Sunday, May 30, 2010

Meramac Caverns

The Jesse James Gang reportedly escaped into the cave system after a train robbery. They left the chest on "Loot Hill" empty of course with their shackles, shovel and other artifacts.

There is an underground river that flows through the cavern, creating some 6,000 plus caves in the Meramac Hills. The sign points to Loot Hill.

Cave Bacon, Soda Straws, Stalagmites, and Stalagmites.

Madelyn was more interested in the Bat hanging above us than smiling the picture.

Reflection Pool

The Wine Table is the rarest and largest cave formation in the world.

The constant cool 58 degrees and the show curtain back drop made for a beautiful light and music show at the end of the tour.

We visited Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri on adventure back home. It is advertised as the Jesse James hide out after a train robbery and the roadside signs made it look pretty appealing. And really I was trying to break up the driving of a very long drive back home. We drove through some very interesting, back woods towns and finally made to a riverside campground and the entrance to the cave. Since we there during the tourist off season, not everything was open ( I wanted to pan for gold and do the zipline), but it was still had fun and were able to stretch our legs; and now Madelyn can add spelunking to her bucket list.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Catherdral Basilica of St. Louis and the Zoo

Did you know that the St. Louis Zoo is Free all the time. Its apart of their city charter that zoo will always be free so to better educate their citizens. The zoo was great not just because it was free, but had lots of close up exhibits and a fun train that took you through the exhibits and all around the zoo.

Madelyn's favorite animal--Baby Jaguar!!! that was the only animal we HAD to see at the zoo.

Who knew that Rhinoceros's had fuzzy ears

Our afternoon adventure took us to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

The interior of the Cathedral was beautiful..words can not fully describe how ornate it was. Started in 1907 the building is a mix of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, with all the mosaic art work hand designed and laid the next 30 years. I would highly recommend a visit to the sanctuary itself and the crypts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jefferson Barracks

Madelyn resting on one the cannons that used to defend the Barracks along the Mississippi River.

Our afternoon adventure to Jefferson Barracks was humbling. The Barracks opened in 1826, at one point was the oldest and first permanent military post west of the Mississippi River and serves as a final resting place for soldiers going farther back than the Spanish American War up to present day soldiers. During the Civil War through WWII it was a training camp, hospital, and departure point for soldiers being sent off to war. We drove around the grounds for a few hours and in every direction we saw row after row of white headstones that marked our nation's hero's--known and unknown who have sacrificed their life so that my family and I can fully experience freedom and protection-something I think we all take for granted.

Jefferson Barracks is the second largest National Cemetery.

Spanish American War Unknown Solider

Civil War Unknown Solider

The city of St. Louis runs a quaint little museum lead by volunteer docents. Our docent was Bill a WWII veteran who found a willing history nerd (me)to listen and he took full advantage of me and walked me through EVERY exhibit. He especially enjoyed Madelyn who asked him a lot of questions and that just made his day. I learned much that afternoon, more than what history books record. It was getting to hear personal stories and connections to the exhibits that made the lesson memorable. I know I am often guilty of saying, "I already learn that" and tune out what is being said. But to see Bill's face light up as he was talking was priceless. He made a comment as we were leaving that not many young people come here and ask questions, or bring their children in here to learn. He thanked us for making him feel useful. Humbling lesson number two!

At the end of the tour he left Madelyn try on some different outfits--one of them was actual WWI jacket and I am pretty sure that the jacket and helmet weighed more than Maddy but she loved dressing up.

Civil War Medical Kit. I am thankful for the many medical advances we have made since then.

To top off the evening we enjoyed a American Classic Route 66 treat at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard--Yummy!!!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

St. Louis Arch

Posing in front of the arch along the Mississippi river park--it was so cold along the river!

We got to the Arch a little after nine and we didn't get a ticket time 12:40. So pass the time we saw an IMAX movie about Louis and Clark, visited an 1800's mercantile store for a snack and then the museum of the visitor center. All this was underground beneath the arch.

In the Frontier Museum waiting for our ticket time.

This the replica of the pod we rode in to the top of the arch. There were six people in our pod. It was more than a tight and hot squeeze and it took 4 1/2 minutes to ride to the top. We got to know our fellow passenger very closely. No wonder there were so many claustrophobia signs posted. This is not for the faint of heart.

We rode in pod five.

These were the hatch doors top the pods that took you up the observatory.

Maddie on top of the world--it was really hot up there!

Standing on the keystone of the arch at 63o feet.

Looking out to the Illinois side of the Mississippi River

Capital Building and down town St. Louis

This tiny and narrow staircase is what takes you to your pod to go back down.

Standing underneath the arch looking up