Last week our family was able to take a few days and go to St. Louis, MO for a short vacation. It has been years since I have been there, but it was the first trip for everyone else. Jim has been wanting to go since we moved to Louisville, especially to see the baseball stadium. (Baseball is his favorite sport, in case you wanted to know.) We got up early on Monday and drove west.
Our first stop, the Gateway Arch. It was overcast when we arrived and cool. Perfect weather for looking around outside. As soon as we went into the museum, the sky fell and it poured rain! Getting in was a mess as we had to have everything examined including taking everyone and everything out of the stroller. It was packed full. The kids enjoyed looking at all of the things set up in the museum that showed the westward expansion of our country. Once we knew we could check into the hotel, we left to get everyone settled. We stayed in O'Fallon, IL and the hotel was nice for the right price. :)
In the evening Jim and I went out for our weekly date. We tried a local Mexican restaurant, then took the public transportation to an interesting area of the city. I really liked their public system and it worked well. We walked around this area of St. Louis and got some ice cream. We met a guy who is working on a comic book and shared some of his work with us. We had a good small conversation and got a drawing of his villain for a couple of dollars. The guy was a really good artist and I hope that God will bless his efforts to publish his comic book. As a writer I could identify with him and the struggle to get it done.
On the ride back to the hotel I examined the picture of the villain and really appreciated it. Why? First of all it was intricate and well done. But more than that, I appreciated how the villain was portrayed. Upon first glance there was nothing about this character that screamed villain. And is that not how Satan is? He parades as an angel of light and makes evil look good. Let me know if you want to see the drawing!
Tuesday was full! In the morning we went to the Science Center and Planetarium. It free to go in and look around! There was so much to see in this there and it was very interactive. The Jim, Becca and the kids had fun building 2 different arches. They had a dinosaur lab with figures and a small "dig site". There were also 2 very large animatronic dinosaurs that scared the little ones. My favorite was a game that explained genetics. It was so good for kids of all ages.
We all took a much needed rest in the afternoon! In the evening Jim, Mom, Jamey, Lillian and me prepared for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. (No we have not become Cardinals fans. We will be die hard Braves fans until the day we die. :) Jim wanted to see the stadium.) We took the public transportation to the game, which was fun for the kids. They really enjoyed riding on the train. It was a good game. We met some interesting people. We enjoyed stadium food and some Dippin' Dots. (I love Dippin' Dots!) Lillian was getting into the game and cheering when everyone else did. Best of all, it was perfect weather for a baseball game. It was a very enjoyable evening.
Wednesday was also very full! We went to the St. Louis Zoo, which was also free! It was huge and full of lots of fun animals. The kids loved looking at them and watching the animals play. There were many animals that we had studied in science or other reading books that Jamey would identify and talk about. It was so neat watching Reuben and Gabriel get into the animals this time. Gabriel loved walking around like a big boy.
In the morning it was raining, so we spent a lot of time running from one shelter to another, but that gave us the opportunity to look longer at the information and for the kids to learn more. They had a really cool bug house with lots of creepy crawlies. All of the kids liked this. I personally liked the butterfly house. Apparently the average lifespan of a butterfly is 2 weeks! That's crazy. The kids really liked looking for different kinds of butterflies and comparing them to the chart the zoo provided. It was such a fun day.
We took the kids back to the hotel while my parents and sister went to the free art museum. It was nice to just sit back and relax for a little bit. Jim and I talked while the kids watched a movie. We ate Subway in the room then Jim and I ran to a scrapbook store that was just down the road. That place was sweet! They had so many papers and stickers and lots of unique things for making books. I also learned about using binders for scrapbooking and decided to get one to give it a try. It was nice to have someone explain it to me.
After the kids went to sleep, Jim and I got to go play in the pool for a little bit. It was so weird to be able to walk across the whole pool. We had fun racing and just goofing off in the water. We also got to sit in the hot tub. So nice after 2 days of walking!
Thursday we packed up, but went to the City Museum before hitting the road. That place was really cool! It's $12 a person, but worth every penny. Everything there is made from something else and it is really just a big indoor playground in a warehouse. The kids loved it. Jim went up in the playground with them. It was a lot of fun. They have a kids train, which the 3 older ones really liked. Sam and I got to go down a couple of slides. I hope we will be able to go back there one day. We should have scheduled a whole day for it. At lunch time we had to head back. We ate lunch in the car and headed on.
We really enjoyed St. Louis and hope to go back one day. All of the fun free stuff to do helps so much. It is such a family friendly city. I was also impressed that every place had a nursing room where I could pump! That made the trip so much better for me. :) If you are looking for a great city for a family vacation that is reasonably priced, St. Louis is that city.