Sunday, August 5, 2012

St. Louis Family Vacation

We just returned from a three day family vacation to St. Louis. We have never been there as a family and I found out that St. Louis offers a lot of free things to do and see so, being the budget-minded mom that I am, it sounded like a perfect place for our family to visit this summer!

The first day in St. Louis, we visited the Science Center. The admission was free, but you did have to pay $10 for parking. This is basically a science museum for kids. There was a really neat animated T-Rex inside the building. They also had real dinosaur bones that you could touch. There were a lot of different "exhibits" set out over different floors of the center. Our family is not a huge "science" family so this was not a favorite of ours. We only had a few days to spend here, so we didn't spend a lot of time at the science center.
The next day, we got up early to get to the zoo right when it opened. It was really hot so we wanted to try and beat the afternoon sun and heat. The admission to the zoo is free, but you do have to pay for parking. We pulled in before 8 AM and they let us get in the parking lot for free! I don't know if getting there before 8AM gives you free parking or if it was just our lucky day, but whatever, I was happy with it! Of course the kids loved the zoo. It is s big zoo so there was a lot to see. To save some money, bring in your own food and drinks. The prices for food were pretty high. My husband noticed that the brat basket was $9! Expect a lot of walking. Wear your tennis shoes and if your kids are young, make sure to pack the stroller!!

Our family's favorites for the day were: the hippos, the penguin exhibit and the seals!

On the day we were heading home, we visited the City Museum downtown. What a place!!! This cost about $52 for our family of four to get in. That was a high price tag for me. It cost more if you wanted to go up on the rooftop and also if you wanted to go in the aquarium. I didn't pay for either of those because I wanted to check some of it out first. We didn't know what to expect when we started inside - but once we got in, we loved it! There were caves full of tunnels and holes and darkness and music in there (and that is only a small part of the museum)! There were also tons of slides that went from floor to floor! There was a huge ball pit outside which also had a castle, an airplane and a fire truck that you could climb to (they were on the side of the building and you climbed from one to the next - see pictures below). There were restaurants throughout the place and also a vintage clothing store on the fourth floor. You could see some of the aquarium from inside the caves. We noticed that it was a lot of fish in tanks so the kids were okay skipping that part. The kids were too scared to visit the rooftop so I got out of paying extra for that. They have an acrobat show at different times during the day (we didn't stay to see it because we were heading home that day). They had other exhibits too see and do as well. We spent three hours in this place and really could have spent a lot more time there. We were all very sweaty by the time we left! If you visit here, make sure to wear comfortable clothes and tennis shoes. Also, don't take a purse in. There is so much climbing and crawling and sliding that a purse just gets in the way.

Here are some pictures of the City Museum. I would highly recommend this if you are visiting St. Louis.

I would love to hear about some of your family's favorite places. I am always looking to travel to new places with the family and love to talk to people about different places they have visited!

Gabrielle finally warming up to the caves!
Another tunnel to get through.

Landen's mouth was blue from a sucker : )

Inside part of the caves.

Gabrielle inside one of the crawl spaces in the cave.
Landen inside the creature's mouth.

They had "pretty rocks" inside the cave that changed colors.
Gabrielle inside one of the outside climbing contraptions.
This way to the castle!

We made it to the castle!
This is looking up at the airplane. You just keep climbing up the "tunnels" outside the building to get to the new attraction.

Gabrielle's favorite slide in the place.
Landen coming down the same slide. You started on the second floor. We learned that you had to lift your feet and lay back a little to go faster!

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