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!
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.
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