The City Museum is a must!
If you are planning a trip to St. Louis, you cannot miss the City Museum. During our trip this past summer, it was one of our favorite spots. We spent the entire day there, and if we would have had more time, we probably would have gone back for a second one.
So, what is the City Museum and what makes it so much fun? I’m sharing our experience, along with tips to make your visit to St. Louis and the City Museum even better.
The City Museum is NOT a Museum
Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons to see, but it’s not a typical museum.
What does that mean?
It means you can touch pretty much everything.You can also climb, slide, explore, swing, jump, and crawl.
The City Museum is located in downtown St. Louis in an old warehouse. The building itself is over 100 years old, and most of the things located in and around it are made from repurposed and recycled materials by artists. There are slides to go down, ropes to swing from, tunnels to climb through, caves to explore, and ball pits to jump in. Plus, there is a train for little ones, old arcade games to play, a circus to watch, and a ferris wheel to ride.
Every element of the museum is built to fuel your imagination and encourage a sense of play. There are secret passages, castle towers, and bridges that offer spectacular views of the city…or your friends above you.
It’s also an ongoing process. New elements are added and constructed all the time, so chances are that you will find something new each visit.
The City Museum is like a huge, beautiful playground for all ages.
On our Trip to the City Museum
We headed to the City Museum as soon as it opened. There are options for ticketing, and we chose to see everything, so we included roof-top access. You can get just an indoor museum pass if the weather is not good.
Even though I had talked to friends before our visit, I really had no idea what to expect. I’m not sure that you could ever be prepared for all different elements and surprises.
We started exploring a cave area and found a giant slide. There is a height requirement if you want to go down the full 10 stories. There is a 3 story option for the littler ones. Luckily, the twins weren’t really excited about going down it because it was pretty dark, so the smaller slide was perfect.
We found waterfalls and fish and lots of secret passages. Then, we headed up another flight where there were rope swings, rolling chairs, and giant pipes to climb on and through.
I saw a sign for the circus, so I checked the times for the show. There was only one early in the day, so I kept track of the time. While we were waiting, we found the arcade area and a bar!
We brought our beverages and popcorn to watch the show, and it was crazy. There were magic tricks and unbelievable stunts. It was super entertaining.
We decided to head outside to explore. The front of the building is filled with metal bridges and tunnels. Plus, there are giant castles to climb, old vehicles, and a metal airplane structure. Then, there is a ball pit for both little kids and older kids.
After climbing around with the kids, me and my husband sat at a table while the boys played a sort of tag all over the front.
For lunch, we decided to head up to the roof for some tacos. After we ate, Mr. B went down a huge slide, and Mr. C and I went on the ferris wheel. My husband is not so great with heights, so I was going to ride with each boy. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me!) it got too windy, and they had to close it down after the first ride. The view was awesome, but it was a little scary.
We did a little more exploring of each floor, and then it was time to head out.
Best Tips for Your Visit
Before our visit, I talked with a friend that had been to the City Museum. She recommended knee pads, or at least long pants, because of all the climbing. In addition to that awesome advice, here are some other tips to make your trip more enjoyable.
- Dress your kids so you can find them. For me, I dressed mine in the same, bright colored shirt. That way they were able to run around, and I was able to find them fast.
- Wait for good weather, if possible. Yes, there is plenty to do inside, but outside is amazing. Not only is the front of the building filled with tunnels and castles, but the roof is tons of fun. There is an old ferris wheel, a giant slide, and a place to sit and eat. Plus, you get a workout walking up or down the stairs. (Don’t worry, there is an elevator too.)
- Where comfortable and weather-appropriate shoes and clothing. See climbing, sliding, and stairs. There is a coat check in case it is chilly outside.
- Prepare picky eaters. There are only a few dining choices, but you may leave to eat offsite. It is very kid-friendly, however, with pizza, tacos, and chicken fingers. There is also alcohol for adult purchase.
- Bring change/money for games and/or gift shop. While not a necessity, the boys had fun with some old pinball machines, and we couldn’t get my husband away from the coin pushing machine.
- Don’t stress about germs. This was a hard one for me, but I knew to prepare myself before. There IS hand sanitizer everywhere, and I brought some wet wipes in my purse. Also, even after climbing and crawling, our clothes weren’t very dirty. However, you are touching everything, so just be smart.
- Have fun and an open mind. Even if climbing or small spaces aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other stuff. Enjoy the views, look for hidden treasures, or even just watch the joy your kids are having.
Have you visited the City Museum? What looks like the most fun to you?
Cool place – I miss these destinations now that the kids are older. I really want to know how those rooftop tacos are, because that has dreamy potential. Also, glad you specified that alcohol was for the grown folk – some people might get the impression it’s intended to get the kiddos down for a nap!
One of these times we go visit family in St. Louis I’m hoping we get to the City Museum. We haven’t done it yet as Ollie hadn’t been as interested in climbing and that type of thing for the last few years but he seems more interested now so I think he’ll find it fun if we go!
Oh wow, this sounds fantastic! I think my nieces and nephew would love it. I like that you can touch pretty much everything, and all the outside elements are really unique. I’d like to visit St. Louis someday. I’ve never been.
Lecy | A Simpler Grace says
This looks like such a fun place. I love that there are more museums geared toward children.