We drove Saturday and found that we didn't have the reservation we thought we did---and unfortunately that hotel and most others were booked. Luckily we found a place that could accommodate us for one night, and the place we wanted was available thereafter.
Sunday morning, at the recommendation of my college friend Ellen, we headed to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for mass. Isn't it gorgeous?
From the Cathedral, we headed over to Forest Park to explore. A wonderful thing about St. Louis is that many of their attractions have free admission--and they don't knick you to death with garbage fees either. We spent Sunday afternoon at the St. Louis History Museum. After eating in their restaurant (convenient, expensive for what we got, but not bad) we toured exhibits about local history, including the Cardinals. We learned about Lindberg's flight, the St. Louis World's Fair and more. Since the kids were ready to go, we skipped The Treasures of the Vatican exhibit, which I would have enjoyed, but admission was steep ($20/each) and so we passed.
Monday morning we headed for the Arch (or as it is formally known, the Jefferson Monument to Western Expansion). We got there early, so we did not have to wait too long for a trip to the top. That trip takes about four minutes and you ride in a cozy capsule that seats 5. When you get to the top, the floor is rounded (it is an arch after all) and you can look out some small observation windows. The view is great.
After visiting the museum at the Arch, we waked down to the river to board a riverboat for the local tour. It was interesting comparing their riverfront with ours.
As we left the Arch it began to rain (it rained every day we were there) and so we headed for an indoor attraction, the Science Museum, which has no admission fee. This is a kid-oriented place though they had exhibits on aircraft and space flights which were more suitable for older teens and adults. Here my little one works with other kids to build a structure.
Tuesday we decided to give the zoo a try. We landed a free parking space not too far from the pay lot and headed in. Of course it started to rain. We weren't familiar with the zoo, and didn't realize that there were lots of indoor exhibits so after we got tired of the rain, we left without seeing much; hoping to return later if the weather cleared up. It did, but by that time, the parking spots were taken so we coughed up our parking fee and headed into the zoo, where we discovered that we had been right around the corner from a couple of very nice indoor exhibits. We enjoyed the zoo, and in comparing it to our own Audubon Zoo, we said we loved the flowers that were everywhere (by this time most of the flowers in New Orleans are done flowering) and thought the individual exhibits were very well done. However, it seemed like you had to walk long distances to see few animals.