Jan 04 2011

City Museum in St. Louis: Like No Other

If your idea of a museum is a calm, quiet place with historical exhibits at which people stare, you’ve never been to City Museum in St. Louis.

CityMuseum windows

Calm? No way! Quiet? Not a chance. Historical? Well, yeah, in a way.

St Louis Title Company

Title Company sign

My best description of City Museum is “House on the Rock meets Chutes and Ladders.”  My friend calls it a McDonald’s playland on steroids.

City Museum

We entered City Museum soon after it opened on a Tuesday morning during Christmas break.  The first thing our kids spotted was a big slide, and I think they would have been happy to stay there all day if we hadn’t pulled them into other areas to explore.

Slide bars 2

Next stop–a ride on a small train for the little girls, while the boys found a crawling tunnel that would let them peek out from inside the model railroad display.

Model Railroad

A few minutes watching circus performers practice.  Time spent building with sponge blocks.  Walking on the world’s largest pencil, and sliding down skateboard ramps.  A wall of post office boxes next to a bank vault.

City Museum Post Office Boxes

Playing on old-time pinball machines in the arcade.

Pinball Arcade

That’s when the real fun started.

Rebar climbing tubes

The kids found another slide while I explored the wall made of old printer’s plates next to one of the concession areas.

Printer Plates

That’s when we discovered the caves and tunnels.  Almost everywhere we looked, there was an opening.  Some big, some small.  All of them a mystery as to whether we’d be walking, crawling, scooting, or climbing our way out.

Cave 1

After a lot of time finding new nooks and crannies, our eight-year-old wasn’t satisfied.  He wanted to find the 10-story slide.  So he and my husband went off again, through more caves, until they found the really big slide.  I stayed behind to look at some of the exhibits.  There’s something for everyone at City Museum.

Carved Tiles

Our kids are already begging to go back in the summertime, when the outside area and rooftop are open.

City Museum outdoors

It isn’t exactly cheap to visit City Museum; everyone aged 3 and up costs $12 for basic admission, and extras such as the aquarium and rooftop will incur an additional charge.  Parking in the museum lot is $5.  Restrooms are tucked into corners throughout the museum, as are various shops and concession areas.

Squeeze tunnel

While I saw families with strollers at City Museum, this place will be best enjoyed by kids 5 and up who can walk, crawl, and slide independently.  The tweens and teens there appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely, and it’s one of those museums that would work really well for families with kids in different age groups.  Parents can play as much as they want–my husband did all the slides and tunnels with the kids, while I counted heads from the main paths.  Staff are plentiful and not afraid to enforce the few rules in place, especially “no running.”  They seemed to enjoy their work and were friendly and helpful.

Jungle

If you’re heading to St. Louis, you’ll likely be going to see the Arch, but put City Museum at the top of your list if you have an extra half-day or more.  You won’t find anything else quite like it on your travels, and your kids will thank you for taking them there.

Roller Slide

City Museum is located in downtown St. Louis at 701 N 15th Street.

Have you been to City Museum?  What did you think of it?  Have you seen something similar in other cities?  If so, let me know so we can check it out.

Read reviews about City Museum at Uptake.

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Published by at 2:11 pm under Museums and Libraries
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8 comments so far

8 Comments to “City Museum in St. Louis: Like No Other”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Linda and Linda. Linda said: City Museum in St. Louis: Like No Other: If your idea of a museum is a calm, quiet place with historical… http://bit.ly/fahcrl [...]

  2. Amy @ The Q Family on 05 Jan 2011 at 10:52 am

    Oh.. Looks like a fun place for kids (and adults). We will have our family reunion in Missouri this summer. Definitely will add this to our day trip to St. Louis. Thanks!

  3. Julia in West Des Moines, IA on 05 Jan 2011 at 1:49 pm

    my BIL just recommended this place to us over Christmas.
    .-= Julia in West Des Moines, IA´s last blog ..10 in ’10 =-.

  4. City Museum in St. Louis, MO on 05 Jan 2011 at 3:23 pm

    [...] family travel at Travels with Children.  Although her kids liked the Arch while in St. Louis, City Museum is the site they’re begging to return [...]

  5. [...] journey at Travels with Kids.  Even though her kids liked the Arch even though in St. Louis, Metropolis Museum is the web site they’re begging to return [...]

  6. Heather on 07 Jan 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I found this online and we went there a few years ago while in St. Louis. It is so amazing and fun!! The outside was closed for us too (thunder and rain). We would go back in a heartbeat. The more awesome part – everything is made from recycled materials. The aquarium was OK – not great. We really enjoyed ourselves here.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Regularly Scheduled Program =-.

  7. minnemom on 07 Jan 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Heather, thanks for the note about the aquarium. We didn’t pay to see it that day. I think we’d enjoy the outdoor areas much more. Linda

  8. Carrie on 30 Jun 2011 at 3:19 pm

    McDonalds Playground on steroids is great! That is exactly what it is. I had a blast (35), my mom had a blast (60) and my kids, 7 and 10, had a blast. I even crawled through the tunnels outside to see the airplanes. Lots of slides…any age can crawl around, or take optional stairs. The aquarium had these little fish on display where you could put your hand in it and they would eat off your dead skin cells for a perfect manicure! There was only one way in and out of the cave rooms, so you dind’t have to worry about your kids getting lost. So many places to crawl! The creativity was exhilerating and we will definately go back and bring more people with us! We did not do the top floor, but others in our group did and they thought it was worth the money. The price of food is normal there as well, and it is grilled outside. My only suggestion would be to not bring stuff to lug around, i.e. backpacks, etc.

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