I have not pressed my fingers into my keyboard hardly at all the past couple weeks. The desire has been there, but along with many other things, it fell by the wayside with my lack of motivation as I battled through some sickness. Some days my only goal was survival and keeping food down. Other days were better, but they were busy because due to my sick, get-little-done days I had gobs of laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. to do. Though Mitch has been pitching in a ton and frankly keeping us going and fed some days, despite being quite busy himself.
But I wanted to share this post I started weeks ago before it becomes obsolete:
This past Labor Day weekend we slipped away to St. Louis for an adventurous couple days. Well, it was mostly wonderful. Our hotel room was very small which made hiding the pack ‘n play difficult. The bathroom door didn’t completely shut behind it, so we felt like we couldn’t keep a light on even though it was only 8 PM. Still, we could hear every move Rebekah made. All night. And I am sure she could hear us shift and roll over and snore. But it didn’t keep us from having an amazing time.
St. Louis is a beautiful mix of art and industrialism. We felt this tone a lot downtown as we wandered the old brick roads and admired all the brick buildings. Driving into St. Louis stunned me with all the old, beautiful, brick homes crammed side by side. Especially because there are so many trees in this area. Mitch said St. Louis was known for masonry. I guess that makes sense. It gives you a sense of city’s age and history.
Upon the recommendations of many of our teens, we visited Grant’s Farm, which is much like a zoo. Rebekah loved seeing the Clydesdales, elephants, and zebras. The next morning we made it to the St. Louis Zoo early. We loved the polar bears and penguins! We’ve been reading a lot of animal books, and I think it really came alive for her. When she wasn’t in the stroller, she was running from one animal to the next, staring and pointing at them in amazement.
We absolutely loved the Spaghetti Factory downtown. It doesn’t feel like a chain. It has a beautiful ambiance and food that tastes rustic and local. However, we almost didn’t stay. Our main goal was toasted (aka deep fried) ravioli—a St. Louis favorite. And their fryers were not working. But miraculously they were fixed a couple minutes after we sat down—and very worth staying for!
A few tips, or things to expect if you take a similar trip to St. Louis:
- The zoo and Grant’s Farm are free, but they charge for “extra” things. For example, it cost a dollar for Rebekah to feed the goats a bottle of milk. Parking was $12 at Grant’s Farm. Though we did get free street parking about a block away from the zoo. But we also got there when it opened at 8 AM.
- Take advantage of the 8-9 AM free hour at the St. Louis zoo. The zoo is technically free, but you have to pay to get into extra special parts. We enjoyed the kids’ zoo and the free carousel— which Rebekah loved and went on twice.
- Downtown parking wasn’t awful, but it is always worth driving a few blocks to see if you can find a meter or cheaper parking. We made a rookie mistake and paid six dollars for parking at Laclede’s Landing, when a block away there was nicer parking for three dollars. Always drive around the block.
- Mitch and I both had good memories of Union Station—which looked beautiful from the outside. But when we walked inside, it was a ghost town. The only stores open were a Subway and a fast-food cheese steak restaurant. There were one or two workers in the restaurants and an old janitor meandering and mumbling to himself, a security guard on his lunch break, and a young man in a suit, sitting in an office chair—in the middle of the food court—playing on his phone. Apparently he was the manager of this strange empty place. The workers told us that Union Station was being transformed. In 2019 or 2020 it will reopen—complete with its own small amusement park and aquarium. So stay tuned and check back in a few years!
- Take time to walk along the river near the arch and downtown. It is a lovely little stretch if the weather is nice. Vacations can be exhausting. But, I am convinced that when possible, slow down and do something simple and relaxing. Sometimes it turns out to be the most memorable part of the trip.
- We didn’t do museums this time, we figured that would be better when it is cold out and Rebekah is a tad older. However, we have heard people rave about some of the children’s museums in St. Louis! The City Museum is on our future must-see list.
After our time in St. Louis we headed to Springfield and Branson to see Mitch’s family. We had a ton of fun eating by the river, going to church as a family, and enjoying a Labor Day cookout.
What are your favorite St. Louis activities?