Junkle gym

My cousin had recommended City Museum, Steph had heard great things about City Museum and when our neighbor back in Kentucky heard we were going to St. Louis he said, “oh…you HAVE to go to City Museum!”  And so we had no choice…we would have to endure another museum.  We have been to so many museums and we have enjoyed almost all of them and always learned something. Would we enjoy this one and would we learn anything? Yes and yes!
Amongst the grid

We show up downtown and there are a couple orange vested guys directing traffic into a $10/day parking garage.  Twenty yards beyond them is a sign for $2 all day parking in a lot that has plenty of spaces available.  We picked the $2 one and went in to buy our tickets.  We opted to pay the extra $5/person for access to the rooftop which I think we all agreed was worth it.  They do not have any maps of the museum which turns out to be quite brilliant.  What is this museum?  You know how kids want to climb on everything when you are at a museum, or zoo, or grocery store or church or wherever but you constantly have to tell them not to?  City Museum is NOT that….it’s the opposite of that.  With only a couple of exceptions, if you find a hole to crawl in or something that looks climbable or something you can slide your butt on then go ahead and crawl in it, climb it and slide down it!!!  It is a very hard place to describe…I think you must experience it to even start to understand it.  But I will try to describe it a bit.

The roof top has an old school bus hanging precariously over the edge of the building.  You can climb in the bus, take the wheel and even open the door to look 10 stories down to the sidewalk!  There is a Ferris wheel, some giant slides, and lots of metal structures.  There are tubes made from giant metal screens, funky shaped pods and this giant dome in which you could scale the inside of the dome in a wire frame to access a huge, human sized chandelier hanging from the ceiling.  You can climb on EVERYTHING.  From the roof top you can take the “10 story slide” down into the main museum area.  Brielle and I did not try it but apparently it was not as thrilling as it sounds.
In the chandelier

Outside there is another eclectic collection of stuff to explore.  There is a Lear jet, castle, ball pit, crane and fire engine all in  a crazy arrangement and connected by suspension bridges, ladders, slides, spiral stairs and these things that resembled giant slinkys arching through the air that you could crawl through.  It was fun to see a place you want to check out and then try to figure out how to get there only to get side tracked by a cool looking portal to crawl through that takes you somewhere totally different than where you wanted to go.
Slinky tubeThe kids wanted to play in the ball pit in this outside area so in they went.  Steph and I found a place to sit and watch them play.  At one point a boy threw a couple balls at Brielle’s head and she told him to stop.  He did not.  Before I could react Caden came over and told the kid to stop throwing balls at his sister.  The kid takes another head shot at Brielle and Caden beams him in the face with a ball and told him once again to stop.  The kid picks up another ball and Caden gives him another warning.  When the kid cocks his arm back Caden unleashes a furry of balls on the kid not unlike Buddy the Elf did in the snowball fight scene.  Brielle looks at me and I told her to join in the fun.  I’m not sure if that was the correct parental thing to do but that kid was a punk.   He finally moved to a different area of the pit and then left soon after.  I have to admit, watching that go down was one of the highlights of my day.  In defending his sister Caden handled it beautifully….giving the kid a couple opportunities to back off before giving him a taste of his own medicine.
Ball pitAfter a picnic lunch in the parking lot with the Beast we went back in to explore the inside portions of the museum.  The first section we explored is what Steph and I thought might be what an acid trip is like.  There was groovy music playing, this silky fur stuff hanging from the ceiling and a sort of Alice in Wonderland set of tubes and creatures and passageways and ladders and slides.  One section was made out of concrete and rock, another out of wood and hollowed out logs and another of plastic and metal.  Also inside was an area called the caves that was an amazing labyrinth of very well done cave passages with artificial cave formations.  Some passageways you could walk in, others you had to crawl through and still others required you to get on your belly and inch like a worm.

On the 3rd and 4th levels there was a circus show, a giant vault, a giant hamster wheel and a giant pencil.  There was a room full of ramps and rope swings and another filled with mirrors.  The place seemed to go on and on and on and it seemed like there was nothing that was off limits.  We had an absolute BLAST.  Like our neighbor in Kentucky said, if you are ever in the St. Louis area with kids or adventurous adults then “you HAVE to go to City Museum!”  Even if you don’t do the crawling it is probably worth the visit to see.  There is a beauty to the structures as you realize that the bark on the metal tree is made of railroad spikes or that a wall is made out of old printing plates or that the stair balusters are rollers from an old factory.  The whole place is made out of junk….repurposed, upcycled junk.  A junkle gym.  If I ever open one of these in Longmont (maybe at the old abandoned Walmart) I think I’ll call it Junkle Gym.


Crazy driver

Lilly pads

Giant bug

Fun chair

High up

Ferris wheel

In the chandelier

Is this safe?

Ball pit

Brielle going up

Caden going up


Suspension bridge

Amongst the grid

Slinky tube

Don't look down

Crane operator

The family

Stairs or ladder

That was small


Monster slide


Long blue coil


Her hand's on my can

Hamster wheel

The vault



Column jail

Going to the slide

Here I come

Are you a pilot?

Down the tube

Through the tube


We picked this day for City Museum because it was partly cloudy and relatively cool which was a very good thing.  It cleared up later in the day which made being outside pretty hot but we still had a ton of fun.  Afterwards we went to the “Hill” area of town to try out the St Louis treat, fried raviolis.  They were good but seemed like they weren’t much different than a Totino’s pizza roll.  For dessert we went to Ted Drews Frozen Custard to get a famous “concrete.”  Its like a Dairy Queene Blizzard but made with Ted’s famous frozen custard.  We all liked it except Brielle….she just likes plain old chocolate ice cream and nothing else in the world of ice cream.

Just when you think you can’t possibly have another amazing, list-topping day, it happens!!


RR spiked tree

In the grid

Metal everywhere

Random wall

Wringing its neck

Beep boop

Crossing to the slide

Wach shadow

Ear wax

Mob boss



Enjoying our concretes


One thought on “Junkle gym

  • June 28, 2016 at 4:05 am

    What a fun day for everyone! Dad and I laughed at a lot of the picture!!!


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