On Labor Day, a lot of Saint Louis was closed, but we still had a jam-packed day. We started out visiting the Cathedra Basilica of Saint Louis. It has one of the largest mosaic collections in the world. In fact, it was so beautiful that Pope John Paul II deemed it a ‘Basilica’ in 1997.
We stayed for part of the mass to view the art inside the church. Very impressive and pretty.
Then we headed over to the City Museum. This place came recommended and we weren’t quite sure what to expect…. but it was insane.
Basically… it was Gymboree for adults. Seriously, this place is NOT for kids. It’s 10 stories of real-life ‘chutes and ladders’. Here’s Laurie climbing up the dome of the building….
Think about that… you basically end up upside down by the time you reach the top! That was too scary for me. How do these little kids do it?!
This piece was on the roof of the building and it looked innocent enough…. but halfway up, i questioned if i could go the whole way! I didn’t really have an option at that point, so up we went! Scary!!!! It was quite the workout!
There were tunnels and slides that led to underground caves and fantastical worlds. We’d enter on one side and end up on a different floor somewhere else! They don’t have maps in the museum so you have NO idea where you are going. What if you lost your child in there somewhere?!
We were SO sore after ‘working out’ in there all day. Who needs a gym?
A random tree house. ha!
I highly recommend checking this place out solely because it was just SO STRANGE! It’s mostly made out of recycled materials. The highlight is the 10-story slide, but once we got to the bottom, we couldn’t figure out how to get out and had to climb 10 flights back up to the top. it was so confusing.
Annnyways, after that fun adventure, we needed gelato. We happened upon this place and it was delicious!
Then we drove around the Bellafontaine Cemetery looking for some notable tombs. (Laurie’s idea, not mine! haha) It was really neat though. We saw the final resting place of William Clark (of the Lewis & Clark fame).
And the tomb of the Anheuser family (the founder of Budweiser).
There were lots of other pretty ones along the way too. We talked to some locals who said they had never visited there before, but it was worth the drive. A lot of history in there.
That night, we met up with some friends we met on our Italian Contiki trip! We had some great burgers at Bailey’s Range. Great choice, food and company were stellar!
And for dessert, we HAD to try the Frozen Custard at Ted Drewes. It’s been open since 1929! It used to be a popular stop on the historic Route 66. It was SO good!
By 8:30p we were back in our hotel room heading to bed! We were exhausted! haha
On Tuesday morning, we were out the door by 8am heading to tour the Old Courthouse. The Courthouse used to be the stage for slave auctions and later made history with the Dred Scott case.
Here’s the courtroom where the case played out:
When we were done with learning about the Civil War, we headed back in time a little further and visited the Cahokia Mounds.
But first… LUNCH! Laurie wanted authentic BBQ and I wanted toasted ravioli… so we did both! First, we stopped at Pappy’s and Laurie got a really good pulled pork sandwich (apparently the best she’s ever had!)
And I finally got to grab some food from Cunetto’s. DELICIOUS!!! I got the Ravioli and some Spaghetti and Meatballs (Thank you for suggesting this, Janet!!!)
We ate in the car when we got to the mounds. They were off the beaten path and pretty fun and interesting too!
The website I linked to above has a lot of great information, but the short story about these tall mounds is this: They were handmade, built by Native Americans, in 1100AD. The land here was flat and they built small mountains little by little over 150 years. There used to be temples and houses on top of them. And some of the small ones were used as tombs. I had no idea we had ‘pyramids’ in our country! Did we learn about this in school? I don’t remember it if we did!
We watched a quick documentary about them at the visitors center and then went off to explore. Laurie made me hike to the top of the biggest one (Monk’s Mound). There were a million stairs and it was super hot, but worth the trek up for sure.
From the top, we could even see the arch! Sadly the native Americans didn’t have that view way back then.
The mounds are located close to the Great River Road too. It was in the ‘1,000 Places to See Before You Die” book, so Laurie was excited to check the road off the list as well.
We pretty much did every touristy thing there is to do in St. Louis in just 2 days. We had an absolute blast. It was such a great, clean, fun town. I’m excited to go back again soon, hopefully with Adele and Irving, and explore more. Til next time, St. Louis!!