Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A quick getaway to St Louis

The last weekend which marked an end to the kids' Spring Break found us visiting the aesthetically beautiful city of St Louis in Missouri. A 6 hour drive away from the NW suburbs of Chicago, glorious weather, already quite green and flowery compared to IL at this time of the year, and enough touristy things to quickly fill up 2 days, it did very well to charm. The fact that we went there with another family friends and the kids always had company made it just as much endearing for them as well.

 We took one stop on our way at a rest area and a simple slide became so much fun with 4 kids going down together.

Niño had checked immediately on the map to see where St Louis is and observed there was the Mississippi river which separated IL from MO and had been worried for a few moments as to how we would cross it! I had added to his worries by saying that we might have to swim for a bit to reach the other side (I am entitled to my moments of fun too ;) ) until the light bulb moment happened and he declared emphatically, "Oh I know! There must be a bridge across the the river to take us to St Louis!" There sure was one and he was extremely pleased to finally see the board welcoming us to Missouri right on the bridge after almost 5 hours of having waited for it :)

 We reached Friday late afternoon at about 4 and after freshening up left for the City Garden at 5'o clock. The weather with a slight nip in the air was perfect to enjoy a stroll and enjoy the vibrant and serene blending of lush plantings and internationally-renowned sculpture with delights of water, stone, architecture and design. The kids had a ball running around water, climbing atop the various giant sculptures and then sliding down, all while they gorged on snacks and candy.

Pinocchio finds company!

Chica was all the more chuffed because she and her best friend happened to be wearing the same t-shirt which read 'Chilling out with my BFF'. Totally apt :)

We had a long dinner that day at a local Mexican eatery in downtown St Louis whose name eludes me right now but it was a long wait. We first went there, thought that the 50 minute wait was too long, gave our name nevertheless in the waiting list and then drove around to find another place to eat, realized all of them were fairly crowded and drove back to where we had initially gone. The weather was awesome even for sitting out which is where we sat and first enjoyed tray after tray of fresh chips and salsa. Hungry from all the strolling and sight seeing, we gorged on them like crazy. Fajitas, burritos and quesadillas were relished with the same fetish among chit chat, sips of cool drinks and in general a relaxed and cheery atmosphere

The next day, the first place we visited was the one all tourists in St Louis head to - the famous Gateway Arch. We took a 630-foot ride to the top of this world-famous stainless steel monument for the finest view in the Gateway City. It is the nation's tallest man made structure and how they built it was displayed pretty fascinatingly inside a small museum inside at the base of the arch. The journey to the top itself was pretty intriguing in a capsule which kept tilting to remain horizontally aligned with the ground.

 Inside the capsule for the ride up.
 Fabulous birds eye views from 630 ft up!

A couple of hours we were left with after refreshing the kids with snacks, juice and more candy were spent at the St Louis Zoo. We couldn't go around a lot because it had been getting quite hot that day and the kids were also tired from the morning outing to the Arch. But other than spotting ant eaters and wondering if ants are really all they eat and how they fill their big tummies, cheetahs, elephants and some more animals, it turned out to be another 'climbing on everything climbable' outing!
 Deciding where to go.
 The baccha party.

Climbing galore!

We returned to the hotel early and made a meal of dal chawal (rice and lentils) in the small kitchenette and enjoyed a home made meal (are we getting old to be craving a home cooked meal after just a couple of meals outside) over 'The King's Speech' as the kids played some games and watched some cartoon!

The next morning, for the two or so hours we had before we needed to drive back home, we went to the Forest Park. Forest Park is one of the nation's largest city parks with 1,293 acres, open to the public for golf, tennis, baseball, bicycling, boating, fishing, handball, ice skating, in-line skating, jogging, cricket, rugby and more. The park is also home to the St. Louis Science Center, the art museum, the zoo, and a history museum, all with free admission. Forest Park is really at the heart of St. Louis. We enjoyed paddle boating which was a refreshingly breezy experience on a day which was turning out to be really hot and then splashing water in the beautiful garden overlooking the World Fair's Pavilion. 

 Because feet tire after several minutes of paddling the boat!

It was a fun fun trip, a great break from the daily routine and a much enjoyed one at that! I think I would love to go again because there's still a lot more to do as this link here suggests :)


Raka said...

Gr8 one...though knew abt few things earlier abt St Louis,the pictures u posted are driving me to think abt visitin the place soon!!!..And lykd the way u added a lil "worry" to how to cross the river..

cfp123 said...