But now, on to St. Louis! We caught a morning flight out of Tampa on May 24, direct to St. Louis. Ellie had a great time running around the airport before we left, but was pretty fidgety on the plane. She consumed LOTS of Cheese Nips and graham crackers to pass the time.
Left to right: Ellie watching the planes coming and going; playing peek-a-boo at our gate; resting with Mama on the plane (a rare moment of calm)
When we arrived in St. Louis we gathered our bags (first off the luggage belt! Score!) then grabbed the shuttle to the car rental place (arrived right when we got there! Score!). We had a pretty negative interaction with the Hertz associate who dealt with us, but we ended up with a 2012 Chevy Impala to call our own for the week. We loaded that bad boy up and then made our way to our hotel, with a brief stop at Target for some essentials and McDonald's for some lunch on the way.
We reserved suite hotel rooms whenever we could on this trip, in the hopes that having her own quiet space would help Ellie sleep better. Plus, we didn't want to have to sit in the dark from 8:00 p.m. till morning after Ellie was in bed, you know? In St. Louis, we stayed at a Residence Inn that was very nice, complete with a nearly full kitchen that we used to prep some food for Ellie for the week.
A look at our St. Louis suite
Our hotel was just outside of downtown, so not walkable, but it was a very easy drive and to our surprise, the streets of St. Louis were pretty deserted. We wondered if it was due to Memorial Day weekend, but regardless of the cause, driving around town was very easy.
On our first night, we decided to take advantage of Ellie's continued good mood and head strait to the City Museum, which I had heard was a must-do. And it did not disappoint! A good majority of it is like a giant playground, with all kinds of coils and tunnels and slides (including a 10-story slide!) and various things to climb up, down, in and around. The caves portion was particularly cool, although I think if I were a parent of a climbing-capable child, I would be scared of losing them in there! There are no maps; you are just left on your own to explore. We were pretty limited on the exploring we could do with Ellie in tow but it was still really cool.
The three of us on the main staircase. See all those coils and such above us? You can climb in those!
Way to go, Eric!
In the caves
Fun for everyone in the caves!
The outdoor playground
There were also some funny exhibits, including huge underpants and the world's largest pencil.
Left: World's largest underpants!; right: Ellie and me playing an old piano
We spent a little time in the kids' area, which is a watered-down version of the rest of the climbing stuff.
Ellie (and Eric) in Toddler Town!
My favorite part, however, was the rooftop, which included a school bus hanging off the side of the building, a giant spire you could climb up in, and other tall structures that gave you a view as far as the eye could see.
The school bus on the roof, with Eric standing in the doorway!
Driving that dangling school bus!
Left: Eric all the way at the top of the spire!; Right: Eric's view of Ellie and me below!
Left: Ellie and me on our way to another top platform (with the spire Eric just climbed behind us); Right: a huge praying mantis on the rooftop
Ferris Wheel on the roof
Up top, just below the praying mantis!
Very nervously making my way back down
Coming up tomorrow: Sightseeing in Downtown St. Louis, including a trip to the top of the Gateway Arch!
For more pictures from the St. Louis City Museum, check out my Shutterfly photo share site here.