According to Wikipedia, "The City Museum is a play house museum, consisting largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District of St. Louis, Missouri, United States." Instead, I would describe the City Museum as a playground that was designed by Dr. Seuss. It is unlike anything we have ever seen.
At first, Charlotte wasn't very impressed with the first floor. All she could see was this huge whale that you could walk into.
Then she spotted a kid climbing out of a hole like this in the whale.
And then another kid entered the hole on the other side and disappeared.
Charlotte followed that boy into the hole, and Daphne and I followed her. I couldn't see her face, but Charlotte was giggling with joy inside the hidden space.
Then she spotted a hole in the ground under the whale. That hole led to a tunnel that went under the floor and ended about 30 yards away. Here's the hole under the whale.
Here's the end of the tunnel. The sign on the right stated that the tunnel was 48" high and 18" wide.
Now, I have to admit that I'm claustrophobic, and there was nooooo way that I was willingly going into such a tight space.
Charlotte and Daphne were fearless, but for me this is the stuff of nightmares:
I did slide down this hollowed out log, though.
Beyond the whale is a maze of caves. Here's a protip from the City Museum website: bring a flashlight. There is an ant colony's worth of cave tunnels to explore, and they can get pretty dark. There are a few lights in there, but the flash on our camera belittles how dark the caves can get.
The first floor's "ceiling" is decorated to imitate water, but don't think that is all there that is up there.
You can kill more than an hour exploring the tubes, passages, and rebar latticeworks that are above the phony water. It looks like a tree house that fell into a metal spiderweb.
Charlotte was so excited to lead us around the wire trails. We would be crawling through some uncharted territory, and she tell us, "You stay here my faithful companions. I shall journey forth!" (And yes, that's a direct quote.) Then she would leave us behind while she crawled ahead to make sure the path was safe.
And that was just the first floor. This place has at least four floors of attractions. I'll confess that after an hour I forgot about taking pictures. I was just trying to survive. This is a place that can beat you up. The gift shop sells knee pads, and I would wear them next time. I spotted a couple of dads wearing professional grade knee pads, and they didn't look strange, they looked like they were smart.
The mazes, tubes, and walkways continued outside, but we didn't spend much time out there. It was cold, and we left our coats in the car.
The third floor features the world's largest underwear in place called Beatnik Bob's. I had to take a picture of that.
They also had some vintage arcade and pinball macines!
EM pinball? Now you're talking. "Char, Dad needs a little break. Why don't you run around the skate park?"
I was ready to go after three and a half hours. Char didn't want to leave, but our argument was that we wanted to avoid the 5:00 traffic. We also promised her that we would come back this summer. That way we could check out the roof and spend more time outside. I bet we spend most of our time on level one, though.
"Head, shoulders, knees, and toes (knees and toes)." Yep, they were all sore the next day.
"Back, bottom, shins and nose (shins and nose)." Those too.
Still, we will be back! ( I'll be shopping Harbor Freight for some industrial strength knee pads before that, though.)
There are tons of YouTube videos about the City Museum. Here's a link to one video I like. The narrator/guide also uses Dr. Seuss in his description. Link