bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Report

Day 4: Last day of trip - Grant's Farm now posted (finally!)
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby bert425 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:12 pm

Arthur_Seaton wrote:Thanks for the reports, Bert. I've always been fascinated by The Boss' layout, even though I've heard it's super rough from pretty much everyone who's ridden it. I'd give Xclaibur a go, but it looks seriously pukey!


very welcome, and glad you're liking my TR.

I've honestly been on rougher coasters and enjoyed them. if it hadn't been for that 1 lateral that caught me in the side, I likely would have ridden it again.

but the truth is, there are two better (one, American Thunder), MUCH better coasters right there in the same park. So I would rather ride those more instead.

I wish Excalibur had been open, I would have loved to try it out. Oh well.. if we ever get back!

Canobie Coaster wrote:Nice report! You probably just saw stars from that terrifying headchopper from the chain lift return on Ninja. That freaked the heck out of me.


LOL. . . no, it was that awful transition from the 2nd loop into the corkscrew! it's burned into my memory, I remember it well.. . LOL
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby bert425 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:12 pm

will try to get the Grant's Farm final day of our trip up by end of weekend.

but first I have all day Sat Coasting for Kids at Fiesta Texas! :)

meanwhile, I realized I have a pic of the magnets I got for a buck each at SFStL. . so posting those here too. woulda been nice if they said Six Flags on em other than on the price sticker on the back, but still, nice art and good size magnets:
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby bert425 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:57 pm

FINALLY - final day: Grant's Farm

(sorry for the delay. . just lots going on this past month. . but now that I wanna do an Altanta/zoo/Dragon*con/SFOG TR, I need to wrap this one up first) :)

so after a pretty exhausting full day at SFStL, it was our final day in the city. The worry of rain had never really materialized and it was a beautiful Monday.

Since our flight was not until later that afternoon, and since the rain had stayed away? no reason to go to the Science Museum in the park - which had been my backup, and instead we got up, showered, and decided to head to Grant's Farm for the morning.

It had been recommended by several folks in the SFStL thread here on TPR, but all had said they never had actually been as the lines to get in had been crazy when they attempted. But I knew they opened and 9, and it was still only 8:30 am. and it was a Monday. . so we gave it a shot.

super glad we did. Checking out of the hotel was a breeze, and with directions printed out from googlemaps, we easily found our way there, and were pulling into the parking lot by 8:55. We were able to get a spot way up at the front, just across the street from the "bridge" that brings you to the tram stop and into the attraction proper.

I commented to the crossing guard how it was so empty, and we had been bracing for crowds, and he said "just you wait". . LOL

just as with most of the other things we had done in St Louis, entry to Grant's Farm is free, you only have to pay for parking (I think it was $15?), and any attractions you want to do..but otherwise? a really cheap way to spend a beautiful day.

I loved this City, and really wanna go back.
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We really didn't know much about this place before going, other than it was "lovely" and was sorta/kinda a zoo.

I didn't even realize it had anything to do with Ulysses S. Grant, until we read some of the signs in the parking lot.

And if it had been mentioned that it was "sponsored" / "owned" by Anheiser Busch? well, I had forgotten that too.

so we kinda went in blind, as just something to do that had been recommended. Again, I'm really glad we went, I loved it.
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after parking, you cross the road, and across this lovely bridge, to get to the main entrance.
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it was still so quiet, the crossing guard offered to take our picture, so we said sure, and posed.

Nick didn't even argue with me this time, he got out of the car with his cane :)

once you cross the bridge, there is the General Store / Souvenir Shop, and the queue for the trams. Looking at the park map that had been handed to us when we crossed the bridge, it appeared that the trams will take you all the way around the outer perimeter of the estate, and then drop you at the top of the "zoo" section - where one walks down hill ending up in the "German town" section where one can sample beer, see the carriage museum / horses, eat, in a general "festhaus" atmosphere, before taking a short tram ride back to the front gate.

the Tram queue was set up to hold a LOT of people, but this early, we were able to cut a lot of the switchbacks - although they wouldn't let us cut the final row, as that's where they stop you to take a pic in front of a green screen (as any good tourist trap will do) :p

Spoiler. . one of the pics came out so good, that we did end up buying it later (I think it was $25, but what the hell, it was a god pic, and everything else was free).
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This place is all about the animals, but I thought it was kind of . . respectful, that as their animals pass, they seem to taxidermy and mount them in the tram station.

there were at least 2 dozen heads in here, and the guide told us they had all died of natural causes.
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On the tram.

still not really sure what we are gonna see. . but we're excited for an adventure
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it really is lovely here, and the day was just perfect. Cool enough with a nice breeze.

the trams are large, and hold a ton of people, and they did seem to be filling up quickly. Even in the 5 minutes we had waited in the queue, the line had filled a few switchbacks behind us.
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Ducks around the lake.. and you start to get an idea just how large this property is.

I think the tram ride was a good 10 minute drive to get to the main area.
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Moving along the front of the property, one can see the flag out front, and traffic on the nearby street.

but once actually IN "Grant's Farm" ? We didn't hear or notice any traffic at all. it really is a beautiful place.
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and you pass by a historic cabin and some cannons (mentioned, I believe, in the plaque that was in the parking lot).

Not sure if there's actually any kind of tour offered for these things - the tram doesn't stop at all until it pulls up at the "zoo" area, and there didn't seem to be anyone walking around other than grounds maintenance crews.
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well. .these guys were walking around.

GOOSE CROSSING!!
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there were a number of these wood carvings we passed, but wasn't really able to understand what our guide was telling us about them (due to a screaming child sitting in the row behind us). . but liked this peacock carving, and was able to snap a pic as we went by.

You can see from the fence behind it, that we're about to enter what I'd guess would be called "the plains" area, where there were a lot of animals roaming freely among the grass on either side of the tram
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such as this guy with his beautiful horns (and way in the back there, are some Zebras)
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and then this guy, a white stag, just sashayed past.
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so, so beautiful. . and not at all spooked by the tram
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These were the babies, that were kept separate for their safety. . tho we did see a couple of baby fawn walking unsteadily with their mammas near the lake.
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and then we were at the tram drop off / main entrance to the site.

it was here where they sold tickets to any attractions one wanted to do - all quite reasonable.

you could buy tickets to feed baby goats with bottles, or feed sheep, or ride a camel, or take a ride on a carousel. . . or buy a ticket book that allowed to do all of them at a discount.

of course, which one did I want to do?
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yep, the Carousel.

it was a beauty too. Small, and Older, but beautifully restored, and playing music from a nice organ hidden in the center stalk.

The animals are not carved wood, but instead pressed plastic.. but still, I really enjoyed it and it was worth the trip just for the Carousel (of course, we didn't know about the free beer at the end yet) :p
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yeah, I took about 2 dozen pics of us on this thing. . LOL. . but will only post a few.

for how small it is? it really hauled, and you could tell hey take really good, loving care of it.
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I can easily forgive them for the animals not being carved wood, since they are painted so nicely.
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they even have a White Rabbit (but I wasn't about to "cheat" on my Bunny at SFFT carousel on this stop) :p
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for a Carousel this size, it's nice they have a chariot on it too.

but I guess the farm does get a lot of grandma's coming with the kiddos, so great of them to have a seated non-moving part of the Carousel for folks to ride with the kiddo.
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after 2 rides (think they were $3 each, if recalling correctly), we started to make our way around the animals.

nearest the Carousel? Flamingos . . .
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and Capybaras

who were mainly huddled in the back, even tho it wasn't that hot yet.
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but my phone does a pretty nice zoom. . so could still get an ok pic of them :)
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looking back at the Carousel, you can get a sense of the size of it, and just how lovely this place is.

our tram WAS full, but most folks went to the left to feed the animals (while we went to the right, since I wanted to ride the Carousel first).
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and me with the Carousel. whee!
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after looking at the Capybaras, and me getting my Carousel Fix, Nick had to go to the bathroom, so we headed the few steps back to the main gate so he could do that.

In addition to the restrooms, over here they have a gift shop geared to the goats/feeding goats.. with some GREAT T-shirts. Unfortunately, the shirts were only in kids sizes. I even asked if they have any larger sizes at the main shop up front where the parking lot is, and the counter lady told me "sadly, no.. people have been asking for years for adult sizes, but they only want to sell the kids sizes"

I don't really understand that, except maybe they want to make it extra special for the kids - ie: here's something ONLY for you - since they can't partake in the beer later on down the path. so it was a little disappointing, but otherwise, a very nice gift shop that also had a reading corner, with a clown (who had puppets) keeping the little ones entertained.

and as noted, there were already a LOT of little ones about, and more tramfulls coming every 10 minutes or so.
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so once Nick finished up, we went back into the park, and to the left. . to see the goats.

I didn't really want to touch a goat (even with all the available hand sanitizer), and really didn't see a need to buy a bottle to feed any, since everyone else was doing that.

so I was happy just to hang out and get pics of other people feeding the goats.
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See?
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See?
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and they all think you have food for them anyways. . so the moment you get close? they pop their heads right up to be fed.
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Sorry dude, no food for you. . I don't wanna touch anything that's gonna touch a goat today.
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I said "NO" mister!
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holee crap, that's a big bunny over there.. . will have to go see what that's about, but first we have to go next door to the . . .
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Sheep!!

who are also hoping to get food, but they get dry food, so we did toss them a few pellets that were gifted to us to feed them from a parent who's child was having a meltdown and had to get away from the animals.
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very pretty, and photogenic.
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they have a couple of bald Eagles there too
(I still hadn't really put together the Anheiser-Busch/Budwieser - AMERICA connection yet. . LOL
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no cages, but obviously these dudes don't fly.
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.

ooo. you're cute! what are you?
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ok, a Cavy. .no idea. . but you're cute.
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Like a giant chipmunk.
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This was the monkeyhouse for the Lemurs. All kinds of toys and fountains for them to play with, but couldn't see much of them, just a tail here or there. Lazy Lemurs :)
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Looking back towards the entrance/Carousel. . so you can see we really haven't moved very far into the area, but have seen a lot of animals already.

again, will state how lovely this place is.
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.

one of the giant bunnies pretending to be a slipper. . .LOL
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. . and now,

to the absolute HORROR of the family next to us with the two little kids,

but to Nick and I's hysterical Amusements. . .
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.

.

bunnies, being bunnies !!

ta-daaaa!

LOL
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and while the bunnies were going at it like there was no tomorrow?

right next door, the tortise was just happy chilling.
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and she had her lettuce and her pellets. . didn't want no turtle love, just her food.

a tortise after my own heart.
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a map showing the layout of Grant's Farm.

the tram drops you off at the 3-star, and you walk thru the zoo area, and you exit at the tram pick up at the 4-star, that brings you back to the front gates.

it looks way smaller than the area is, and we easily could have spent a good 4-5 hours here, instead of the 2 1/2 or so that we did.
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this little fluffball was just roaming around jumping between animal pens - and the animals in those pens (mainly Tortoises, Hares, and Sheep), just ignored it.

I think it's a baby chicken?
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yep. they have Ostriches too. . in a giant pen, tho the only pics I got of them were the heads poking up over the rocks (the keepers told us they used to have Elephants until fairly recently when the last one they had passed. . and it looked to me like the Ostriches were in the old Elephant pen)
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.

going to the other side of the monkey house.. THERE'S a Lemur.
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and moving on, we found roaming peacocks.
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who posed for a pretty picture.
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there are a number of colorful birds here in this section, but we only glanced at them as we're not big "bird" people. Nick didn't even go thru the bird house in the St. Louis zoo if you recall
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but they do have "waterfoul" at the *brilliantly* named "5-Fountain Lake"

I wonder what they do if one of the fountains break? do they have a magnetic "4" they hang on the sign? :p
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what I think is a very nice pic of Nick and I, so including
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a look towards the German Town Square area. . but first we have . . . Camel Rides?

I begged Nick to get on one, so we could get a picture, as the rides were really reasonable price wise, and the picture they would take would be too.

but he was starting to hurt and wanted to get off his feet.

So I sat him down on a bench and I went over to look at the camels.
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what day is it???

(it was Monday, but don't worry, my fat ass isn't gonna climb up on you today)!
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but I WILL take a picture with you.
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a nice memorial to the Elephants the park had was across the way from the Camel Rides, as well as some additional pens, with roaming Camels, Llamas, and Oxen
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you could feed these guys too, but I just took some pictures, as didn't really wanna touch animals today.
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even from far away, the Llamas kinda stunk. . the Camels weren't a rose garden, but the Llamas were like a sewer. One has to wonder just what they enjoy rolling in.
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the Camels have such pretty eyes, and they were SO friendly.
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.

They even have a baby (well, a few months old) there closest to us.
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Nick wasn't with me over here, but they had a photo op, with the AB logo/sign, and I love me a photo op.

So stopped for a pic (I'm So sexy!)
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I then went over to where Nick had been resting on the bench, and we were ready to grab a bite to eat.

but first took a pic of the entrance gate proper into the "German Square area"
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a couple coming in asked if we wanted a pic together in front of it, so of course we said yes.

the folks we met on this St Louis trip were so dang friendly. . we had such pleasant interactions with almost everyone.
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stepping into the main square, which they had set up with a lot of tables and seating (and stages that looked like they had music there often). . but up there on the right? that looked like stables, so I wanted to check that out.

turned out that it is a stables of sorts - where they keep many horses (including the Clydesdales) when they are bringing them for washing, brushing, prettying up for photo-ops with the guests, and / or commercial shoots. Turns out that Grant's Farm has a separate stables - not on public view - where they maintain the largest group of Clydesdales in the USA for Team Budweiser..that was pretty cool.

also over here in the "grooming" area, was a small museum featuring carts/carriages (I think themed to how they used to deliver beer..but not 100% sure). the Carriages on display were really cool, and I could have spent much longer in here, even tho the cramped way they were displayed made it a little hard to appreciate some of the carving in them.

Still very cool to have onsite, and an unexpected surprise
(tho to be fair, we went in mostly blind, so it was all unexpected)
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very cool Carriage, with some incredible hand painting on it.

(you can see behind it how some of the other carriages were crammed in, so you couldn't really get good pics of them).
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but some of the more unique ones were out on the main floor for viewing
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and at the end of the room..where they bring out the horses to groom.

including this adorable little miniature horse.
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and this guy who looks like he's getting inflated thru his butt, due to the angle of the picture. . LOL
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here's a pic without the "butt-hose"
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although his buddy on the other side couldn't avoid the groomer around his backside either. . .:p
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a look back at one of the Clydesdales, waiting his turn to be groomed.
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and a few more carriages on the way out, to go across to the cafe, as we were really starting to get hungry
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this is the exit to the trams, but the BratHaus cafe is just under it to the left.

it was basically a counter service place, but they had a pretty decent menu (if you enlarge you might be able to make it out), including soups, salads, sandwiches, brats (of course), pretzels (with beer cheese sauce), and a lot of other stuff.

we ended up with brats (standard with Saurkraut and Jalepeno), as well as pretzels with beer-cheese dipping sauce.

we picked up a couple of waters too, but we had by now noticed that right next door to the BratHaus? the Busch Hospitality Bar. . with free Samples
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it was still fairly early (maybe 10:45 or so), so they were not busy yet. . and got t go in with no line, and chat with the gentleman behind the counter.

they had multiple options on tap, 2 samples per person (so Nick and I could get 4) all nice and cold, and best part, free.

if we didn't want what was on tap, there was another room next door that sold canned and bottled beer in many more varieties, but really? why do that when there are so many options here?

MOST of them acceptable . . LOL
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I really liked some of the classic Tankards on display.
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and even the classic Budweiser sign was pretty cool.
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oh, and when they say "samples". .they mean freaking FULL glasses.

glass #1. . (no, I don't remember what it was. .just that it was ice cold, and it was good)
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one of these is Stella. . the other is the beer from the 1st pic.

Nick wasn't gonna drink, so I ended up getting at least 1 of his beers. I wasn't worried about getting buzzed from 3 beers, especially since we were about to eat.

and yes, I inhaled that Brat that's sitting behind the beer in these pics.
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this was glass #2. . ShockTop Belgian white. . it was pretty good that I recall
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and I even joked to Nick about how - look, I'm gonna do a CoasterBill trip report, with beer in it!

tho not sure Bill would be happy with Busch/Budweiser as the free options. . but hey, the price was right, and I was having a grand old time.

they also had set up a number of "cider", "Icee" and "ice cream" stands around the inside of the courtyard, I suppose to give the kiddos something to beg for while the adults drank and hung out.

the tables out here, WERE starting to fill up, and the place was getting noticeably more crowded.
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here you can see a few folks going into the "crafhaus" to buy the bottled/canned beer. .they didn't want the free stuff on tap, I guess.
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ok. .so after 3 beers.. I WAS feeling it a little bit.

(LOL. . we hadn't eaten that morning, so other than what we just ate, all that was in me was beer).

so because we didn't have to leave just yet (which I used as an excuse to lose some of the buzz), I dragged Nick back out to where the Camels were.
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and I fed them.

LOL. . didn't wanna touch any animals, but the moment I get a slight buzz? Camel spit all over my hand. . .
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I even pet them too!

they were like giant puppies. . so loving (tho I'm not stupid, they were only so loving because I had food, the moment i had no more camel pellets, they wandered off to someone else who had a fresh handful of them).
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and since Nick was with me now, I dragged him with me back to the photo op so I could get a pic of both of us with the Grant's Farm/AB logo :)
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we wandered around a bit in the sun, and I think may have gone back in to look at them grooming a Clydesdale (but for some reason didn't take a pic of that). . and then on the way to the tram? what did we see?

yep. . Dippin Dots ! they are everywhere!

I asked the young man in the booth to tell me all the secrets about RMC Gwazi at BGT. . since you know, the dippin dots guys know *everything*.. but he just looked at me like I was crazy, and laughed when I explained.

:)

then it was out to the tram, to go back to the front gates - which by then had lines that not only completely filled all the switchbacks for the tram, went back OVER the bridge, and along the entryway street! The parking lot was completely full, and they were sending cars back to . . .someplace off in the distance for overflow.

so yeah, it really did get crowded by Noon. On a Monday! I'd highly recommend this place, but if you go, try to get there just at opening to really have time to enjoy it. I can't imagine Nick would have been happy if we pulled up and saw the line that long to get in.
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we did some shopping in the General Store - where I bought a T-shirt and a magnet, and then we ended up purchasing the green screen picture we had taken earlier in the morning.

3 of the 4 shots looked really fake.

but this one? this one was good, and they knew it too, as they had chosen to print this one out the biggest.

so we spent too much $$ on a souvenir photo, and then headed out to the car in order to go to the airport and return the rental car.

of course, we immediately got hella lost (the directions going back were crap), and we got a lovely tour of some seedy parts of St. Louis. Fighting the whole way, of course, since Nick was supposed to be navigting, but he has a real problem regarding reading more than 2 lines ahead in the printed directions.. so when quick turns come up, he misses them - and then *I* miss them, since I'm driving.

But once I spotted the arch, and just headed that way? eventually we were back near our Hotel and found our way to the airport easily from there.
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:51 am

Glad you had a good time at the "original" Busch Gardens! It's also the only one still owned by AB, so all that beer on tap is AB products. Around here Budweiser is the local brewery, and they do make a few acceptable products, including that Shock Top.

And lol at those rabbits...You came here to see animals, this is what animals do!
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby RAWKIN_coaster38 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:40 am

Great TR! Looks like a very fun place! I wanted to check out this place when I was in StL last time over July 4th weekend, but didn't. I can't remember exactly why we opted not to go, but I think it was because it would to take too long for my time frame.
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby bert425 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:07 pm

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Glad you had a good time at the "original" Busch Gardens! It's also the only one still owned by AB, so all that beer on tap is AB products. Around here Budweiser is the local brewery, and they do make a few acceptable products, including that Shock Top.

And lol at those rabbits...You came here to see animals, this is what animals do!


yeah, the Shock Top was really good (from what I recall). . and I still remain astounded at the size of the samples! (even when at BGW and they were doing the 49cent beer, it was in the much smaller glasses).

Love that you call it "the original BG". . LOL

and yeah, on the rabbits - I mean. . they are rabbits! what do people expect to see?
(this was the only "show" we did. . tho Grant's Farm did have two "shows" on the schedule (one an upcharge and one free), we didn't do either show while there).


RAWKIN_coaster38 wrote:Great TR! Looks like a very fun place! I wanted to check out this place when I was in StL last time over July 4th weekend, but didn't. I can't remember exactly why we opted not to go, but I think it was because it would to take too long for my time frame.


as noted, I think it's a wonderful stop to make if you get the chance, and only having to pay for parking makes it an even nicer deal.

would I have bypassed the City Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, SFStL or the Arch for it?

no, but if I had to choose between the SLAM (St. Louis Art Museum) or Grant's Farm.. would have chosen Grant's Farm. Luckily we didn't have to decide and got to do both!

but certainly worth a trip if in the city again.

glad you've enjoyed the TR :)
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby bert425 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:00 pm

and batting clean up on this TR.. we made it to the Airport (which was way bigger it seemed going out, than it had coming in. . since, of course, our gate was *way* at the end of the terminal on the opposite side of the one restaurant in the airport that sold T-ravs. Something we had been dying to try, and just hadn't had the chance yet).

I absolutely loved the people and the touristy attractions in St. Louis, and I really look forwards to heading back there in a the next few years for a return visit. Maybe even a weekend in 2020.
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Nick stopping to take a rest in the "airport rockers". . . on the long walk to our gate.

it was a nice area tho, with a lot of seating avail.
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airport T-Ravs.

better than no T-ravs, I say.

How were they? I actually found them to be a bit salty (guessing it was the Parmesan sprinkled on top), but when eaten dipped into the tomato sauce there? were actually pretty dang good.

not sure I could eat more than just this amount of them tho - as they were very filling, due to the fried outer shell.
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the Magnet I got at Grant's Farm
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and this Souvenir T-shirt that I loved, and already have been wearing a TON.
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Re: bert goes to St Louis and gets all touristy - Trip Repor

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:24 am

bert425 wrote:airport T-Ravs

better than no T-ravs, I say.

Agreed, and glad you got to try some. Since you say you want to come back, next time you're here, go to the Hill. It's our Italian neighbourhood, and there are some awesome restaurants there.
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