April Is Perfect!
Favorite thing: April is one of the Best Months to visit St. Louis!! But I'm in love with the season of Spring, so I'm certainly biased!! But Spring temperatures are so lovely and so are all the blooming trees and plants you see everywhere here! The heat & humidity of summer has not arrived yet, nor the insects.
Stroll in the neighborhoods, the many parks...Soulard is lovely & romantic....
This photo is of the magnolia tree in my backyard...so beautiful. You have to enlarge it with the "postcard" feature to really see the detail. This is how you can view the incredible blosssoms on this tree! Wow, right?!!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
- School Holidays
Stay Mid Town in the Central West End
Favorite thing: If you stay at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel you can walk the Central West End and Forest Park, Take the metrolink to Downtown or Forest Park
take the cab, car or the bus easily to The Hill, Clayton, the Botanical Garden or the Loop. Good restaurants to walk to, food stores, shopping within a short walk .Good jogging or blading in Forest Park, golf, tennis,outdoor Ice skating, outdoor theater. science center, zoo. museums.
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: The Missouri River is a tributary of the Mississippi River. At about 2,565 mi (4,130 km) in length, it is the longest river in the United States and drains approximately one-sixth of the North American continent. The combined Missouri-Mississippi river system is the fourth longest river in the world.
Much of what you want to see and do is along the river. The Archway is located there along with the downtown core. All along the river are "riverboat" casinos that don't actually go anywhere but pull up the plank every so often.
As you can tell from the picture, the Missouri is prone to flooding. Before the recent disaster in Louisiana, the 1993 flood was considered the most costly and devastating flood to ravage the U.S. in modern history. The number of record river levels, its aerial extent, the number of persons displaced, amount of crop and property damage and its duration surpassed all earlier U.S. floods in modern times. The 52 foot St. Louis Flood wall, built to handle the volume of the 1844 flood, was able to keep the 1993 flood out with just over two feet to spare.
For Breathtaking Mosaics, Visit Cathedral Basilica
Favorite thing: One very rainly afternoon, Jill and I took the MetroLink to the Forest Park stop, and then we walked to The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Even under less than ideal circumstances, it was worth it all.
What a glorious place. The architecture of the exterior is Romanesque with granite walls, two massive towers, and rose windows. The main dome is on an elevated drum that is pierced by Romanesque windows. It's the first roof that I've seen that is covered in brilliant green tiles which can be seen for miles.
The architecture of the inside is of Byzantine tradition. It has soaring domes, soffits, pendentive, arches, and the lunettes are paved with incredible mosaics. The literature indicates that there are "83,000 square feet of mosaic art created by twenty artists and installed over a period of seventy-five years"
These are Italian style mosaic mostly and were installed by either the Gorham Comapny or the Tiffany and Company.
This Cathedral Basilica has the largest mosaic collection in the world, "created by 20 different artists and covering 83,000 square feet." Can you imagine 41.5 MILLION pieces of glass and 7,000 colors. This was started in 1912 and not completed until 1988. It is the reason the Cathedral is designated a Basilica. I thought that the Mosaics of Ravenna, Italy, were great, but this is spectacular.
There is a Cathedral Shop on the west side of the vestibule that is open Mon.-Sunday from noon until 4 :00 pm. The proceeds are used for maintenance of the building.
Fondest memory: When Jill and I arrived at theCathedral Basilica, Mass was in session, so we visited the Mosaics Museum located on the lower level. I would suggest to everyone to visit this museum FIRST.
It shows the construction of the building and the creation and installation of its mosaics. In addition, the burial crypt of John Cardinal Glennon (he initiated the construction of the Cathedral) is located in this museum.
It is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Art of the Osage at Saint Louis Art Museum
Favorite thing: Thank goodness I saw a small article in the Chicago Tribuneabout the art of the Osage at the St. Louis Art Museum! Museum is free but this special exhibit cost $8.00 for seniors and $10.00 for others.
This text was written by Jill Martin after we visited the Saint Louis Art Museum.
The St. Louis Art Museum featured an exhibit on the Art of the Osage Indians. In this exhibit, "art" is meant as any artifact made by the Osage, for utility or decoration. Items were loaned from the Smithsonian and other museums, but much of the 20th century material came from a family of Osage artisans, one of whom was featured on an accompanying video.
The exhibit offered audio headsets, with much background information provided by the curator and by Osage Indians. The audio was programed to correspond with numbers on signs so that the exhibit could be viewed in any order.
Traditional glass cases contained several examples of an item, such as clothing, headdresses, quilts. A neutral background emphasized the brilliant colors of the objects.
In the video, the current Principal Chief of the Osage nation told the history of their removal from the area of Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas to Osage and other counties in Oklahoma.
He said the Osage kept title to the mineral rights of their land; so, when oil was discovered in the 1920's, they became rich. Unfortunately, they lost most of their money during the Depression. The original 20,000 declined to 1000, but today they have rebounded to 20,00 again.
Fondest memory: The beautiful handwork of the women was shown, including quilts commemorating Osage soldiers in World War I and II.
Other hand made items include "wedding jackets" with a history. Colonial soldiers gave Osage Indian chiefs military jackets. Too small for the men, the jackets were appropriated by women, and a tradition grew of using the jackets in place of wedding gowns. Osage women sewed and decorated new jackets; traditionalists still wear them today at their weddings.
I found the story of their attempts to join modern society while retaining their historic attitudes very moving. The Native American churches of the Osage served as an example of their retention of their own values.
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
Tour the Missouri Botanical Garden
Favorite thing: If weather permits, tour the Missouri Botanical Garden. The day we had scheduled to visit, it rained all day.
Because we love nature so much, we were eager to see this famous Botanical Garden which is known throughout the nation as the best in the United States!
The Missouri Botanical Garden opened in 1859 and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
It covers 79 acres and is a center for botanical research, education, and horticultural display.
This year because of the Lewis and Clark Expedition celebration, be sure to see an exhibit of plants encountered by Lewis and Clark.
There are narrated tram Tours, a Garden Cafe, a Garden Gate Shop.
Parking is FREE
Fondest memory: Information needed:
9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week
Memorial Day to Labor Day: Open Wednesday evenings until 9 p.m.
Morning walking hours: Wed.-Sat. 7-9 a.m.
Accessible to people of all abilities
Known as "an oasis in the city"
4344 Shaw Boulevard
A short drive southeast of Forest Park.
$7.00 for ages 13-64
$5 for age 65 and over
St. Louis City/County Residents:
$3 for ages 13-64
$1.50 for age 65 and older
FREE for members & children 12 & under
SPECIAL ADMISSION CHARGE FOR SOME
Things to see:
a geodesic dome greenhouse of tropical rain forest, waterfalls, and birds.
An authentic 14 acre Japanese garden (The largest in North America)
Kemper Center for Home Gardening:
Nation's most comprehensive resource center for gardening information with 23 demonstration gardens over 8 acres.
A formal Victorian-style garden with an observatory overlooking a maze of 8-foot hedges.
Shoenberg Temperate House:
A tiled Moorish garden, carnivorous plant bog, and "Plants of the Bible" area.
In addition, there are areas for Roses, English Woodlands, and Orchids to name a few.
I regret missing this outstanding Botanical Garden. Guess I will have to return to St. Louis.
(Note: This is not my photograph. I scanned it from a brochure.)
History Museum's Lewis & Clark Exhibition
Favorite thing: Note: This tip was written by Jill and Dee (Mostly Jill)
The new Lewis & Clark Exhibition at the Missouri Historical Museum costs $12.00 and is worth it. This exhibition celebrates 200 years since the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Outside the exhibit, the experience began as a staff member used a fur-covered box to demonstrate the Indians' skill at using materials in their environment, showing the use of buffalo sinew, porcupine guill, a feather, etc. After purchasing tickets, we viewed a video with background information to prepare us for the exhibit itself.
Jill's impressions on the Special Exhibition of Lewis & Clark:
Today's style of interactive material is very evident. Extremely thorough signs at the exhibit are supplemented by material given through earphones like those at the Art Museum which are computer regulated and easily used. Visitors had a choice in the order that they moved through the exhibit; thus, the crowd moved quite smoothly, not crowding at one spot. I was impressed by the quality of the background information given by the curator and other experts.
Fondest memory: The Historical Society's exhibit had several interactive choices that were fun and challenging such as matching plants with descriptions and scents; playing a game to see how Clark communicated with Indians through many interpreters.
When the visitor successfully matched the order of interpretation, he/she could listen to a message being transmitted in 4 languages (English, French, Shoshone, and Hidatsu). Another game let visitors match fur or paw prints with animals.
The exhibit featured good signs that were visible in the low light. The signs told the owner of each artifact and also indicated which were reproductions. As a worker in a little museum, I was astonished at the artifacts gathered from many sources, including private collectors; though, many came from the Smithsonian and Harvard's Peabody Museum.
I especially liked the thoroughness of attribution. For example, a beautiful tanned hide dress was thought to be Sacajawea's but not authenticated. It would have been tempting to just say that it was hers.
The exhibit was thorough, but very visitor-friendly and understandable by children. I loved it all and have never seen a better presentation, and I am a museum-goer.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
St. Louis schools
Favorite thing: I was told that to residents of St. Louis asking what school you go to is very important. It can tell you what neighborhood you came from, what kind of money your family has, and a level of your intelligence. It might also imply something about your race or relgion.
Six Flags (Sucks)
Favorite thing: Saint Louis is great. The shopping, the people, The Cardinals are on a ROLL.
Six Flags on the other hand you pay big dollars to get in ($35+) and then they want to charge yo ufor extra rides. I don't mind paying for the electronic wrist watch deal that hold syour place in line (great idea) but half the thrill ride yo uhave to pay extra to get on. The big rides are all inclusive but if it isn't the Rollcoasters or the Farris Whell, be prepaired to shell out more dough. JKR
UC - Delmar Loop - Community Music School
Favorite thing: The Community Music School is affiliated with Webster University and is home to musical events of all kinds throughout the year. It's located at the western end of the Delmar Loop in what was once a synagogue.
University City - Delmar Loop - City Hall
Favorite thing: The University City City Hall is at the western end of a section of Delmar Boulevard called by locals "the Delmar Loop". Back in streetcar days, this was "the end of the line" where the trams literally did "loop around" before heading back downtown. Well, the streetcars are long gone, but the name "the Delmar Loop" has stuck for this section of the city.
University City is a separate city from St. Louis, incorporated in the late 19th century when the city of St. Louis fatefully "seceded" from the county of St. Louis and became it's own "independent" entity. Its name derives from its location smack dab on the north side of the campus of Washington University.
I've called University City's City Hall "the R2 D2 building". Can you see why?
Public Art - "Thinker on a Rock" at Wash U
Favorite thing: A recent addition to the Hilltop campus at Washington U. is this sculpture by Welsh artist Barry Flanagan. He specializes in hares - this piece is called "Thinker on a Rock." It's located in between Graham Chapel and the Mallinckrodt Center.
I've put additional snapshots of the Wash. U campus in a travelogue.
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: Founded in 1853 by Masschusetts people (Eliots, no less), Washington University remains a bastion of New England academic traditions in the Midwest. The University established its current location on the Western Edge of Forest Park in 1904 - just in time for the great World's Fair. In fact, Brookings Hall was constructed to house England's exhibit at the expo - hence the architecture which is based on King's College, Cambridge.
I went to Wash. U as an undergraduate, and have fond memories of the place. The "Hilltop campus" is a classic piece of collegiate design. I admire the way that it seems "timeless" and "classic" - and that the feel of the place changes so little from one generation to the next. On its own little "rise" above Forest Park and the city of St. Louis, Wash. U seems to be above the fray, apart from the dealings and schemings of the workaday world. (I think there's a lot to be said for the notion of the university - or at least its undergraduate liberal arts components) should serve as a kind of secular monastery.)
- Study Abroad
Good intentions, but...
Favorite thing: On the St. Louis tourism web portal I was pleased to see the addresses for several tourist information centres listed. I made it part of my plan to visit the one at the airport as soon as we arrived in the city, hoping to get a bit more information to flesh out our sightseeing plans. It ended up being rather comical. The information centres are staffed by volunteers, and when we were there it was a couple in (I'm guessing) their late 70's, who are EXTREMELY hard of hearing, and somewhat confused as well. It turned out to be almost painful just to get a map and a tourist pamphlet out of them. They seemed totally baffled why I was asking them these questions. Clearly any more complex queries were not possible. Anyway, my point is don't count on getting a lot of information, other than the publications put out by the tourist board, from the information centre, as the volunteers may not be well trained and/or selected.
Squished Pennies Rule!
Favorite thing: When I'm travelling and I find one of those machines that makes a little souvenir out of a penny, I always get excited. I've got quite a collection going. If you are also a fan of these you will be pleased to learn that St. Louis seems to be a squished penny town. In my limited exploration of the city, I found three. There is one in the gift shop at the International Bowling Hall of Fame/Cardinals Hall of Fame and it has four different dies to choose from. I got the one with the bowling pin car on it. There are at least two at Union Station as well.
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