So does the image above give you any idea where we spent the day? You can only take so much of the rural life till ya just need to head into the big city. For us, the big city was beautiful St. Louis. And let me just say… for a city most people probably don’t think about very often back home, this is a town that knows how to show visitors a good time.
From the start, the Arch and the park surrounding it were simply gorgeous, even with some portions in need of some repair. Don’t quote me, but I believe the park is called “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” but I just called it beautiful. And here’s the thing… the entire park is free. You can wander around under the arch all you want, enter the “underground bunker” where the Westward Expansion museum is located (and is free) and where you can learn all about Lewis and Clark and the general westward movement.
Not everything is free. There are a couple of different movies available, one on the construction and one on Lewis and Clark (who hired Sacagawea to be their guide) there was also the tram ride to the top of the Arch. But we did the free tour… although we didn’t make it over to the “Old Courthouse” which is also free.
After wandering the park, the museum, and along the Mississippi we got hungry and wandered into Laclede’s Landing, where we had a great meal at Big Daddy’s, the Best Bar in the World. I know it is, because it says so on the sign. I don’t know how the bar is, but the food was spectacular. If you’re in St. Louis and you want good food, I can’t recommend it high enough. And the GM has a couple of cute kids, twins, who entertained my rugrats. Bonus.
From there we headed away from the river to Forest Park. This is a massive park maintained by the city. And it should be the model for city parks everywhere. I can only imagine, having never actually been, that this is what Central Park in New York City is supposed to be. The park is sprawling… including areas intended to be nature preserves of different kinds (savannah, prairie, forest) as well as some of the most amazingly beautiful gardens. But we came for one reason only… the St. Louis Zoo.
The Zoo is free, which just blows me away. It was an amazing zoo, as it should be since it was the former host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. It took a while to figure it out, but once we did the whole thing was pretty amazing. We saw the usual suspects of a zoo, and since the boy currently claims to want to be a zoologist, we had an exciting and fun time.
At the end of the day… which was at 5pm… we could hardly walk and we headed back to the car and got on the interstate to head out to the “Farm” as we’ve come to call our little vacation home. We stopped long enough to get something to eat, then we crashed into the condo and watched Iron Man 2 (I love Redbox).
Another great day on vacation.