Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Across the U.S.: Day 46

by Kathy 4. September 2009 21:07

<< Day 45: Rend Lake to St. Louis, Missouri  | Day 47: St. Louis to Central Iowa >>

St. Louis


Our friend Cordell graciously offered to show us the beauty of St. Louis today.

First, we visited “the Hill”, where many Italian immigrants had settled years ago. The small homes were charming.

The large building at the top was the St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center.

It was built in 1869 on the highest point in the city. The building was originally the St. Louis Country Insane Asylum and was surrounded by open fields; however, the outskirts of the city crept westward and eventually consumed it. The cast iron dome can be seen for miles, and the building is considered a landmark. It was completely restored in 1998.

For “the best meatballs in St. Louis,” Cordell highly recommended Gian-Tony’s.

The red-bricked St. Ambrose Catholic Church was dedicated in 1926 and is still the focal point in the daily lives of many nearby residents.

In front of the church is “The Italian Immigrants,” a 1972 memorial to all of the Italians who came to America seeking a better life. Artist Rudolph Torrini injected the figures with hope, dignity, and determination.

I wish that our RV had been large enough to take one of these ladies (or at least one of the skirts) home with us.

We visited Forest Park, which was created in 1876 and is the largest urban park in the United States (500 acres larger than New York’s Central Park). The park recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation project.

Along one side is a line of large homes.

We stopped to let the children play at the “Variety Wonderland.”

This playground was specifically designed to accommodate children with many types of physical disabilities (or challenges). For example, there was a wheel-chair accessible tree house, a Braille panel, musical pylon, metal slides for children with cochlear implants (plastic slides pose a danger because they create static electricity that zaps the hearing devices), and other “state of the art” equipment.

The kids loved the disc swing.

Sebastian and Sully bounced up and down on the see-saw (with the high-backed seats for safety).

Genevieve and Tate swung and twirled on the rotating, hanging rack.

We then strolled through the gardens to the Boathouse.

The Boathouse has a great restaurant. There was a 45 minute wait to be seated. We chose to spend that time exploring the lake in two paddleboats.

Sully, Tate, Genevieve and Sebastian dressed in their mandatory orange vests.

Cordell started out in the back of a boat, with Genevieve and Tate energetically pedaling.

Ben and I rode in the back of Sully and Sebastian’s boat. We took turns burning out our thigh muscles, and then letting another paddler take our place.

Looking back toward the dock area, with the restaurant and boathouse.

The waterway around the lake meandered under several pedestrian bridges and around small islands.

Under one of the bridges, we witnessed a mother bird zooming in to give food to her babies, who were snuggled cozily in this nest.

We finally reached the fountains in front of the Art Museum.

Our goal was to navigate around one of the fountains and then head back to the dock. ("I think I can, I think I can!")

Paddleboating always looks like such a peaceful and relaxing activity. However, it can be an intense endurance exercise!

We had definitely worked up an appetite. Here are Sebastian and Sully at the Boathouse restaurant. (I never noticed that their eyes are almost the exact same color. Sebastian’s eyes change color depending on his mood and the colors around him; I’m not sure if Sully’s do the same.)

After lunch, we headed for the City Museum, near downtown St. Louis.

We passed the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

St. Louis has a lot of art in public spaces. Here are some paintings done through St. Louis ArtWorks, a community program that provides paid art apprenticeships to inner city youth.

“Peace Rabbit” was hanging out in a park. The sculpture was designed by artist Catharine Magel, who continued the multi-cultural tradition of using the symbol of a rabbit to tell stories. Various parts of the sculpture were created with ceramic tiles painted by inner-city teenagers, who told their own stories in their paintings.

We saw many older buildings that had been remodeled for commercial use, standing empty.

Here is our first view of the building containing the City Museum. (Note the schoolbus, the airplane, the long diagonal slide, the ferris-wheel, and the see-through circular-stacked “ornament” shape on top.)

The one word that sums up this place is definitely “WOW”!  It was not the kind of “museum” that the children were expecting. Instead, it was an amazing mixture of tunnels, climbing structures, slides, and fun activities—all designed and fabricated by artist Bob Cassilly and a crew of 20 artisans. The City Museum opened in 1997.

Genevieve and Tate at the entrance.

Every single aspect of this museum is infused with creative and playful energy. Metal has been welded together to make unusual (and WILD) climbing structures, with tunnels that were high in the air.

Here is an artistic fence:

Genevieve starts climbing:

Here is Ben! (He and I climbed all over the place.)

An interesting cage, with tunnels coming off of the top.

The detail here was incredible, with lots of visual suprises. Notice the three cranes in the photo below.

I can only imagine the enthusiasm that went into welding this tangle of steel.

Here is one of the two airplanes, “flying”:

The second plane:

Sebastian and Genevieve climbed out onto the plane’s wing.

“Come on up, Mom!” they yelled. So I did. It was kind of freaky out on the wing. No, forget the “kind of”—it was definitely freaky. My mind started messing with my confidence—“I wonder what the structural integrity of this wing is?” “What if the welds break?” “How far up are we??”

An open-air tunnel started at the wing tip and then stretched out over space, far above the ground. Here is the beginning:

Yes, we climbed through it. I have to say that I had to suck up every bit of courage to start out into that tunnel and then keep crawling through it. My internal mantra was “DON’T LOOK DOWN. JUST KEEP GOING. DON’T LOOK DOWN. JUST KEEP GOING.” Genevieve started having some issues with the height of the tunnel, and providing emotional encouragement for her severely diminished my own fears.

Here is a better perspective of the tunnels—we ended up at the top of the green cone-cage:

We all zoomed down this long slide. Here is Genevieve going down:

Of course, it seems steeper when you are at the top, preparing to go down the tube. Here is Cordell sliding down before me:

Genevieve found another slide:


The interior of the museum building had numerous winding tunnels and colorful creations.

This wall was made entirely of glass bottles.

Sebastian quickly disappeared up one tunnel.

He and Genevieve then reappeared above us.

Ben and I scooched and shimmied our way through many of these indoor tunnels.

Ben said the tubes were like “hamster trails on steroids”. Sometimes, it was a tight squeeze.

Ben, exiting a slide.

We bought an extra ticket for the “rooftop” extravaganza.

The bus, sticking off of the rooftop, was a big hit. You could sit in the driver’s seat, high above the ground, with the front wheels floating in the air, and open and close the front door (which did, thankfully, have a safety screen to prevent anyone from falling to a dreadful end). Here is Genevieve, inside the bus:

Peering out the open door:

The children loved the stepping stones. Sebastian couldn’t resist getting wet by the sprayers (over and over).

Genevieve wanted to climb to the tippy-top of the large “ornament.”

I joined her and took these photos from inside:

Looking down at Cordell, Sully and Tate:

At the top of one slide was a large praying mantis:

Ben and Sebastian prepared to go down the loooonnnngg slide, which was fast and exciting.

Genevieve climbed to the top of another fun slide:

Of course, we couldn’t leave without riding the rooftop ferris wheel.

Waiting in the ferris wheel line.

I noted the three very different types of roof tops on these downtown buildings:

The entrance gate to the ferris wheel:

Sebastian was a bit nervous getting on the ride.

But he was soon all smiles!

Genevieve and I rode around and around together, enjoying the breeze, chatting, and looking at the views around us.

Some of our views:

Cordell and Sully took a turn:

Under the praying mantis was a “secret” entrance that led to a small crawl space above a swinging pendulum.

Once you dropped down into the little “basket” area, you were directly above the pendulum.

The spaces between the bars were large, and we were very high in the air.

I was getting some good practice in the art of perseverance.

We exited the Museum at closing time, with huge smiles on our faces, and excited chatter of “Did you see me . . . “, “I can’t believe . . .”, “I got lost in the tunnel and . . .”, “Wow! That was AWESOME!”

We thought that the Museum was better than any amusement park that we have ever visited.

Cordell gave us the “scenic tour” on the way home. Here were some of the sights.

Genevieve’s shoulder provided a nice pillow for Sebastian, whose eyes had drooped as soon as the key turned in the ignition.

After another delicious dinner at Pam and Cordell’s home, they treated us to “frozen custard” at Ted Drewes, a small family-owned store that has been serving custard in the same spot since 1941. The building had walk-up window service only, so the sidewalk outside was crowded with people standing around talking, enjoying their tasty delights, and soaking in the ambiance.

It was the perfect way to end the day.


<< Day 45: Rend Lake to St. Louis, Missouri  | Day 47: St. Louis to Central Iowa >>

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Comments (4) -

9/9/2009 8:02:06 PM #


auuugghhhh...okay i'm not going to turn into kirtee and comment on every new post i read...but seriously - my heart was in my throat as i was going through the pictures.  they'd do never let that be built in california.  love it.  all i could think was - i'm scared of heights, wouldn't that be a challenge - and then - i need to lose a ton of weight and roadtrip out there and do it myself.  but wait a few years until the kids can appreciate it a bit more.  actually, we'll probably print up all your posts and just follow in your footsteps.  bb

becky United States | Reply

9/9/2009 9:09:56 PM #


Becky, please feel free to comment on anything and everything!  The City Museum was amazing and should be put on everyone's "must do" list if they are visiting St. Louis.  Let me know when you are making your cross-country journey, and I'll share my trip binders with you. K.

Kathy United States | Reply

8/15/2011 7:18:11 PM #


Glad you had a pleasant time in our humble city! I've lived in St. Louis my entire life (except for college) and cant imagine living anywhere else! Next time you're in "The Lou" sure and visit the magnificent Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (which you passed). I also recommend the Anheuser Busch Brewery. If you find yourselves on Laclede's Landing again, I recommend the Old Spaghetti Factory. Thanks for sharing!

Scott United States | Reply

8/15/2011 11:20:04 PM #


Scott, St. Louis seems like a great place to live.  Thank you for the recommendations on what to do the next time we are in "The Lou." I'm sure that we will find our way back at some point.  Not only are there still many things to experience in your city, but we did not get our fill of that divine gooey butter cake, a St. Louis specialty!  
Warm regards, Kathy

Kathy United States | Reply

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin