We were delighted to get a sneak preview of the soon-to-open St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station\u2014opening by the end of 2019. It\u2019s a wonderful addition to \u2018one-tank\u2019 drive family destinations. If you\u2019ve traveled to Union Station in past decades, be prepared for big changes. What was once a shopping mall is now undergoing a $187 million-dollar face lift. The soon-to-open 120,000-square-foot, two-story aquarium is just one of the many worth-visit attractions in St. Louis. Here are the top 8 reasons why you should consider planning a visit! 1) Hands-On Experiences While this aquarium isn\u2019t the largest in the world\u2014with its 1 million gallons of water and more than 13,000 aquatic animals\u2014it\u2019s planning to staff 100 aquarium employees. That\u2019s three times the amount of many other aquariums. Expect 3D virtual reality interactives, hands-wet touch tanks, playful otters, (not so playful) piranhas, 60 sharks and even a rare blue lobster. Education will be a major part of this experience. 2) Convenience Considering the new aquarium is within the St. Louis Union Station, it\u2019s very convenient for families. The parking lot is one of the largest we\u2019ve seen in the city. And if you get your fill of the aquarium scene, you\u2019ll have many, many other places to visit without needing to move your car! And bonus that so many of the attractions are under shelter \u2013 you don\u2019t have to deal with iffy weather. 3) Excitement Beyond the Aquarium The aquarium is a key piece of the $187-million family entertainment complex planned for Union Station, but it\u2019s not the only thing to experience. The developers are opening additional attractions conveniently located in the complex, including an ADA-compliant, 200 ft tall observation wheel with over a million LED lights and 42 6-person fully-enclosed gondolas on The St. Louis Wheel, 18 hole mini golf, a classic Carousel, mirror maze, ropes course, two-acre river park with splash and play areas, and more. 4) Rooms with a View\u00a0 The hotel is building out a handful of rooms (approximately 30) that will overlook the aquarium. There\u2019s no other aquarium in the US that offers this. Even if you don\u2019t get a chance to snag one with the sought-after aquarium view, know most views are wonderful in the 600-room hotel. Our kids were obsessed with playing in our room\u2019s spacious windowsill overlooking the pool.) 5) Culinary Focus Since the departure of Hard Rock Caf\u00e9 and Houlihan\u2019s, the developers are prioritizing quality food \u2013 for tourists and locals alike. While the spots weren\u2019t open on our visit, we were excited to hear about craft taps (25+), mixologists, phosphate sodas, and boozy craft milkshakes sourced with ice cream from local favorites, Clementine\u2019s Creamery and Ices Plain & Fancy. Three new restaurants are in the works: The St. Louis Union Station Soda Fountain, The Train Shed, and The 1894 Caf\u00e9. There are also rumors that the beloved Fudgery Fudge might have a presence, as well. 6) Good for All (Multi-Generation, Special Needs) If you haven\u2019t been, you need to check out the Union Station Hotel. (Even before the aquarium opens.) The hotel\u2019s historic crown jewel is Grand Hall \u2013 with its 65-foot sweeping barrel vaulted ceiling\u00a0 \u2013 provides 3D animated light shows across the roof every hour. Guests can also enjoy sitting on the Adirondacks around the lake to feed the massive Koi fish and see a fire and light show set to music. The hotel is also working with Culture City partners and an accessibility committee to make sure they think through details of every guest (sensory sensitivities, vision, hearing, nursing, dietary, wheelchair accessibility, etc). Quiet rooms, nursing rooms, and calming rooms are being discussed. 7) We Heart St. Louis Many Hoosier Mamas we know always go to defaults like Cincinnati, Chicago, and Louisville. (Yes, still go to these places\u2013obviously!) But if you haven\u2019t experienced St. Louis, know there is SO much to explore in the downtown area. Forest Park and its 1,300+ acres, City Museum and the Gateway Arch grounds. By the way, don\u2019t say Hoosier in St. Louis. (Trust us here) Check out our recent blog on family-friendly travel to St. Louis. Travel ideas and City Museum. 8) The Perfect Old-Meets-New Combo The hotel and aquarium are in a National Historic Landmark. (Read\u2013you\u2019re not sacrificing your time and money in a cookie-cutter venue!) The 19th century iron umbrella train shed above your head is a constant reminder of the historic locale. (And it provides wonderful diffused natural light.) The St. Louis Union Station is old school and beautifully modern all at once! The hotel does such a nice job at celebrating the past, present and future throughout your experience. Author Trisha Brand and her husband Adam are always looking for new ways to spend time with their young kids (Veda and Sully). Before joining Indy's Child in 2018, Trisha logged time at various magazines (Indianapolis Monthly, Food & WIne, Bon Appetit, and SELF to name a few).