time in the city and would definitely come back to experience more in the future!

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Glad you made the best of the trip, but that mentality is kind of St. Louis in a nutshell... I'm not, but if you're a baseball fan you should stop by during one summer and catch a Cardinal's game. STL is a huge baseball city. (uhg...) Or, maybe just wait for about ten years when STStl gets it's first steel coaster since 1998 and come back for a visit.

 

I haven't been to City Museum in probably over ten years, despite living 30-40 minutes away. The full bar caught my eye. It seems like they have added quite a bit.

 

I've been to shaved duck once, and it's fantastic. We first heard of it on Diners, Drive-In's, and Dives when Guy went there and ordered thick cut gourmet bacon. Roosters is also great. They have opened up a couple other restaurants in the St. Louis area. Great breakfast and stellar breakfast drinks. You may have missed out. As far as the advertisement goes, I'm not sure if you know it, but Ted Drewes is a kind of a destination custard spot in the city.

 

Great report! St. Louis is one of my favorite cities in the country.

 

Seriously, wtf?

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I'm glad you were able to find stuff to do while there! I live about an hour west of StL, and we got 20-22" of snow here. There is definitely more to do in St. Louis when the weather isn't so bad. You could spend a good two days just checking out all the museums and the zoo in the Forest Park area. And it's a bummer you were there during the shutdown; going up in the Arch is SO fun. I've been wanting to go back there now that they've completely renovated the museum there.

 

Glad you had a good trip, and I hope you guys get better weather when/if you go to St. Louis again in the future!

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