Monday, September 28, 2009

The Magic of St. Louis

We're on our way home from St. Louis as I write this.  We had so much fun and packed a ton of activities into our short time there.  St. Louis is a terrific vacation destination for families.  There's just so much to do for all ages and we barely scratched the surface.  Besides Six Flags, The Magic House, City Museum, the Gateway Arch, riverboat cruises, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the St. Louis Zoo (things we did this weekend), there's also a free Budweiser tour, Cahokia Mounds, Meramec Caverns, Purina Farms, nearby Hannibal, MO with Mark Twain's boyhood home, museum, cave, and the unsinkable Molly Brown's house (Titanic), and much much more.  The weather's pretty great this time of year too - not too hot and not too cold to enjoy both indoor and outdoor activities.  My kids are already asking, "When can we go back?" and since it's a fairly short 4 1/2 hours from Chicago, I'm sure we'll return again soon.  Well, that and the fact that Joe noticed they have Waffle Houses there and he didn't have the chance to eat at one.


So yesterday, we went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens in the morning.  I'm not big on gardens.  I don't like to garden.  I don't care much about flowers.  I'm allergic to bees and Savannah has terrible allergies to pretty much anything found in a garden.  Still, we walked around and thought it was a pretty cool place.  We especially liked the Children's Garden because there were interactive areas for the kids to play.  I have to admit that the older kids were bored here.  The younger ones could've stayed for hours, however.  They had a lot of fun in the Children's Garden.  If you live in the area, it's worth checking out with your little kids.  If you're vacationing in St. Louis and love gardens, go.  If you just have older kids and aren't really into gardening, you might want to skip this in favor of one of St. Louis's billion other attractions.


Cool garden with these giant lily pads.  According to Jackson, the lily pads will hold a person up if they stand on one.  Thankfully none of the kids tested this theory.


 The kids thought this was cool.  I was less than thrilled at seeing this guy in the garden.  But still, he was better than all the bees!


 exploring the cave in the children's garden which had a Tom Sawyer theme




 swinging like a monkey from some vines in children's garden




 feeding koi in Japanese garden





After the Missouri Botanical Gardens, we grabbed some lunch and headed to The Magic House which is a children's museum.  I thought the youngest 3 or 4 kids would like it, but figured the older kids would be bored.  I was wrong.  They all had fun there!  If I just had the teenagers, I probably wouldn't take them to this museum which is really geared for younger kids.  But if you, like me, have both younger and older kids, fear not - your older ones will be amused while the little ones play here.  And the little ones will go nuts with all there is to do!  Tons of fun, science-like exhibits and a lot of imaginative play will keep them busy for hours.  And now through January, 24, 2010, there's a totally cute Curious George exhibit.  We all love Curious George and my kids watch George on TV almost daily so this was a big hit with us.



Lexi the doorman


 Clay & Lexi playing with wind




This was the part the older kids really loved.  They probably spent close to an hour solving a mystery by doing different forensic experiments.  It was a total CSI thing and they really got into it!


Lexi's disguise


Mr. President, sir, you're looking rather, umm different today.


Can you guess who's who?


This part of the museum was a little town complete with pizza parlor, house, grocery store, electric company, TV station, fishing pond, auto shop, bank, and more!  The little kids could have played here all day!




And the highlight for the older kids...








Finally, we went to dinner at the Fountain on Locust.  This place was fun!  It's an old fashioned soda fountain that makes homemade phosphates, egg creams, ice cream martinis and so much more.  I had a bowl of the most delicious chicken & dumplin soup ever!  The atmosphere was cool, the waitresses were super-nice and friendly and the food was delicious.  If you're in the area, check it out!  Don't be fooled by its location - it looks like it's in an abandoned part of town with nothing else around, but it's a gem.




Brooklyn's chocolate goatee courtesy of their Zanzibar chocolate ice cream.



Then we hit the St. Louis Zoo today before heading home.  Again, we wish we'd had more time to spend there as it's a really nice zoo!


Hello, Mr. Hippo!




Very cool (literally) penguin exhibit


Clay made a new friend.  This chimp just sat there staring at him.  Kindred spirits, I say.



The St. Louis Convention and Visitor's Center paid for our hotel, meals, and attraction tickets, but I haven't been paid to write about St. Louis.  My opinions are my own and they're always honest.


Scroll down to read more about our trip to St. Louis


Jessica said...

I notice the kids are wearing their safety tats. I still say those things are one of the coolest inventions for parents!

Deirdre said...

Your trip sounds like so much fun! We did a quick visit to the arch last year on our way to visit friends in Kansas, but we'd love to go back. If only we didn't have family all over the country who think all our vacation time should be spent with them!

If you ever go through Madison on your camping trips to Wisconsin, stop at Ella's Deli. The kids will love it, and I'd love to hear your take on it.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

i grew up in hannibal... the best time to go is the 4th of july week it is hopping with a bazillion things to do! and if you ever get there be sure to check out the views from riverview park and lovers leap... i have posted pics over the years cause every trip i make it back i have to go to both... the lighthouse is great and the cave well its awesome too as well as the historic parts and of course you must partake of a maderite and the homemade rootbeer at the mark twain dinette on main st. :)

Scrapingirl said...

You have a bunch of good looking kids, I must say. Even with all their hair sticking up and out. :) I'm glad you guys had a great time. I never knew all that was there. I'm gonna have to remember that the next time we go down there.

noexcuses said...

Wow, you could write travel brochures!!! Great job reporting on our fair city's attractions. We've been here 14 years and are still discovering new and interesting places to see. So glad you all had a great time. Come back and see us again!

Deckside Thoughts said...

I can't believe you didn't get to eat any of gigantic onion rings famous in St. Louis! You must go back!

Thanks for the tour and the memories.

Katie Rosenthal-Mayer said...

MMMMMMM.....WAFFLE HOUSE!!! That's enough to convince me to go back to St. Louis!!! I was there 9 years ago w/ my church youth group for a convention. One of the other leaders and I ditched out and went to Budweiser!! What fun.
I love St. Louis though, we had a blast too!!!

Becky said...

The static-hair shots were awesome!

JDub said...

You missed the science center! LOADS of fun for everyone there!

mommyrox said...

I love the pictures. I had to laugh at the group shot of the kids in the land of Curious George. It looks like Austin is hanging on to Curious George, and the Man with the Big Yellow Hat is goosing Savannah. You have a lovely family.

Table for Seven said...

I can't believe you didn't stop by. You were only 3.5 hours from my house in Kansas City. LOL!

By the way, if Joe is looking for Waffle House, tell him to head to GA. It's the home of Waffle House and I swear there are towns that have them on every corner. Assuming they didn't all wash away....

On Stage said...

What a fun trip. I have a friend that just returned from St. Louis with her family and loved it.

Also... love Brooklyn's goatee! My 4 year old daughter's favorite flavor is Zanzibar chocolate and she often sports the same goatee as well as a Fu Manchu!

Brenda Luter said...

Oh yeah! St. Louis Rocks! I'm partial because I've live here my whole life. My kids do all those things you did and they never get tired of them. Their favorites are the City Museum, The Magic House and we are only 10 minutes from Six Flags so we have passes every year! And... the zoo - we do that several times a year. You didn't go to Grants Farm - that is another favorite. Glad you had a good time!

Michelle said...

Uhhhh don't tout the Cahokia Mounds without having been there. Even I was bored when we went ;)

The Magic House is WAY cool. We love it there. They're affiliated with the Kohl's Childrens Museum, too, so if you're a member at one, you can get in the other for free!

My husband hasn't heard of Fountain on Locust (it must be new if I don't know it), but we're definitely going to try it next time we go!

Kristy said...

I've been to the St. Louis Zoo and Arch, but none of the other places! I'm jealous! I wanna go!!! I told hubby just now we have got to plan a vacation to St. Louis next year to visit all them places! If you can do it with your 6 kids, I can do it with my 4! Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing with us!

Lisa said...

OMG!! I can't believe there are no Waffle Houses in Illinois!! Next time you are in Atlanta you'll have to go to one. Atlanta is the home of Waffle House, but they are all over the southeast. Most fun time to go is either at 2am on a Friday or Saturday or Saturday mornings.

I've enjoyed your travel journal. While I haven't planned a trip to St. Loius, it looks like a very good place to vacation with kids. Some activities are inside and some are outside.

Anonymous said...

SSO question - so Dr. Pepper/Diet Dr. Pepper isn't available in Chicago? Somebody really needs to do something about that - what a tragedy! ;-) That's our family's favorite drink!

Susie said...

OMG I love the picture of you touching the knob. That should be your new profile picture.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

You ar a brave woman going on a vacation with that many family memebers!! My family drives me nuts in the car just going to town lol.

Lyuda said...

The picture of you with the static hair is awesome!!! You look like you have the hair of a Greek goddess or something.

Kirsten said...

Well, I think the St. Louis Vistitor's Center had an excellent idea and sending you guys there was money well spent. After reading this I would love to take my family here for vacation, whereas before I NEVER would have thought, "oh, lets go to St. Louis!" I will avoid the pizza though. Thanks!

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