Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Day in Saint Louis

Recently, the whole family took a day off of work and school to get some family time away. Through the months of September and October our schedules are consumed with extra-curricular activities and we finally figured out that if we wanted time away, we would have to take it during the week. So one Friday morning in mid October, we told the boys we were taking them to school and surprised them by turning onto the interstate instead. We were leaving town to take St. Louis by storm.

This was their reaction when we finally revealed our plan. They were so happy. We've missed our annual zoo trip the past 2 years, and Lex has been begging to go. Perfect. First stop - the St. Louis Zoo. The best thing about the St. Louis Zoo (aside from the fact that it is a beautifully maintained zoo) is that it's free! 

The zoo was all decorated for fall and Halloween and also, the weather was perfect!

We saw the new Grizzly Bear attraction and the bears were out and active!

And the boys enjoyed all the "haunted" decorations.

We went through the chilly and smelly penguin house.

The last time we were at the zoo, the railroad pass got you one round trip on the train. That means 4 stops and then you're done. This time, we were pleasantly surprised that the train pass (which does cost money) got you unlimited riding time. And we definitely took advantage of that. We probably did 2 1/2 round trips by the time it was all done. When we got tired of walking and we just jumped on the train and rode it for as long as we wanted.

 The elephants were also all out and active.

More time on the train.

And then we saw the zebras. 

And giraffes.

And my personal favorite, the monkey habitats! There are so many, and they are always playing.

And then the sea otters, which were one of our favorite stops of the day. The boys loved watching them do tricks at feeding time. 

We saw so much more than I have documented here. One cool thing that we learned from one of the volunteers at the Zoo was that at around 5 pm, they feed the big cats, and apparently you can hear them roaring for their food from anywhere in the zoo. We've only ever gone to the zoo in the morning, but now, we can't wait to plan an evening trip so we can hear those cats!

We were at the zoo for about 4 hours and by the time we were tired of walking and felt like we had seen as much as we wanted, we were famished. We wanted to find a local pizza place, and decided that since it was so early in the day still, we would head to downtown and get a closer look at the arch. We easily found parking at a garage right across from Busch Stadium (where the Cardinals play for those of you who aren't local or don't care about baseball). 

We were so lucky to not be in downtown when the Cards were playing because otherwise, we would have never found this parking garage literally 3 blocks from the Arch, AND the traffic would have been insane.

One of the boys said it would be really cool to eat at a restaurant where you could see the Arch right from your seat. And guess what - We walked right into Angelo's and got a booth where the boys could look right at the Arch from their seat.


After some pizza, we walked on over to the Arch. The boys have never been there close up. And even though I've been there several times, it never gets old. I mean, where else in the country is a piece of architecture as unique as this one.

It had been such a long day and was nearing evening by this point, so we opted against a trip to the top. We did walk all around the grounds though and saw the Mississippi River. It's such a beautiful area.

 And that's how we took St. Louis by storm. We headed home, full, exhausted, and refreshed.

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