Wednesday, July 30, 2008

As many pictures as Barcelona, but St. Louis.

Over the weekend we took a trip to St. Louis with Nate's parents. I haven't been for many years, since I was a kid, I think. We had a lot of fun.

Nearly two years ago I read a blog post about the City Museum, and I've been itching to go ever since. So when the grandparents suggested this trip, I started early with my City Museum campaign. At first it looked like it might get beat out by Grant's Farm, but in the end my candidate pulled ahead, aided by a forecast of two very hot days. The idea of spending two days out of doors in the St. Louis summertime was not especially appealing. And since the Zoo was non-negotiable, City Museum was in. Yeah, baby. I was so excited.

And this place did not disappoint. Basically an enormous all-ages playground, City Museum is constructed mainly of reused and recycled materials. Even cooler, the creators of the museum gather all their building materials from within the municipal borders, making this a true museum of the city of St. Louis.

The only disappointment of the day was the I didn't wear proper attire. I didn't feel comfortable climbing through ginormous slinkies or hollowed-out tree tunnels in my flip flops, so I mostly watched. Next time I'll know better.
Here are Grandma Debbie and S climbing through a tunnel. I think they turned around shortly after this. When the boys are a little older, I think they'll really take this place by storm. This time around, there were several spots that were beyond their skill or comfort level.
Beautiful sculptural pieces throughout. Some for climbing on, some just to add to the magical look.

I think these were desks, connected to make a tall support for a long, steep slide (red tube to the left). Whatever they were, the visual effect was incredible.
See those silhouettes, way up high in the tube?
That's right, it's my husband and my firstborn. S decided to turn around. I was impressed he got in there at all. Thankfully Nate had his sneakers on and could accompany S on his adventures.

Inside, some walls were made from old printing press blocks. They looked so amazing.
This room was possibly my favorite. It had an oceanic theme and was all sparkly bright white mosaic loveliness. Additionally, it was very blatantly inspired by the beloved Barcelona tourist attraction, Gaudi's Parc Guell. There were so many details taken from Parc Guell, from the wave-like caves to the pillars to the raised plaza with the curvy wall... it was blowing my mind. I didn't get great pictures of these things. The lighting was tricky. You'll have to take my word for it, I guess. But for real, it was like a shrunken, indoor version of Barcelona's famous park. They certainly made it their own, though, taking Gaudi's inspiration and giving it the funky, industrial City Museum treatment. Very cool.

This wall was made of old catering pans, and greeted you first thing upon entering. Stunning, right?
Here we are in the skatepark area. With no skateboards to be found, though, it essentially became a big parkour course.

We just barely got to check out Art City, the art/craft area of the museum. I know I would've loved it... can you imagine working there? Dream job.
Look at how sweaty S was by day's end. He poured a lot of his five year old energy into that place, and it repaid him with indellible impressions of a fantastical world. This is such a cool project, based on a cool idea. I can't say enough. You should go see it for yourselves. I already want to go again.
Our next day in St. Louis was dedicated to their beautiful, free zoo.
There is a special exhibit right now, Dinoroarus, which is what inspired the whole trip. Basically a handful of big robotic dinosaurs who "move, roar, and spit." I didn't see any spitting. S says he did.

It was a big hit, of course.

It was hot. The double stroller saved us from encountering two extremely grouchy boys. They were really good the whole day.

Man, this summer has been packed with fun trips and visits. We are lucky. If you haven't made it to the new house yet, there's still time! Email me and let's set it up. We are good hosts, I think. I won't even make you eat vegetables if you don't want to.


Jay M. said...

Wow!!! The city museum looks amazing! I'll have to bring a kid with me so I can go play.

Maiasaura said...

Jay, I think it would be admirable if you took a lucky kid with you to the City Museum. But if you're feeling a little less altruistic some day, you should just go with a friend. There were plenty of adults there without kids, and there is a bar on site. I'm just saying...

Anna said...

st louis zoo is hands down the best zoo! and it's FREE! We only got to go for half a day when we went a couple months ago - but next time i think we are going to plan an over night stay in st louis and stay all day.

Jogirl said...

Awww! Simon + Theo look SO adorable!! I absolutely love Theo's hair.. he looks so hardcore! :)

Thank you for your comment about what I've been going through. I really appreciate it. It has been very hard & frustrating (that I wouldn't see it for so long).. and lots of other things. And I would LOVE to visit you!! Absolutely. Like, soon too! So.. let's email or call or something. :)