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Here are some shots from St. Louis, which is a pretty cool town. They have done great things with their downtown area, including revamping some old buildings and factories to be condos and places for kids to play.

This is a shot of the St. Louis arch taken from the river. It is made entirely of 1/4" thick stainless steel (partially filled with concrete) and stands over 600 feet tall at the center. If you go through the visitor's center at the base, you can view a movie about how they constructed it.

Pretty spectacular considering it was built before the age of the fast computers we now have.

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

Here are some amazing facts about the arch:

  • About 6,400 people visit the top each day.
  • You get to the top by traveling in a little tram that runs inside of the legs of the arch.
  • There are 1,076 steps in each leg of the arch, but you can't walk up (just there for emergencies).
  • Total cost for building the arch was $13 million and it was completed in 1965.
  • Weight: Total steel weight -- 5,199 tons. Total Concrete weight -- 38,107 tons.
  • Maximum Height: 630'
For other fun facts, you can visit gatewayarch.com and also the Arch History Site.

City Museum

Miniature Trains

Next, on to the City Museum in downtown St. Louis. This is an incredible place. It is an old, multi-story shoe factory that they have converted into a play place for kids. Everything from the huge, winding obstacle course outside to the decorations on the floors and walls inside is made from recycled materials.

It is hard to categorize as to the genre, but safe to say it is a shutterbug's dream come true. All is done with an artful flair. They have everything from an aquarium to a multi-story circular slide to a small miniature museum. Cool patterns on the walls and floors, too.

There is a fairly large area dedicated to these model trains. Blue-collar looking factories and towns are all around. Bit of a by-gone era, it seems.

Wall Pattern

Wall Pattern

This was a cool pattern of gears on the wall. There were thousands of them! Wow. I wonder what they used to be a part of?

Here are a few more shots of the City Museum in St. Louis:

Town Miniature

Town Miniature

There were several cases full of these town miniatures. Looks like they date from the 1950's. Notice the parade going down Main street.

Doll Heads

Doll Heads

These antique doll heads were in a back room, housed in an old mirrored display case. Looks like most of them are porcelain and hand painted.

Afternoon flowers

Afternoon flowers

Caught the afternoon light peeking in on these beautiful silk flowers. This was in the aquarium room near where the snapping turtles are kept.

Pattern in Iron

Pattern in Iron

This photo is of some large iron panels that were welded together to form a wall of sorts. It was digitally enhanced with Paint Shop Pro. I applied the "Colored Pencil" filter to it.

Head in Red

Head in Red

This head is huge and guards the way into some rooms with 50's memorabilia. The photo is not digitally altered at all. It is red because of the lighting in the room (very bright red). Gives a surreal look to the head, doesn't it?

St. Louis Zoo

Now we're on to the St. Louis Zoo. It's a really nice zoo -- clean and well kept. Amazingly enough, it was free admission. What a great resource to the community this zoo is.

Stately Monkey

Stately Monkey

This fellow is quite stately looking. Not sure if I would look so dignified in a cage.

Penguin

Penguin

The penguin exhibit was one of the best I have ever seen. Visitors walk within a few feet of the penguins, and they are not caged so you could actually reach out and touch them (if you were brave -- but they do bite). The temp in that room was quite chilly for humans (45 deg. F). The penguins seemed to enjoy the cool temps, however.

Elephant

Elephant smile

The elephants had a huge, winding enclosure. Not like a cage, really. They seemed to enjoy lounging around, flinging dust in the air, and the like. This one looks almost to be smiling.

Conclusion

All in all, St. Louis is definitely worth a visit. There is plenty for kids and adults alike to do and some significant sites (the zoo and the Science Center, for instance) have free admission to all. Take time to visit, bring your camera along, and you will come away with some great memories of your own.

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