St. Louis is in some ways a city in decline. Its population is down to about 350,000, from a peak a half million greater than that in the mid-20th century. It is in other ways a city that’s thriving, with a metropolitan area population of close to 3 million.
In terms of tourist attractions, one would have to say it’s in very good shape. Everyone is familiar with its famed Gateway Arch, but there’s far more to see when you come to St. Louis:
American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog
Dog lovers who visit St. Louis won’t want to miss this 14,000 square foot museum devoted to depictions of man’s best friend in art. The facility itself is historic, containing the 1853 Jarville house. Inside are over 500 paintings, drawings, prints, watercolors, bronze sculptures, porcelain sculptures, and a variety of other dog art objects.
The Museum is open year round, Tuesday through Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, and Sunday 1 PM to 5 PM. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, and $1 for children up to 14.
Anheuser Busch Brewery
The Anheuser Busch Brewery tour is not just for beer lovers, though obviously it will hold special appeal for them.
The tour includes the historic Brew House, with its wrought-iron railings, hop vine chandeliers, copper kettles, wall murals, and a multimedia presentation explaining the brewing process. Then the tour continues to the modern Bevo Packaging Plant, with its high speed bottling and canning lines.
The highlight for many visitors will be the Budweiser Clydesdale stables, home to one of their three Clydesdale teams. The century old stables include stain glass windows, a giant brass chandelier, an eight horse hitch, and a four ton beer wagon.
Anheuser Busch tours are always free.
City Museum is one of those quirky museums for quirky people that you have to see to appreciate. But just to give a flavor of what to expect, consider a museum that includes such attractions as: A shoe factory’s spiral conveyor tunnel system turned into the Enchanted Caves; two aircraft fuselages, a castle turret, a fire engine, and various other eclectic items shaped into a monstrosity of modern art; an aquarium with more than 10,000 aquatic inhabitants; Toddler Town, full of tunnels and bouncy delights; working painters, potters, and sculptors demonstrating their work; and the Museum of Mirth, Mystery, and Mayhem and its recreation of circus midway attractions.
That’s well under half of the exhibits. City Museum is a fascinating place to explore.
Admission is $12 for the Museum without the aquarium, and $18 including the aquarium.
Not to mention there’s a school bus to climb in on the roof, that seems to teeter precariously over the city below.
The Gateway Arch is the tallest, and certainly one of the most recognizable, National Monuments in the country. Standing 630 feet tall, it is made of 900 tons of stainless steel, shaped into a catenary arch, which is the most structurally sound arch shape.
Visitors may ride a tram to the top of the Arch (four minutes up, three minutes down), where there is an observation platform providing a spectacular view of the city below and the Mississippi River. About one million people ride to the top of the Arch each year.
At the base of the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion. At the Arch and Museum you can see exhibits on the history of riverboats, the construction of the Arch, the expedition of Lewis and Clark, and more.
The “Grant” in Grant’s Farm refers to Union General and United States President Ulysses S. Grant, who once lived and worked at this farm. The cabin that he built in 1856 (the only structure hand built by an American President) survives on the farm. Later the land was bought by the Busch family (of Anheuser-Busch), which still owns it.
In addition to the historic buildings from the 19th century, the farm today’s most notable attraction for tourists is its collection of exotic animals. An open-air Eisenbahn coach takes visitors on a tour of the property, past more than 100 species of antelope, bison, elk, llamas, ostriches, zebras, and more.
The farm also functions as a breeding operation for the famous Clydesdale horses.
Admission is free.
Missouri Botanical Garden
Visitors to the Missouri Botanical Garden can admire a Chinese garden, a Japanese garden, a formal English garden, a trial garden for testing and evaluating flowers, landscaping, water lily reflection ponds, greenhouses, and the imposing Climatron Complex.
The Climatron, designated one of the top 100 significant architectural achievements in U.S. history, is a rainforest conservatory and geodesic dome that follows the architectural principles of R. Buckminster Fuller.
The Missouri Botanical Garden, known to locals as Shaw’s Garden is open year round from 9 AM to 5 PM. Admission is $4 for St. Louis residents, $8 for out of town visitors, free for ages 12 and under.
St. Louis Zoo
Not only does St. Louis boast one of the world’s most famous zoos, but what shocks out of town visitors as much as anything is the fact that admission is free (though there may be a charge for certain special exhibits).
The St. Louis Zoo is home to over 9,000 animals of over 800 species, including antelopes, cheetahs, gorillas, hyenas, polar bears, and zebras. The main exhibits include a bird house, the Emerson Electric Children’s Zoo, the Living World Educational Center, the Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel, the Monsanto Insectarium, Penguin & Puffin Coast, River’s Edge, and a sea lion show.
The Zoo is open every day but Christmas and New Year, with summer hours of 8 AM to 7 PM, otherwise 9 AM to 5 PM.
“Experience the Attractions of St. Louis.” St. Louis Attractions.
“St. Louis.” VisitMO.
“Saint Louis Attractions and Saint Louis Sightseeing.” St. Louis Tourist Attractions.