So Much to See Blues
CHASING THE BLUES, CHAPTER 17: St. Louis, MO
Last night a large group of teenagers checked in at the Hampton Inn. Unfortunately, they were assigned to rooms in close proximity to ours. They did not seem to be intentionally unruly, but were definitely wired about their visit to St. Louis. And doubtlessly they had no idea that the loud talking and laughing they were doing in the hall carried into the rooms nearby.
When we learned they’d be there another night, we decided to check out and move to a Homewood Suites a few miles away, where we were planning to go tomorrow anyway. We did have an opportunity to talk to the chaperones of the teens before we left and assure them (since we had complained to the front desk the night before) that we didn’t think the kids were intentionally misbehaving, just in need of guidance on appropriate hotel etiquette.
Fortunately we were able to check in at the Homewood at 9:45. After being told there was no upgrade opportunity because the hotel was sold out, we pulled out the Hilton app and showed the desk clerk all the various room types that were available. Like magic, an upgrade opportunity suddenly materialized. After unpacking, we returned to the stellar Forest Park to visit some of its major attractions.
Back at the park, it took a few minutes of trolling before we finally snagged a parking space in the free lot near the St. Louis Art Museum—not that we mind paying for parking but we found the museum’s $15 parking fee a bit excessive. To add icing to our frugal cake, we were told when we entered the museum that admission is free. On Fridays, even the special exhibits are free.
|St. Louis Art Museum|
|The Jolly Flat Boatmen by George Caleb Bingham|
Stairway at Auvers
Vineyards at Auvers
After a delectable caprese panini in the museum café, we set out to see the sculpture garden, which turned out to be closed for renovations. So it was time to depart, but which way to go? Plant or animal? Animal or plant? The St. Louis Zoo was just next door within Forest Park and also had free admission. But we had the Missouri Botanical Gardens on our list already and weren’t sure we had time for both since we had a 4:50 appointment to visit the Arch. Plants won this round because we thought the visit would be shorter than a stop at the zoo. So off we went to the MBG.
|Chihuly Blue Chandelier|
|Climatron at Missouri Botanical Gardens|
After an hour and a half exploring the exquisite gardens, we had just enough time to check out the famed City Museum before our appointment at the Arch. What we knew before visiting was that this was a quirky, eclectic museum with an extraordinarily nontraditional format. What we learned after we arrived was that City Museum is a quintessentially kids’ attraction.
|City Museum outdoor play area|
|City Museum tunnel|
“I just keep doing a 360, watching,” he replied. “I’m not too worried because I know he’ll eventually need money and he’ll find me.”
|Old Courthouse and Gateway Arch from Kiener Plaza|
Near our appointed time, we followed the circuitous route over to Walnut Street, past the Old Cathedral, and eventually to the Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the U.S. All the renovation involved in the “City Arch River” project has most of the park around the Arch closed at present. Helpful signs spray-painted on the sidewalks keep visitors from losing their way.
|Gateway Arch viewing platform at the top|
Eventually as the line creeps forward, you reach the terraced platform and line up for your tram car. When the tram arrives, guests returning from the top exit, and new guests duck their heads and enter one of the tiny cars, each equipped with five seats.
At the top of the arch is a corridor style observation platform with narrow slits of angled windows for viewing. To look out, one has to lean across the window sill. As it turned out, the concept of going to the top of the arch might have been more exciting than the actual experience.
Walking back the mile or so to where we had parked our car, we decided to pause at the Brewhouse Sports Bar inside the Hyatt Hotel for a brew. With this bit of refreshment, we returned to the car and drove to P.F. Chang’s near our hotel for dinner. After this very full day, we decided to postpone our blues chasing till tomorrow.
- Miles driven: 37
- Miles walked: 8
- Weather: sunny, 45° to 71°
- Height of the Gateway Arch: 630 ft. (taller than Washington Monument)
- Width of the Gateway Arch: 630 ft.
- Shape of each arch section: equilateral triangle
- Size of arch windows: 7" x 27”
- Deflection of arch: 18" in 150 MPH wind
- Thickness of stainless steel outer skin: ¼ inch
More Photos from Today
|Sculpture Hall at St. Louis Art Museum|
|Pagoda Circle in Forest Park|
|Bulb Garden, Missouri Botanical Gardens|
|Chihuly inside the Climatron, Missouri Botanical Gardens|