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Aug 29 2010

St. Louis City Museum

Posted by Mugs @ 8:30 pm in Family,Sightseeing

On our way to Minnesota this summer, we stopped by to see my brother Howie and his family in St. Louis. Every trip to see Uncle Howie, brings a new place to explore. We’ve been to the Magic House to blow bubbles and make our hair stand on end. We’ve been to the zoo on a rainy day and enjoyed the animals and the free admission. We’ve traveled in a tiny compartment to the top of the Arch in search of a grand view. We’ve cheered loudly when Albert Pujols hit a home run at a Cardinal’s game, and we’ve learned about sound waves at the Science Museum.

I knew that Howie, who never runs out of fun places to go, would find yet another unexpected gem. He, of course, did just that.

This time we visited the St. Louis City Museum, and it was a fun place indeed. The museum looks as if it was created by a group of architects, artists, metal workers, and carpenters scheming to try to keep their own children entertained. It is a wildly fun place.

We decided to go up on the roof first, and slide on the giant slides. The elevator had a wait, so I told the kids we would just walk up. I was excited when I read that to get back down, we could ride a ten story slide. This information should have clued me in to the fact that a slide ten stories long could only be in a building ten stories high.  Sometimes I’m not too swift, and in this instance I exhibited that both mentally and physically. The kids were none too happy as we trudged up ten flights of stairs.

On the roof, we discovered a giant metal praying mantis, a ferris wheel, a wide metal slide, a long concrete slide, a giant rope swing, a cage to climb in, a stepping stone fountain, and a bus dangling off the edge of the roof. The ferris wheel guy liked Abby, so we kept going around while other people got on and then got off.

“Go around again!”

The roof was a lot of fun, but the ten story slide down was a major disappointment. The slide was made of metal, and it was in need of wax paper. The place figured this out eventually, and started sending people down with wax paper to sit on. We were not so lucky and had to scoot the ten stories to the bottom.

Our disappointment with the ten story slide was quickly washed away by the sight of the dinosaur cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites. There were giant dinosaurs carved into the spines of the rocks, bubbling glowing pools, crystals, and places to climb over, under and through.

“Cool!” could be heard echoing off the walls.

Outside the museum, there is a massive metal climbing structure big enough for adults to climb up, over and through. The bones of airplanes are welded on at the top, and once my nephew Ean (3 yrs old) saw them, he said “Airplane! Airplane! Airplane!” until we climbed on up.

There are also giant ball pits in which you can pummel others and others can pummel you. My nephew Jadon jumped in and was nearly lost amongst the rubber balls. Josiah and Gabe undertook a dodge ball war with some pushy kid. It took them awhile to make their escape.

Above the dinosaur cave is a large gallery decorated with glass shards and strips of cloth It looks like the sea. It has a giant whale to climb in which contains more slides and secret passages, including one that goes under the floor. The kids went down under the floor, and when they did not reemerge from the hole I was watching, I began to fear that they had gotten stuck. Not wanting to get stuck down there myself, I sent Dale down to find them. He managed to jimmy his way through and thankfully discovered an alternate exit.

On the second floor, we found a machine that made shoe laces, a bank vault to walk through, and a giant wooden barrel in which to have a race. Everyone gave the barrel race a go, and Dale felt no sympathy when he sent his children sliding down the slats.

The third floor was the location of Ean’s most loved train ride, a lame yet funny magic show that my niece Aaralyn smiled at, a building block area, and an art room. In the art room, Abby made a mask, Gabe sculpted a banana, and Zeke painted a picture. Dale was supposed to be helping Zeke and he decided it would be helpful to give Zeke a lot of paint. There was so much paint on Zeke’s picture that it took an entire day to dry. Gabe’s clay banana sculpture was dropped and broken, in commemoration of his wooden banana sculpture which years earlier was dropped and broken.

Please no more banana sculptures!

The funnest area on the third floor was the skateless park. It was a large room filled with skate ramps and a lot of children jumping off, over, and on top of them. Zeke’s favorite ramp was really steep and he slid down it over and over and over again. Josiah was quite adept at sliding down one ramp at a run, running up the one across from it and scaling the top. If I could find a medicine ball, he would be ready for the IOCT.

The entire visit was filled with the unexpected and the kids had a blast. My favorite moment came when Josiah sat down at a ratty looking grand piano (sitting in the middle of the third floor landing) and played Linus and Lucy. A hush fell over the crowd and many people stopped in their tracks. When he finished, a loud cheer rose up. For me, it was a wonderful moment on a wonderful day filled with imagination.

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