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Tips for Visiting the City Museum in St. Louis

Once a shoe factory, this 600,000 square foot space in the heart of St. Louis is an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion and architectural marvel made from some of the coolest found and fabricated items. It’s like nothing else you’ve experienced. It’s not for everyone, though. If you’re a bit on the anxious side and don’t like tight spaces, it might be best that you sit this adventure out. Or spend time in the café or funky gift shops. And honestly, it would be difficult to picture helicopter parents enjoying this place.

 

Defensive Parenting (Stay Focused, Be Prepared)

If you attend with young or adventurous kids, put your cell phone on their wristband. There are so many tunnels and places to explore that it’s easy to lose sight of your kids. We even connected with other parents at the museum and they joked about not seeing their (older) kids for hours.

When we’ve visited, we over-communicated who was watching which kid. They do have a 6 and under only area on the second floor call “Toddler Town Castle” – and it feels much more manageable for young ones. We traveled with two young kids (3 and 5 year old) and they loved it.

Dress for the Tunnels

While it’s not required, I’d consider wearing close-toed shoes and activity-ready clothes. (I regrettably attended in a skirt and sandals.)

Give the Museum Ample Time 

We were there for several hours and missed so much! (Bonus for us – it’s given us an excuse to return with friends!)

Plan a Kid-Free Visit 

Consider visiting without your kids. They serve adult beverages and they’re open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. This place is so one-of-a-kind and brings out the kid in everyone. Look around and just see how many smiles you’ll see–on attendees of all ages.

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It’s Like Nothing Else

Until you see it, you won’t believe how unique it is. It’s one of the most interesting encounters I’ve ever experienced. It’s almost as though you’re living out one of your most surreal dreams. If you’re a bit on the anxious side or have young kids, spend some time on the City Museum site looking at the drone footage before you go. We had to know everything we could about the museum’s history and immediately queued up a great little podcast after leaving the Museum to learn more. Here’s a good one.


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).

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