I could probably write a whole blog just on the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri, but I’ll save myself the time with a simple recommendation: Go to the City Museum.
If you have plans to visit St. Louis, be sure to allow plenty of time and go. If you don’t have plans to visit St. Louis, plan your trip now. This is one of those places you must visit before you kick the bucket. So what is it? It’s a museum of recycled art. It’s a playground. It’s an architecture display. It’s a tour though a mad artist’s mind. It’s an aquarium. It’s climbing through clouds and sliding down factory chutes. It’s a Ferris Wheel on top of a building. It’s exhausting and exhilarating. It is everything. Why go? You can be a kid again. Adults are encouraged to climb, explore, slide and stare. You could spend days in the place taking in the details and figuring out how they managed to combine gears, marbles, ties, printing plates, bottles, rebar (oh the rebar!), junked airplanes and school desks to make an insanely creative playground. So it’s for kids, right? Not exactly. During one of my (many) visits to the museum, one of the docents politely calmed down the kid-crazed main floor by reminding everyone that “this is not a children’s museum. Children are welcome, but they need to stay with their adults.”
The statement was very confusing to me, as I had just spent the past two hours under the belief that I was a 12-year-old boy again, but I had no adult to supervise me. So what can you actually do here:
- Climb sturdy art.
- Crawl through clouds.
- Tunnel under the floor.
- Explore caves.
- Watch a circus.
- Slide down tons of slides.
- Hear the Phantom of the Opera played on a pipe organ echoing through a cavernous factory.
- Make some s’mores.
- Squeeze through places that might be a little too small.
- Let go of life and learn to experience awe again.
City Museum is worth repeat visits, too. There is far too much to see in one visit. There are so many interesting details to observe, and the 600,000 square-foot factory shell is a constant work in progress. Don’t expect the place to be the same when you come back. Website: citymuseum.org