We’ve traveled across the country enough times now that we have to make a concerted effort to find a new route. Hence, the decision to follow a diagonal path that would take us past St. Louis and north to the bottom of the Great Lakes before heading east into New England. Not only would this allow us to see some new states (like Indiana), but it would also put us on route to visit four new National Parks.
I’ve mentioned before that while we never set out to visit all the National Parks, without even really trying we’ve seen quite a few. The recent trip to Big Bend marked our 31st National Park visit, which puts the Gateway Arch at number 32. While not a traditional park filled with trails to hike and rivers to explore, the amazing 630-foot, stainless steel clad arch is most certainly worthy of national park status.
With only a few days to explore the National Park and the city of St. Louis, we chose to stay at the St. Louis RV Park so we could be close to the action. While not much more than a gravel parking lot with hook-ups, this park was perfect for our needs in terms of location, and the helpful owners could not have been more accommodating. Upon check-in, we received a city map and personal recommendations for neighborhoods to visit, sights to see, and, of course, BBQ to eat! We didn’t even come to close to having enough time to see and do it all, but overall, I think we hit the major highlights and left with a good feel for the city and a vow to return for a repeat visit.
There is some debate in the online reviews of the St. Louis RV park regarding the general safety of the neighborhood where it’s located. I suppose it really comes down to your personal level of comfort in a city environment. The park is located across the street from a police station and less than a block from an elementary school, and to us, it felt perfectly safe. As a result, we walked as many places as we could – to the arch and city center, to the City Museum, and to Pappy’s Smokehouse for some famous St. Louis ribs. I will say that we did err on the side of caution and made sure to either return by dark or take alternate transportation at night.
Aside from all the eating and sightseeing, I think we would both agree that the highlight of our St. Louis visit was the morning we spent at the City Museum. Not your grandma’s museum, this urban playground is a celebration of architecture, creativity, recycling at a grand scale, and fun for all ages.
Located in a 10-story building that was once the home of the International Shoe Company, some of the highlights include, a 10-story slide, roof-top ferris wheel, subterranean caves, a massive ball pit, and an outdoor maze of metal that includes two airplanes! The best part is that this museum is truly made for kids of all ages. We left there sweaty, exhausted, and grinning from ear to ear.
Until next time St. Louis…