Looking for something different to do on a rainy day in St. Louis? Any list of indoor activities should include a trip to the City Museum,
the brainchild of Bob Cassilly started 20 years ago in an abandoned shoe factory and warehouse, that’s since been converted into a nail-biting, four-story jungle gym and rooftop amusement park created from repurposed mechanical and architectural relics.
During our visit, parents were either on the sidelines watching their kids wear themselves out, or trying to keep pace with them, as they maneuvered through a zany, life-size Chutes and Ladders game board, extending through multiple levels.
The bottom floor hosts a nautical and woodlands theme of crawl spaces…
with several points of access to a mezzanine food court,
while higher floors highlight an intricate cave system, ramps with rope swings, and warped walls to exploit one’s inner American Ninja Warrior.
Collections abound, with floor to ceiling showcases of pinned insects, and walls of archaeological finds;
architectural assemblages of friezes, cornices, and gargoyles;
Otto’s Robotorium of whimsical futurama;
and assorted oddities and eccentricities that defy classification…
Despite its 20-year run, the City Museum is a work-in-progress, with new and imaginative play environments under construction.
Protected by a Serpentine Wall outside the museum space,
the MonstroCity rises into a winding array of caged ladders and walkways that meanders through a jet fuselage,
a castle turret,
and so much more, before leading to a pit of dodgeballs.
Unfortunately, the rooftop, replete with a Ferris wheel, an enormous praying mantis, a domed rope swing, a pond and a dangling yellow school bus was closed due to inclement weather.
There is so much to explore at City Museum (including a flying circus), that it’s impossible to be bored. In fact, the interactive experience is so profound, that critics might consider it overload.
As a retired special educator who’s embraced the Vark model, I salute the City Museum for challenging children of all ages through a rich diversity of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic stimuli. However, nervous parents may wish to protect their kids with knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet.
For more information, go to City Museum