What is America’s Best Museum for Play?

If Willy Wonka and Dr. Seuss could’ve designed a modern day wonderland, it would look a lot like City Museum in St. Louis. Never before have I climbed through so many hidden passageways, discovered so many works of art (also climbable), and laughed down so many speedy slides. My admonition to the inner kid in you: plan a trip to City Museum today.

That crack in the ground that looks like it’s under construction? It’s actually a planned passageway to an underground slide. Those caves that twist through darkness and crystals? They lead to the base of a 10-story slide. That giant pencil? It’s… actually a giant pencil (world’s largest, too).

Advice: wear athletic shoes and comfy pants for climbing (consider bringing knee pads, or you can rent them from C.M.), put your cell number on your kids’ wristbands, and prepare for adventure. If you don’t climb with your kids (which is the most fun, anyway, hearing all their giddy shouts and sounding their barbaric YAWPS!), you will lose them in the myriad passageways. The only uncomfortable climb? Outside suspended in a wire crawl space underneath a walkway 40 feet off the ground. Everything else? Thrilling and euphoric.

Oh, the tunnels and rainbow slides you’ll go on! We got there right at 9am, and crowds arrived around 10:30. Try hitting the slides first, since that’s where lines mostly form. But you can’t go wrong following your curiosity. If you’re looking for the massive indoor slide (that used to be a factory chute for shoes) find the giant whale on the first floor, then go past it down into the cave land, and keep going till you spot the rainbow lit crystal sculpture.

(Looking up at the 10-story slide.)

Young kids?  The City Express train ride was a blast for our almost 3-year-olds and even our 5+6 year olds.  They also have arts, crafts and painting for your young artists.  We explored until about 1:30pm (due to much needed kids naps) and one thing’s for certain: we will be going back. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow… but definitely the day after tomorrow (provided the world is not iced-over and airfare from Oregon is magically cheap).

Every city needs one of these imagination-filled play-scapes. If you have other tips on City Museum, or know of other captivating playlands, please post below. Then grab a friend and get your golden ticket to City Museum. 

Happy Exploring!