City Museum: Fun for Everyone

Last October, Lindsey wrote a post about her City Museum experience with her girlfriends.

That was the first I had heard of the museum. It peaked my interest but I didn’t see myself going to St. Louis anytime in the near future (I promise it’s not because I’m a die hard Cincinnati Reds fan) until I was invited on the NURFC‘s Education trip. To say I was exited to go to the City Museum would be an understatement.

I was more than excited; I was like a toddler going to see Yo Gabba Gabba.

That’s what the City Museum does to adults; it turns us into children.

After receiving our wristbands and getting over the initial shock of the giant museum NOT having a map or visitor guide (which I personally loved: exploration + curiosity = a true self guided experience), my colleagues and I dove into the Enchanted Caves. I was a little hesitant at first, how was I going to fit into these tiny spaces? Crawl on my belly? Crabwalk? Would I get stuck in the long dark slides? Well, it wasn’t “easy” and I certainly needed the encouragement of my friends (as you’ll see in the videos below) but the experience was incredible. I ruined my blouse and I didn’t care. I was dirty, sweaty and I laughed so hard, I cried. All of this happened and we were still on the first floor.

After spending 90 minutes in the Enchanted Caves we thought we should explore the rest of the museum.

We climbed what felt like a million stairs to slide down the seven story slide…

Played in the giant hamster wheel…

Are you wondering if this is a ‘real’ museum?

Well, it is.

Housed in old International Shoe building in St. Louis, this is a museum of recycled/repurposed architectural and industrial objects with an eclectic collection. It’s very impressive AND very fun!

The second floor collection, yes, I’m using the word collection, features old vault doors and beautifully displayed vintage opera posters.

The third floor collection includes insects and other taxidermy items, antique door knobs, signage, as well as, gargoyles (I love gargoyles!) and other architectural facades.

And this is just the stuff we managed to see in a few hours. We never made it to the roof (I’m a little sad about this) but I definitely plan a trip back to ride the Ferris Wheel, see the signature giant praying mantis and check out the school bus that extends past the edge of the building. Really, it does.

Did I mention there’s an aquarium and a shoelace factory?

The City Museum is an experience that’s fun for children and adults. I saw just as many 20-30 somethings crawling around in the Enchanted Caves as I did 6-12 year olds. Seriously.

After exploring the City Museum website before and after my visit in preparation for this post, a quote by founder Bob Cassilly has stuck with me: “City Museum makes you want to know. The point is not to learn every fact, but to say, ‘Wow, that’s wonderful.’ And if it’s wonderful, it’s worth preserving.” How’s that for a collections policy?

My only suggestion: Bring knee-pads. You’ll thank me.

7 thoughts on “City Museum: Fun for Everyone

  1. Our first big assignment in grad school was to go to the City Museum and decide if it was a museum. Definitely food for thought. Bob Cassilly was a big name in St. Louis and will definitely be missed, but the City Museum continues to build.

    • What a great assignment! What end of the spectrum did you/do you fall on, Carolyn? Museum or not? This was certainly a lively discussion with our group!

    • Hi, Adrianne! Unfortunately, I did not make it to the giant ball pit. The more I talk about the City Museum, the more I realize that there is so much more to see. I can’t wait to get back!

  2. It looks like you had a great time! I definitely think its a museum… the museum experience is not just about learning, its also about inspiring curiousity & having a great time! Who would want to return to a site (members, especially) if you don’t enjoy the experience? I really want to check this place out now! Thanks!

  3. I lived in St Louis when the museum was being developed. There were many raised eyebrows. But bravo for Bob Cassilly and his vision. It is a unique expereince–and you can’t say that very often.

  4. Pingback: The Freedom Center’s Richard Cooper on the Future of Museums and the Role Technology Will Play « TourSphere Points of Interest

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