City Museum, MO

Giant hamster tube. 'Nuff said.

Giant hamster tube. ‘Nuff said.

Monday, April 7 (backlog)

I like saying that I visited a museum, it makes me sound worldly and learned. Well before you start getting any high ideas, this is not the typical museum.

It’s a work of art. Made to be played in by children and adults alike. Totally my kind of place.

Located in the downtown area of St. Louis, visiting City Museum can be a challenge for RVers because parking is scarce. Many visitors will leave their RVs at a park on the edge of the city and drive in with their commuting vehicle, but as Julie and I wanted to drive a few more miles after we got done here we didn’t want to go that route.

We got lucky. It was a Monday and there were no large group tours scheduled to come in today, so when we called ahead that day the ticket master said we could park the rig right outside the building in the street-side bus parking. We could literally look out through the windows on one side of the museum and see Bertha and Cas pulled up at the curb. Talk about close.

The fish room

The fish room

The museum is located in an old 600,000 sq. foot shoe factory, and is the brainchild of acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly. All of the eclectic architecture and “sculptures” were made from found materials located within the municipal boarders of St. Louis: old chimneys, salvaged bridges, miles of tile, construction cranes… and yes, two airplanes.

Entrance to the caves, deliciously creepy

Entrance to the caves, deliciously creepy

There are several different “areas” to the museum and a ridiculous number of nooks and crannies to crawl (or slither) into and explore. We start in what I dubbed the fish room that has a 18″ wide crawlspace under the floor, a giant indoor treehouse, a maze of human-sized hamster tubes in the ceiling, and of course sculptures of fish.

Next is the caves, which can be spotted by a sign on on a nondescript door pointing to a 10 story slide. Ten stories tall? Heck yeah, where do I sign up? Wait, this means I need to climb ten stories worth of stairs? Hmm… yep! Still worth it.

There are actually two 10 story slides in City Museum, but one is located on the roof which is closed for the off-season. Maybe next time.

The caves are easy to get turned around in. Little passageways dart off in all directions and there are artificial dinosaur bones and such around. The stalactites and stalagmites were created, but look eerily real in the dim, often red, lighting. At one point loud organ pipe music echoes hauntingly through the corridors, eep. The caves empty out into an open-topped room where you can look 10 stories up at the climb you are about to embark on to get to the top of the slide: a complex series of spiraling staircases.

A long climb up to the slide

A long climb up to the slide

After all of that physical exertion, it’s time for lunch. Julie and I have, undeniably in my opinion, the best possible situation of all of the visitors here today when it comes to lunch. No having to sneak snacks in, no having to eat at the expensive cafeteria area in the museum, no having to make food ahead of time and leave it to roast in the car all morning, and no having to drive somewhere to go eat. We exit the building, turn the corner to go around back, hop into the Casita, and enjoy a fresh lunch of our own making with a view of the city and all the comforts of home. I love being an RVer.


Not exactly my best side, blame the photographer 😉

Just an airplane welded to a crane

Just an airplane welded to a crane

Then it’s time to explore the outdoors part, which is open when the weather is nice.

There is actually a good deal of construction going on in ‘Monstrocity’, and I wonder about new stone tower going up in one corner. On the roof a bus hangs off the edge of the building, and to my understanding that can be entered as well, I wonder if I’d be nervous it being that high up?

I climb through metal tubes, skid down an entirely inappropriate number of slides for a grown adult, and curl up in a little wire ball perched atop a pole to watch everyone below. We have a great time. I do avoid the giant ball pit, because there are a lot of children in there and I wouldn’t want to accidentally squish one in my exuberance.

Like ants in a tunnel. A tunnel made of metal. In the sky. Okay, nevermind on the tunnel

Like ants in a tunnel. A tunnel made of metal. In the sky. Okay, nevermind on the tunnel thiing

For the last hurrah, we head back inside and watch turtles in a pond, tilt around on crazy chairs shaped like tops, and run in a giant hamster wheel. Never get so absorbed in what other people will think of you that you forget how to have fun.

Oh, I almost forgot. There is a floor or so dedicated to “real” museum stuff too. The bug and old doorknob exhibits caught my eye the most, but I wouldn’t be fooling anyone if I said I came here for that. Nuh-uh, I came to play!

Ahem. So yeah, City Museum. Worth the $12 admittance.

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Last week I updated the About Amazon’s CamperForce post to reflect all of the changes for 2015, so for those of you who’ve been waiting for more information, head on over and take a peek.

Posts are running a bit behind real time right now, but I just wanted to say that I dropped Julie off safe and sound in Madison on the 8th and proceeded up to my parent’s house where I’ll be driveway surfing until early May when it’s time to head out to Yellowstone. Hope you’re all having a great week!


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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Rene Kipp on April 20, 2015 at 10:43 am

    I just bookmarked your link. That sounds like a place I’d like to visit and explore (on my hands and knees) 🙂
    Rene Kipp recently posted..Crock Pot MealsMy Profile

    • Becky on April 20, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Yes Rene, please do! It’s so liberating to be able to act like a child in a public venue. 😉

  2. Jill on April 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    For an adult you’re having way to much fun. This made me smile.

    • Becky on April 19, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Too much fun, what’s that mean? 😛

      I had a great time, great place for kids of all ages.

  3. Becky on April 18, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I do now Cindy, thanks for sharing! Still not what we would have wanted to do this trip as we drove a few hours after visiting the museum, but this will help other folks visiting St. Louis I’m sure.

  4. Cindy the pet sitter in Mesa, AZ on April 17, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Becky…you mean you don’t know about the RV Park right, smack dab in the middle of the downtown?!

    I’m shocked! 🙂

    This is the link:

    We stayed there in 2013. Within 2 miles of anything worth seeing 🙂

  5. Jodee Gravel on April 15, 2015 at 8:50 am

    How fun and creative! Like all those crazy place you see as a kid and instantly know how great it would be to climb around in – but you know your mom would kill you if you didn’t kill yourself 🙂 I suppose the bug exhibit was necessary for that real museum feel…….
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..She Said Yes :-))My Profile

    • Becky on April 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

      It is so much fun Jodee. I love being an adult, no more having to ask mom and dad if I can go play, and the freedom to eat dessert before dinner! 😉

  6. Jim at Growing Faith on April 15, 2015 at 8:34 am

    This sounds like a lot of fun! One of my favorite things to do when I visit cities is go to their art museum(s). However, I would also enjoy the children’s museum. Thank you for sharing this with us 🙂
    Jim at Growing Faith recently posted..Admire CreationsMy Profile

    • Becky on April 15, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Glad you enjoyed this Jim! It is a heck of a lot of fun. I actually visited once before in 2008, and somehow managed to miss the 10 story slides entirely – it’s that big. This time Julie and I went hunting for them. 😛

  7. Bodhi on April 15, 2015 at 6:14 am

    I lived in St. Louis in the 80s and went to college there. I feel like I really miss out because it had no City Museum back then. Soooo cool! Thanks for sharing!

    • Becky on April 15, 2015 at 9:29 am

      City Museum opened in 1997 I believe Bodhi. Glad you got to visit vicariously at least and maybe sometime you can go back and check it out in person. 🙂

  8. Karen on April 15, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Wow! I want to go there–terrific post! I’m

    • Becky on April 15, 2015 at 9:28 am

      You seem to have gotten cut off Karen, glad you enjoyed this.

  9. Todd on April 14, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Welcome back to WI. What an amazing place you just described. I wish I had a little of that creative blood. Enjoy your time with your family.

    • Becky on April 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

      You’ll just have to visit sometime Todd, it’ll get your creativity flowing! Thanks, and I will.

  10. Ron on April 14, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Posted above on my smart phone. Found the book link off screen.

    • Becky on April 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Yep, a link to the guide can be found in the sidebar of every page on the blog. Only people who might miss it are those who get my e-mail missives as those don’t have the sidebar.

  11. Ron on April 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Oh what fun. I would love it and I am a 65 year old kid. How’s the weather in WI? We are from MN but still in TX for a few more weeks. Did you ever disclose where in Yellowstone you were working?We spent 3+ weeks there a few years ago. You should maybe post a few more links to your book??

    • Becky on April 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

      There were people of that age and older playing around Ron, it was pretty great. 🙂 And a whole lot of parents trying to follow and keep track of their children, hehe.

      Snowed the night I arrived at my parent’s house, but now highs are in the 60’s lows in the 40’s which is real good for spring here. I hope the weather is goo when you get back up to MN.

      Yes I did, it’s several posts back now though. I’ll be working for the Yellowstone Association, primarily at the library/shop located at Old Faithful.