If you haven't made it to City Museum in St. Louis yet, you need to put it on your bucket list. Nearly a 6-hour-drive away, this crazy fun indoor/outdoor urban 10-story playground museum is a must visit. During the summer months, it's the perfect option for families looking for a vacation spot they can drive to and during the school year, St. Louis makes for a fun last-minute weekend getaway.



5 Reasons to put City Museum on your Family Bucket List

by Angela Forsyth


If you haven't made it to City Museum in St. Louis yet, you need to put it on your bucket list. Nearly a 6-hour-drive away, this crazy fun indoor/outdoor urban 10-story playground museum is a must visit. During the summer months, it's the perfect option for families looking for a vacation spot they can drive to and during the school year, St. Louis makes for a fun last-minute weekend getaway.


  1. It's Amazing:

    Completed in 1997, this 600,000 square-foot former shoe houses two repurposed airplanes, a school bus balancing off the edge of the roof, two 10-story indoor winding slides, expansive man-made subterranean caves, an aquarium, a pipe organ, a rooftop Ferris wheel, restaurants and a perfectly placed bar next to two large ball pits. As opposed to most museums, all of these things are meant for touching, climbing and experiencing.

    City Museum was designed by artist and sculptor Bob Cassilly who passed away in 2011. Cassilly once said: "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."

  2. It's Unique:

    This point overlaps a bit with our first point, about the museum being amazing. However, it must be said that this is hands down the most unique museum you will ever visit. The majority (if not all) of the materials are refurbished from no further than the city limits. The old bridges, statues, chimneys and miles of tile have been brought in and reused - sometimes in wacky ways. Numerous multi-level tunnels and slides lead you from one floor to another, making you feel like you're in a strange life-size game of Chutes and Ladders. You might start off on the third floor staring down the mouth of an enclosed slide, only to end up two floors down suddenly outdoors or in one of the basement caves.

    Since the death of Cassilly a loyal group of 20 artists who call themselves the Cassilly Crew continues to work on the City Museum's quirky layout. So, even if you've been there before, you can still find new innovations to come back to. In May of 2017, four new slides were opened.

  3. It's for all Ages:

    You'll be sure to see tons of kids, teenagers and adults alike. Even the surly teens who are hard to please, love this place. I happen to have four kids of my own who span the ages of 5 to 14. The difference in their ages makes it very hard to find outings we can all enjoy. Those of you with kids with large age gaps between them know what I mean! Yet, each one of my children walked out of City Museum asking to come back someday. With a rooftop Ferris wheel and wire tunnel bridges all around - including the tallest outdoor one that allows you to see through the bottom to five stories of city view below - it may be an awesome place for kids of all ages, but not so great for people with a fear of heights.

  4. It Promotes Physical Activity:

    You will be walking, climbing, sliding and crawling on your hands and knees all day. Your most active family members will be happy to use their energy and your couch potatoes will have a fun reason to get moving.

  5. It will Make you put Down your Phone:

    With all the climbing and crawling, your hands aren't free much for texting or playing games on your phone. Plus, you find yourself using your eyes to visually explore and search for the next place to go. Maps are not available on purpose because the creators intended you to get lost. Our greatest group challenge was keeping our eyes peeled for the 10-story slide. Hint: Start at the caves on the lowest level and find a winding stair case.

Before you go, check out the following information:

REGULAR HOURS:
Mon - Tues 9am till 5pm
Wed - Thurs 9am till 5pm
Fri - Sat 9am till Midnight
Sun 11am till 5pm
Museum is generally open 7 days a week.


PRICING:
Admission: $12.00 (plus tax) ages 3 years and up.
Parking: $7.00 (cash only) in the serpent lot.


Ins and Outs:
Ins and Outs - Guests may come and go with wristbands (policy does not extend to parking).

    RECOMMENDATIONS:
  • Sneakers or closed-toe, closed-heel shoes are best. Sandals/flip flops are strongly discouraged.
  • Full-length pants or jeans are recommended for using the multiple slides, tunnels and various attractions.
  • There is usually a line in the morning.
  • Think about visiting after 5pm on Friday and Saturday.
  • The roof is open seasonally weather permitting.
  • A phone number on your child's wrist band is helpful.
  • Entrance to the 10 story slide is through the caves.
  • No maps.
  • The 4 story elevator does not go to the roof.
  • Museum Shop sells knee pads.


Angela Forsyth, free lance writer with Firefly Marketing, LLC

Angela Forsyth, Editor - FamilyLifeNWA.com