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...
Our view from our hotel... This would change pretty significantly over the course of the weekend.
First glance at the St. Louis Gateway Arch.
I'm in Budweiser town!
A really cool sculpture at the entrance of the zoo...
Just reminds me of the classic SeaWorld/Busch Gardens architecture...
The entry interior is quite cool too!
Never saw an insect exhibit this neat!
Neat getting to see these ants at work.
Can you find the stick bugs?
The butterfly garden was neat too!
Signs of the cold starting to creep in...
The hyenas didn't mind the chill.
A cheetah on the run...
It is eyeing me down...
Elephants out in the cold...
TPR (fake) Turtle Fancy fulfilled!
This bear was adorable!
A little too cold for Dole Whip today...
TPR (real) Turtle Fancy fulfilled!
So neat looking and yet still deadly.
I'd never seen a spider monkey in person before! Its tail was quite impressive.
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.
You don't have to go to Legoland to experience The LEGO Movie 4D.
Time to spend some time with the orangutans.
Just hanging out...
Meet Ginger (that's her actual name)!
Don't act like you're not impressed.
He's like the Coca-Cola Polar Bear!
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.
It is an open air exhibit but it doesn't have the silly ride attached.
Up-close and open air like you'd want an exhibit for penguins to be.
Echoes of the former Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld.
And there were puffins!
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!
Is everything awesome?
Afterwards we stopped to have some St. Louis BBQ... But first, real orange soda.
Pappy's was well worth the hype...
All the meat!
And by the time our lunch had ended, the snow had started to roll in...
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.
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.
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...
From the moment you enter the City Museum, there's nothing "ordinary" about the place.
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.
Sadly due to it being Winter (and the snow), the outdoor section was not open to explore.
But it certainly looked cool!
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.
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.
You know how they say don't look down?
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.
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!
Very cool, though I don't know that I can articulate why for.
The City Museum consistently updates its spaces so that permanent pieces are maintained and temporary exhibits are swapped out.
The skate-less skate park was fun!
The City Museum even has a Toddler Town section for the younger guests to enjoy.
I love the tributes to the Gateway Arch throughout the experience.
Flashback to the days of Shamu's Happy Harbor at SeaWorld Orlando...
Some of the slides are near pitch black and that's awesome!
Almost everywhere you look you'll find climbing structures to explore.
There's a train for the youngsters to enjoy as well.
Beatnik Bob's ended up being a favorite spot of mine during our visit.
Retro arcade games and pinball machines!
There was a collection of loose toys available for purchase for $1 each!
The lighting junkie in me loved this section of the place!
Awesome lighting AND alcohol? Sign me up!
So my speed!
Love it all!
I wish I could've ridden this...
The train wraps around a few sections of the City Museum including this cool display that you can also crawl under and inside of.
Just hanging out on a giant pencil...
The outside section looks so cool, especially in the snow!
There's an art museum on one of the upper floors to explore.
It wasn't open during our visit but it looked neat.
These smaller crawl spaces aren't for the claustrophobic as you have to contort your body in some weird ways to move around...
Every angle presents a unique view.
Every. Single. View.
I couldn't help but stare at this view.
Goooooingggggg dowwwnnnnnn.... *guitar riff*
The ground floor of City Museum is arguably the most artistic.
So many hidden crawl spaces.
If you can access it, you can explore it.
There's a steep slide to the basement found from the above crawl space.
The caverns are pretty neat too.
Don't look down!
The caverns really are unique.
Time to head out...
I'll be back more in the future without question!
Compared to our view of the courthouse the night before, a lot had changed...
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
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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