Museum of Mirth, Mystery, and Mayhem

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,

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.

slide

what's upstairs

The bottom floor hosts a nautical and woodlands theme of crawl spaces…

water world

beluga

with several points of access to a mezzanine food court,

staircase

while higher floors highlight an intricate cave system, ramps with rope swings, and warped walls to exploit one’s inner American Ninja Warrior.

sharp pencil

Collections abound, with floor to ceiling showcases of pinned insects, and walls of archaeological finds;

collection

architectural assemblages of friezes, cornices, and gargoyles;

faces in the wall

gargoyle

edifice crown

Otto’s Robotorium of whimsical futurama;

robotorium

silly robots

and assorted oddities and eccentricities that defy classification…

bizarro train set

electric chair

big underpants

Despite its 20-year run, the City Museum is a work-in-progress, with new and imaginative play environments under construction.

creating a castle

Protected by a Serpentine Wall outside the museum space,

snake perimeter

the MonstroCity rises into a winding array of caged ladders and walkways that meanders through a jet fuselage,

plane tube

a castle turret,

turret (2)

and so much more, before leading to a pit of dodgeballs.

ball pit

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.

bus off the building

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

 

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