The alarm clock wakes me from a deep slumber, one that was induced by a long day and night in the summer heat. Only I begin to realize this alarm isn’t a clock but the curtains on our massive hotel room window being thrown open to let in the light reflecting up from the Mississippi River below. “Dad! Wake up! It’s time to order room service and play soccer hockey!” This “wake-up call” is from an 8-year-old boy imploring me to get going on this final day of our three-day father-son St. Louis baseball weekend.I almost always struggle to wake up in the mornings, but much like my son, I like to get the day going when traveling. I don’t travel to sleep in. But my bed at the HoteLumiere in Downtown St. Louis is so comfortable. And my body is stiff from crawling around the numerous tunnels at City Museum the day before, not to mention the drag my body was feeling after sweating gallons of fluids at the previous evening’s Cardinals game.
But who can say no to room service and soccer hockey in our suite followed by a quick swim before we check out and hit more sights?
Room service, soccer hockey in the hotel room, a couple of fantastic interactive “museums,” dancing for Cardinals fans, getting baseballs and autographs from Mets players and collecting a couple of bobbleheads are probably my son’s takeaway from our St. Louis baseball weekend. But for me? Other than the heat, our father-son St. Louis baseball weekend proved to be three days of memories that will last much longer.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we were in St. Louis in July, of course it was hot. What didn’t help matters was standing in line waiting for the gates to open two hours prior to first pitch so we can get in for the free bobblehead giveaway followed by watching the New York Mets take batting practice. I mean, if you’re going to travel for a baseball weekend go ahead and do it all out.
We were in St. Louis as Mets fans, and there actually were many of us in attendance at Busch Stadium. St. Louis fans have a reputation as some of the best in baseball, and part of that is the friendliness of the fans.
St. Louis is a popular destination for families in the summer, and it’s easy to see why. The Cardinals are historically one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball and their fans are scattered far and wide across the U.S. A weekend of baseball games is great for fans.
It goes beyond the games, as Busch Stadium is in the heart of the action in Downtown St. Louis. Outside the ballpark are statues of some of the franchise’s great players, a Cardinals hall of fame and ballpark village, a gathering of restaurants, bars and shops all devoted to Cardinals fans.
Along with a field for the family to play on, all of this is on what once was the original Busch Stadium, replaced by the current one in 2006.
But even beyond baseball, St. Louis has enough for families to enjoy for a long weekend or even a week of fun. Six Flags makes a lot of sense for theme park fans, but it wasn’t on our agenda this time around.
The Gateway Arch is an architectural marvel and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. When we visited there was much construction around the grounds in preparation for the festivities in October.
I have no data to back up this claim, but my money is on the top family attractions in St. Louis being Cardinals games and visiting the Arch. I do get visiting the Arch; driving into the city its seen for miles.
But do be prepared before walking over to the ticket office and expecting to go right up. The wait can be a couple of hours. So pick out a time that interests you and a day or two before go online or call in advance to reserve a ticket. Then just show up at your scheduled time, get in the short security line to get into the building and head in for the line to get on the pods that go to the top.
These pods are tight rides; They fit five people pretty tightly for the three-minute ride up. Once to the top stay as long as you like to enjoy the views.
Beyond the Arch, though, there is much more to St. Louis. We didn’t visit the St. Louis Zoo on this trip but I have in the past. It’s considered one of the nation’s best and it’s free. That’s hard to beat.
We had a great time at City Museum and Magic House. Both of these facilities could be called children’s museums and it would be somewhat correct. But there is much more to both.
First, the greatness that is City Museum and its way of creating fun experiences for the whole family while giving everyone a little exercise in a unique repurposed Downtown warehouse building. Instead of waiting on the elevator, we decided to hike up the more than 200 steps to the rooftop where a maze of slides, tunnels, a Ferris wheel and much more await.
After sliding more than a dozen times and venturing out onto a school bus that dangles over the roof, we headed downstairs and outside for the maze of more tunnels, balls of fun and so much more.
We could’ve spent a day here but a couple of hours had to do. It was hot and humid and we had lunch and a baseball game to get to.
After we went up the Arch, our final day’s activities saw us drive just southwest of Downtown St. Louis to visit the Magic House. This is a more traditional children’s museum experience with all of the great educational opportunities disguised as fun.
This old house with many additions provides room after room after room of fun. We spent the most time in a construction zone where Colby could learn how to draw a window to scale, install plumbing in a house, operate a digger and much more.
He also enjoyed the St. Louis Rams lockerroom that taught good fitness habits while giving us a chance to dress up in pads and helmet and kick a field goal.
We spent three days in St. Louis and barely scratched the surface of the fun for families.