March 27, 2011

Shortarmguy Family Trip to St. Louis 2011


Shortarmguy Family Trip to St. Louis 

Shortarmguy Diary Update for March 27, 2011

The boys and Miss Sheri had Spring Break from school this week so I took a few vacation days, packed everyone up in the Family Truckster, and headed down to Sunny St. Louis.  Except it wasn't very sunny.

On Wednesday, it was actually pretty nice.  The temperature said 70 degrees when we rolled into St. Louis in the late afternoon after a 10 hour drive looking at the nice day outside.  So instead of enjoying the outside, we decided to spend the rest of the day deep underground in Meramac Caverns.  Jessie and Frank James were once known to hideout there after some of their daring bank robberies.  We were hoping maybe they left some loot behind that we could find.  But dang the luck, we didn't.


Meramac Caverns is the largest Commercial Cave in Missouri which is known as the Cave State.  We took a one and a quarter mile walk through some really interesting caverns and saw more underground water than we've ever seen in a cave before.  I thought it was so nice down there that perhaps the children would want to stay.  I offered to set them free so they could become full time cave people, but they declined and opted to stay with us instead.



We thought we were just exploring a regular cave when we suddenly stumbled across one of the most amazing discoveries ever made before by man.  These fossils of huge dinosaur heads had never been seen before by anyone else, so they're lucky we were there to point them out!  All right, I'm kidding.  This picture was actually taken the next morning at City Museum in Downtown St. Louis.



City Museum is a really cool, quirky museum that is a ball for kids and adults alike.  It's unlike any museum I've ever seen before.  It's just a mish mosh of things to climb, slide down, play with, run on, jump off, and explore.


Housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company, the building itself is an adventure.  This is a 10 story former shoe slide that we all took turns riding.  It sounds a lot more thrilling than it is, unless you like rolling your butt off rusty metal that spins you round and round for 10 stories.  I only did it once, but the boys had to give it a second try to get all of the joy they could from it.



The boys were enamored by all the art at the museum as well.

On Thursday afternoon, we headed to the Arch to do some sight seeing and take a cruise on the Mississippi River.  The main reason we went to St. Louis was to see the Arch which marks the city as the original "Gateway to the West".  We were pretty impressed with it, but were a bit disappointed when we discovered that there wasn't a ladder along the side of it to allow us to climb to the top.



So instead, we entered the smallest elevator ever made to ride to the top of the arch.  It was very crowded and stressful to ride.  I also couldn't escape the feeling that suddenly Willy Wonka was going to appear and tell us that he was giving us his chocolate factory, but first we had to go to Oompa Loompa training.



Going to the top was neat, but I was a bit disappointed with the size of the windows to look out and see the city.  They were dinky.  I would have rather the whole floor been made of glass like the balcony at Willis Tower in Chicago.  You could then actually see the arch around you instead of it just being like a submarine port hole.  I kept thinking I was inside some tall building instead of the incredible structure I was on top of.  But the experience was still very cool!



     Who am I kidding?  The view was incredible!



On Friday morning, we drove to the St. Louis Zoo.  Since it was snowing and raining outside, we were basically the only people there so we had the zoo almost exclusively to ourselves!  Which I like since otherwise people some times think I'm one of the exhibits and ask if they can watch me being fed.




It's a free zoo so I wasn't sure what to expect, but must admit I was pleasantly surprised.  It's very well done with a lot of unique exhibits. 



This is Ruby.  She's a 6 year old orangutan who was quite playful with all of us.  She kept swinging back and forth and banging the windows.  It was one of the warmest receptions we received from anyone in St. Louis!


The Tawny Frogmouth wasn't nearly as happy to see me.  She wouldn't take her big eyes off of me and about pooped an egg when I started mimicking her call.  I have this same effect on a lot of women.


After the zoo, we skipped over to the nearby St. Louis Art Museum to try to give our boys some culture.  It didn't work.



They weren't really interested in all the historical art, but did love looking at the ancient weapons and armor.  Destruction is so much cooler than beautiful art!



Luke was so happy that he finally had the opportunity to do his mummy impression!



After an hour at the art museum, we'd all had about enough and decided to go back to doing stuff more our speed.  So we headed to the big Budweiser plant nearby to go on their walking tour.  We were so happy to discover that they had free samples for us to enjoy!



We were quite impressed with the facility.  We saw huge kettles for brewing beer and massive containers where they performed their beechwood aging process.  We also loved the packaging area where we saw beer bottles and cans being flung around in every direction at top speed.  It reminded us of being at home on a typical Friday Night!

On our drive home, we stopped in Cedar Rapids to see our old buddies, Joel, Jason, and Ron.  Then we left.