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VOL. 39 | NO. 30 | Friday, July 24, 2015

No rest in exploring the family side of St. Louis

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Waking on Sunday morning in the HoteLumiere in Downtown St. Louis, I was physically beat from a scorching hot Cardinals game the night before.

But traveling with my 8-year-old son affords no rest for the weary. It was 8 a.m. and it seemed like we had just wrapped up our midnight room service dinner when suddenly the curtains that cover the massive window in our room that overlooks the Mississippi River six stories below were thrown open.

We had one final day of this father-son weekend, and there was no time to waste.

My body still hadn’t recovered from sweating gallons during the previous night’s game, so maybe that played a role in how he so easily got me out of bed: the demand for room service and its glorious coffee.

No, I actually never do room service but it really beat the alternative of getting dressed and walking to a restaurant. And after two late-night dinners of room service, we had become fast friends with the hotel staff.

We spent parts of three days in St. Louis to watch the Mets play the Cardinals. Other than that, well, I’ve been to the city for baseball trips but never with family activities in mind.

St. Louis has a lot of options for families. It seems everyone visits the St. Louis Zoo, and for good reason. It’s a great one and it’s free. It was on our radar this weekend but it didn’t make the final cut.

What did make our weekend? Star Clipper, an awesome comic book store, actually was a high priority. And we did hit a usual suspect in the Gateway Arch.

After checking out of HoteLumiere, we walked to the nearby Laclede’s Landing entertainment district and boarded one of the free shuttles to the Gateway Arch. We were able to walk right in thanks to the tickets I had reserved the day before.

But the highlights of our weekend came at the City Museum and The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum.

We received numerous recommendations for City Museum, a massive monstrosity of awesomeness housed in the 600,000-square-foot former International Shoe Company in West Downtown. It’s an eclectic children’s playground made of all found architectural wonders from the city.

Crawl through caged tunnels on the side of the building, brave 10-story slides, ride a Ferris wheel on the rooftop or explore the indoor caves. City Museum should be the first stop for families.

Maybe not as well known to visitors but still equally worth a few hours is The Magic House. It’s a typical children’s museum in that it has all the usual fun educational opportunities, but this place is massive in a laidback way.

I had to pry my son away after more than two hours.

There’s much for families in St. Louis and we didn’t even scratch the surface. Maybe in the winter we’ll return for a Blues hockey game and to ski at Hidden Valley.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.

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