THE FLYING NUNN
Big Things are Happening in St. Louis
Tue. September 22, 2020 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Located on the western bank of the Mississippi River, St. Louis, Missouri has something big for those visiting the city. The largest metropolitan area in Missouri lives by the motto "the bigger the better." Just look at the Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere and measures at 630 feet from the ground. Before visitors take a tram to the top, they have an opportunity to visit an informative museum at the entrance. Once inside the museum, rangers are onhand to answer questions if one is scared of heights, there are ways experience the Arch at the ground level. The Lousiana Purchase of 1803 and the challenges of early settlement are depicted in exhibits to keep things in context before viewing the land from atop the arch. Upon returning to the ground once the tram ride is over, the surrounding Gateway Arch National Park will give everyone a chance to stretch their legs. Photo ops and stellar views are guaranteed at this popular destination along the river.
The World's Largest Pencil, equivalent to 1,900,000 regular pencils along with a six foot tall pair of underwear can be found at the City Museum, 750 North 16th Street. This hundred year old, 10-story, 600,000 foot warehouse is the home for art and adventure thanks to the late sculptor Bob Cassilly. While currently limited in terms of space and capacity permitted at the same time, there is still plenty of attractions for visitors to see. Climbing is encouraged, so bring the kids, who will enjoy everything from a rocket ship to a room full of bugs!
After dinner I stumbled upon the St. Louis World Chess Hall of Fame with a giant chess piece outside that stands over 14 feet tall with a six feet wide base at 4652 Maryland Avenue. Talk about another tall order, for all the people struggling to find toilet paper recently, look no further than 3326 West Highway 76 as Charmin has made a monstrous roll of 9.73 feet to behold!
The Missouri Botanical Garden is another massive space to see with 79 acres of land. Mask wearing is currenly enforced both outdoors and indoors. There is plenty of room to walk and see nature with the Japanese Garden that covers 14 acres and is one of the largest Japanese strolling gardens in North America.
The Laumeier Sculpture Park continues this trend of an outdoor excursion with 60 large sculptures covering the 106 acres of park. It's free and open daily for all ages.
Forest Park is another free area to exercise with social distancing easily obtainable. Located just outside of the Missouri History Museum, this huge public park has 1,300 acres of forest and pathways to cover. Feel the history both indoors and outdoors in this beautiful part of St. Louis that is not easily forgotten.
Come inside and cool off after arriving at the St. Louis Union Station where the St. Louis Aquarium is located. From employees with physical challenges to a sensory room for overstimulated guests, this new attaction has its heart in all the right places. Some creatures can be played with and hand fed in the tanks for those that like their animals up close and personal. Hand washing and sanitization is everywhere in the building to follow safety protocols. Fun facts I learned along the way: piranhas were mistakenly given a bad rap years ago and angel fish are actually bullies with an incorrect name.
To escape this touristy area, after riding the nearby ferris wheel, take a drive to the Delmar Loop with over a hundred specialty shops and restaurants. Stroll along the St. Louis Walk of Fame and see the Chuck Berry statue. Venues such as The Pageant and Delmar Hall compliment the classic record store Vintage Vinyl for music lovers. Don't miss the area as part of your journey with its rich history and vintage vibe thanks to developer Joe Edwards. There's more information for this retro part of Missouri at VisitTheLoop.com.
For LGBT sights to see, head over to the Grove neighborhood in the city with both Grey Fox Pub or Rehab Bar & Grill St. Louis serving up drag for patrons. While dancing together is currrently on hold, the outdoor patios are all the rage with drinks and lively lip synching at several establishments. Double check hours of operation as these times are a changin' depending on business and city ordinances.
The Transgender Memorial Garden is nearby to the gay bars as we should pause and remember people that have paved the way for the community. Hopefully, this important garden will expand and grow in the future for all to fully appreciate.
St. Louis demands a return visit as my time was small and the city is large. Visiting the zoo and the World's Largest Amoco Sign were just not possilbe on this trip, but proves that St. Louis really needs an enormous amount of time to fully experience its wonders!
Plan a trip today with many more ideas at ExploreStLouis.com.
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