Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gateway to the West~ Our trip to St. Louis

Our first trip to St. Louis came as a result of my husband attending a conference there. It isn't really a city I would have gone out of my way to visit before, but after having been, it's such a budget and famly-friendly place to go!
One of our Must-Do's was the Budweiser plant. As much as my husband LOVES beer, I absolutely do not, but it was probably one of the most interested parts of the trip. The architecture inside the plant was meticulous in it's detail and cleaner than most people probably keep their homes. I can honestly say, I have no interest in beer whatsoever, but I still found the tour really entertaining. And for all the beer-lovers, there were free samples at the end of the tour. Not only do you see the inner workings of the brewery, you also get up close and personal with the beautiful Clydesdale horses they keep in the nearby stables.

The pictures above iare from the top of the arch! On one side, you can see all the way to the Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis cardinals, and on the other side, you can see the Mighty Mississippi. While the view from the top was absolutely something to see...the method for getting up there left me more than a little bit leary. You take a 10-15 minute ride to the top in this bubble-like contraption with a low ceiling and tiny seats. Add in the fact that they cram at least 4 people in these little bubbles and 2 of the people in mine were 6-4 large fellas, you can imagine my claustrophobia kicking in, but I made it up without incident and the view was more than worth it. Just be warned going in! I want to say it cost maybe $10 per ticket to go up, plus to get through the museum there as well, which is free if you don't want to ride to the top. 

The Busch Stadium was absolutely an incredible experience as well. We were able to get tickets the morning of the game and they were pretty darn good seats at that, not to mention, very affordable. Once inside, we had to try the fried ravioli that we'd heard so much about and it did not disappoint.

The city also offers plenty of completely free options that would be great for the whole family. There's a few art museums, children's museums and the free zoo, home to the completely inappropriate but hilarious statue pictured above. It is one of the nicest zoos I've ever visited, and if memory serves, among the largest in the country. I just couldn't believe you didn't even have to pay to get in! We spent about half the day walking around checking out all the animals and exhibits.

Our last night, we had a scheduled dinner cruise on the Huck Finn paddlewheel boat. I don't know the company that does the tours, but I imagine they aren't hard to locate. The cruise lasted a few hours and took us up the Mississippi and back to dock. We had dinner, live music and great views! I would definitely say St. Louis should be on your list of cities to visit! Very walker friendly, good for those on a budget and a little something for everyone.

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