Spring Break Trip – St. Louis

On March 24, 2010 we dropped of the dog at the kennel, trusting the cat and guinea pigs to be okay, then loaded up the car and headed to St. Louis.  It’s a 6.5 hour trip but its all interstate and easy driving.  We got there around 3:30 and dropped off our stuff at the Drury Inn in Fenton and then went to the Gateway Arch.

Officially it’s the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” and I learned that the capitol Jefferson City was not named after some local Jefferson but rather Thomas Jefferson since he was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase and Missouri.  Anyway, it is very impressive from the ground and there is a museum under the ground.

Later we retired to the hotel. This is not meant to be a plug but one reason I picked the Drury Inns is that they have a “Kick Back” buffet which makes a very acceptable dinner, plus free soda and popcorn all day and of course free breakfast.

Overnight, the storm front hit and it rained all day Thursday. Sometimes hard, sometimes light, but always rain.

Sam and I started out visiting a birder name Pat Leuders who has Eurasian Tree Sparrows. We had to stand in the rain but not for long before we saw a pair of these life birds for both of us.

We then gathered up everyone and drove to Union Station. This is a remarkable if retired “Grand” train station and reminds you of what St. Louis used to be, the 4th largest city in America while the other three were Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.  Its now a shopping mall but you can see the historic station inside and its pretty cool.

After lunch, Angie took a break while I took the kids to the Science Center. They have a cool one, part of the Forest Park complex.  I was not really familiar with anything St. Louis but they had hosted the World’s Fair in 1904 or so in this large area then outside of town. Rather than carving it up for development, they development it into Forest Park with museums and the zoo and aquarium and such. As a whole it’s very impressive. The Science Center was nice and quite large, we visited dinosaur exhibit.

Then we traded Jack for Angie and went to the Catholic Basilica. This is a very impressive church. According to the tour guide, the construction of the infrastructure took seven years and was completed in 1911 or so but the addition of the 4.5 million pieces of tile took another 75 years. I’m not Catholic or even Christian but this is a very impressive building from an aesthetic and architectural point of view and well worth visiting again.  I took a lot of pictures but I’m not sure any will turn out due to being too dark. If I go again, I’ll take a tripod.

You’ll notice there’s been no mention of going to the zoo. That of course was one of the main goals but there was no time on Wednesday and it rained all day Thursday so we hoped to go Friday morning before heading home.  However, the same front that brought rain also dropped the temperature. Friday morning brought 29F temperatures and we were not better prepared for hours outdoors in that than we were for hours outdoors in the rain. So, we packed up and headed home.  The zoo will have to wait for another day.

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