Day 3…still in St Louis and still having fun!
Meramac Caverns is about 45-50 minutes West of St Louis and well worth the drive, in my opinion. You do have to drive right past Six Flags to get there, but just tell your kids that something more awesome awaits. The Caverns are truly awesome. The caves are a comfortable 60 degrees year round. We learned that caves are always the average temperature for the area, so there you go…the average temperature of Stanton, Missouri is 60 degrees. We also learned that in the 1930′s the locals had Summer square dances in the caverns. A good way to beat the heat.
Touring the caves is easy, all the walkways are paved and have lighting. The formations are really beautiful and some of them are HUGE! We saw one that is estimated at 33 million years old. Another was 75 feet tall. Truly a natural wonder. BAGD and I are trying to make sure we include these things in our vacations and show the kids that vacations don’t just mean roller coasters and swimming pools. I think the kids all had fun, Geetle especially.
The Caverns are right on the Meramac River and they offer canoeing, camping and boat rides in the area. I don’t know about the whole River, but right outside the Cavern’s parking lot the River is shallow and slow-moving. We hadn’t planned on exploring the River, but the girls never turn down a chance to splash around. Pookie even waded in. Given his response at the downtown fountains on Day 1, it surprised us! The shore and river bottom were terribly rocky, but they didn’t seem to mind.
Earlier in the trip Pookie had asked to stop at Cracker Barrel, although we had not yet seen any along the highway. The boy makes very few real requests, so when he does make one, we try to comply. He didn’t elaborate or provide any details, and we assumed that he just wanted pancakes. So, we stopped at a local Cracker Barrel for lunch. As we walked up to the front door, we heard Pookie blurt out “Gonna go to Cracker Barrel and get a red accordion!” BAGD and I looked at each other…excuse me? It appeared that we had been snookered.
Never accuse that boy of forgetting a single thing that matters to him (that is the key). As BAGD and pieced this together, we determined that the last time we had been to a Cracker Barrel was the day we bought Flexy. I don’t remember seeing/discussing accordions that day, but apparently Pookie does. BAGD and I smiled and had flashbacks to a similar experience at a Cracker Barrel in Northern Indiana a few years ago. So, long story short. Pookie now owns an accordion. He played it for us in the car.
Once we made it back to St Louis, we met up with Papaw, Uncle Ray, Grandma Bluegrass, Grandpa Bluegrass and Ray’s kids for a trip to the City Museum. Sounds like a nice place, huh? Probably some sort of children’s museum with a model railroad and a dress up area right?
The City Museum is….well…its hard to describe. Its basically a huge building full of tunnels, ramps, obstacles and other things you can climb through and in. Don’t be thinking its like the PlayLand at McDonlads. No. Think more like Prison Break and you need to crawl out through the ventilation tunnels to escape. Its truly a one of a kind place. We climbed thru wire tunnels that were 25 feet above the ground. We slid down a 10 story (yes, 10 stories, not 10 feet) corkscrew slide. We crawled under the floor and behind the walls. Its not one of those places where you can let your kids run wild. If you send them in a tunnel, they literally might come out on a different floor or 200 feet away on the other side of a giant aquarium. So, BAGD, Papaw, Ray and I did it all with them…and we survived!
If you have the time, read a little bit about the museum, the man who founded it, and the lawsuits that you might expect. Knowing what you do about me, you might wonder how I *mentally* survived our visit. I have the double whammy. Not only am I a nervous Mother, I am a 15 year veteran of the Insurance industry. Places like this are not for me. But I also know that a life of fearful sedentary nervousness is not healthy either. So, we climbed and slid and explored our way through this musuem. BAGD went first in each new tunnel and I brought up the rear. We kept our little ducks safe, whether they knew we were doing it or not. Sure, they could have tripped or bumped their heads, but that could happen on the backyard swing set too. They all 3 had a great time and I know they want to go back.
We stayed at the City Museum until almost 11pm. We had to stop at McDonalds and get the kids Happy Meals on the way back to the hotel, they were so hungry. They were so keyed up that I took this picture of Giggles, telling her that this was the latest she had ever stayed up…she liked that!
Stay tuned for Day 4!