art, critters, Indiana, Missouri, St. Louis trip

St. Louis Zoo and Art Museum, Part V

I really had no idea that the zoo and the art museum were so insanely good. My favorite exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo were the hippos, but the elephants and the Asian sun bears were very entertaining too.

^^^The Most Interesting Gorilla in the World

Then there was the St. Louis Art Museum, with master artists on exhibit from all over the world in all time periods. I nearly missed seeing the Andy Goldsworthy installation – thank God I stumbled onto it looking for the coffee shop!

We had a good St. Louis Italian meal, slept well, and drove all the way home on Saturday, getting home at about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, with one major stop in New Harmony, Indiana. I wish that we had spent more time there because it was a fascinating town for history and art. We had no idea; we were just looking for a diner.

Laura Foster Nicholson‘s weavings at New Harmony Contemporary Gallery of Art.

Okay, that’s it for that trip! On to the next!

Missouri, National Parks and Monuments, St. Louis trip

The Gateway Arch and Party Night, Part IV

After conquering my fear of heights at the City Museum, I decided to do what I had sworn I would not do. We went up in the Gateway Arch. You get a phobia two-fer at the Arch, because you ride up inside it in a little pod that seats five people. Fortunately I do not have claustrophobia. I managed to do it by pretending it was a simulation.

It swayed ever so slightly at the top.

Sandy stabilized it for me.

He’s my handsome fella.

Cardinal Field.

Then we started walking to Soulard, a downtown neighborhood that had been recommended to us. On the way, we found a great place to eat seafood and listen to blues, Broadway Oyster Bar. After City Museum and the Arch, I needed a drink. We had serious fun.

Then on to McGurk’s Irish Pub in Soulard, when the drinking continued but we switched to live Irish music.

That was a helluva fun day in St. Louis.

Missouri, St. Louis trip

City Museum, Part III

After Cahokia, we took the Metro to downtown St. Louis and walked to the City Museum, which is kinda difficult to describe. It’s like this amazing playground, artfully built, for all ages. There were all kinds of ways to get hurt in this place. If I had been 12 I would never have wanted to leave. The 10 story flight of metal stairs to the top scared the crap out of me, so I chose to take the spiral slide all the way down. There were all kinds of tunnels and tubes to crawl through if I had been fit or could have actually fit into. We spent most of our time on the roof.

Looking up from the bottom.

On the roof. Sandy climbed up that wire tube. I took the stairs. We both slid down the slide beneath it. We were very pleased with ourselves.

There is a third way to climb to the top of that slide. Note the kids on the sides of this dome.

At the very top of the slide – two people climbing over the girl about to slide down beneath them.

The praying mantis oversees it all.

That’s me in front of the kid.

Yes, that’s a Ferris wheel on the roof. I don’t even ride them on the ground, so no.

Here’s one photo from the interior. We didn’t even see half of the place. I’d love to go back here.

Cahokia, Illinois, Missouri, St. Louis trip, UNESCO World Heritage sites

Cahokia Mounds, Part II

The weather improved greatly so our first stop on Thursday was Cahokia, where we climbed up Monks Mound. You could see St. Louis from the top. Cahokia was one of the greatest cities in the world at its time. Parts of its outlying villages continue to be found. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but a state park, not a national park. Like all parks these days, it struggles from budget cuts but its museum displays were outstanding and the grounds beautifully maintained.

A mural of how the city may have looked inside the interpretative center.

“Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas.” Click the photo to read the sign.

Looking up the stairway to the top of the first terrace.

Looking down the stairs at the mounds across the road from the third terrace

View of a mound and a woodhenge, taken with a zoom. There is development all around the site and that appears to be a landfill in the background.

Zooming in on the view of St. Louis from the top.

Kentucky, Missouri, St. Louis trip, West Virginia

Road Trip to St. Louis, Part I

For our 28th (GACK!) wedding anniversary, we took a road trip from NC-Virginia-West Virginia-Kentucky-Indiana-Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri the week of May 17-23, 2015.

Most of our time was spent in Kentucky, southern Illinois, and St. Louis. We drove to Lexington, Kentucky on a Saturday afternoon, stopping at Tamarack in Beckley, West Virginia on the way, and spent two nights there. We watched the Mad Men finale the first night in the hotel (I am a big fan) and the next day we spent going to Berea and the studios and art galleries there. That night we went downtown in Lexington, which was a fine evening.

Tamarack, an arts and crafts center in Beckley, West Virginia

The large weaving studio of Berea College

Downtown Lexington

On the way to Fairview Heights, Illinois, we stopped briefly at the Frazier Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. We had been talking about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and there our questions were answered. As usual, I got distracted by geometry.

Louisville, Kentucky

Cahokia Mounds Historic Site has been on our radar for quite some time. Sandy and I like to visit ancient history sites when we vacation, and this one is one he has been talking about for years. It was the focus of the trip. That morning was unseasonably chilly and rainy, so we spent most of our time in the interpretative center at Cahokia Mounds, and then we took the train to Forest Park in St. Louis, where there is a cluster of museums and the zoo. We ate lunch in a nice restaurant at the top of the St. Louis History Museum, took that in, then took the trolley to the Science Center, which was closing and so we didn’t get a good impression of it. We went back to the hotel for a break, and it turned out that they had free drinks and food for the guests that night and it was quite good. So we ended up staying in.

Laurie in front of a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis.

Sandy compared to the tallest man in history.