5 young adults, hip hop beats, chair dancing, snacks, cooler full of drinks (not all alcoholic of course LOL), full tank of gas, and a map (this was before GPS on our phones!)…all elements that made the perfect and best road trip ever from St. Louis to Kansas City. What a lovely time my friends and I had!
I love to take short road trips (traveling solo or with friends), and with snacks in tow (usually fried chicken, water, chips and whatever else we can easily package up), we make it a pretty fun party on the go.
So this past weekend as I was thinking about where I could go next, I thought wouldn’t it be fun to take a road trip right in my own backyard? My girl Sharon agreed!
I’ve lived in the St. Louis metro area all my life so you’d think I know more about this place but that’s soooo not true. While I was looking up places to see in St. Louis, I found this nice little website that identifies offbeat tourist attractions in cities around the nation.
What I found was simply amazing! So I picked up my Boo Boos (niece and nephew), grabbed some snacks, and off we went – to take a road trip around St. Louis and see what wonderful items the city had it store for us.
I invite you to virtually take in the sites with us by way of the pics we’ve taken and learn a bit of history about a few of them. Here we go!
The Awakening – Buried Giant (Twin)
The Awakening is a 70-foot statue of a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself, and was first created and installed in the DC area. Well, this statue in St. Louis is his twin. It consists of five separate aluminum pieces buried in the ground, giving the impression of a distressed giant attempting to free himself from the ground. (Wikipedia)
He looked a bit angry at having been awakened so off we went to the next attraction to let him get up in peace!
Located downtown St. Louis and touted as an urban oasis, City Garden is a 3 acre park featuring many artworks, a man-made waterfall, reflecting pool, and spray plaza. It includes a huge bandaged hollow head, known as ”Eros Bendato,” Pinocchio himself, and a huge big screen, perfect for movies in the park!
Luckily, ol’ boy with the hollow head didn’t have a runny nose or my finger would have been wet – EW GROSS!
The Delmar Loop
The Delmar Loop is a vibrant six-block entertainment, restaurant, and shopping district, and though I’ve been to the Loop many times, I did have a few firsts.
I hadn’t noticed that Nelly now has a star (rightfully so) in the St. Louis Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame includes famous people from St.Louis like Red Foxx, John Goodman, Chuck Berry and many more. You’ll also find The Rockettes (who started as the Missouri Rockets) and Masters and Johnson, the sex researchers.
The Loop also features a Chuck Berry statue frozen in an eternal semi-duckwalk playing his electric-acoustic guitar. It’s fitting that it stands across the street from the Blueberry Hill nightclub, a nationally renowned restaurant and music club which features a mini-museum of Chuck Berry memorabilia.
Miscellaneous St. Louis Attractions, Part 1
World’s Largest Amoco Sign
Atop the roof of a gas station, a BP gas station at that, is the world’s largest Amoco sign. Ok, yes, the station used to be Amoco but when it became BP, I thought they’d change it or at least take it down. Nope, it’s still there, perched on top as if it’s King!
Big Unloved Urban Indian
Sitting on a corner in South St. Louis is a big Indian, standing thirteen feet tall on an eight-foot base and built in the 1980s. Lots of people in the neighborhood — and even the sculptor who made it — think it’s awful. It was sculpted by a local artist named Bill Christman, at the request of a neighborhood business association. When the Suburban Journals, a local paper, asked Christman about the statue, he replied, “To my everlasting mortification I was the sculptor of that.” (RoadsideAmerica.com) LOL
Miscellaneous St. Louis Attractions, Part 2
Seven feet tall, this big blue fiberglass eyeball was installed in 2007. Takes the phrase “Here’s looking at you kid” to a whole ‘notha level!
FM6 Walking Jackmen was unveiled in 1985 in front of a 5-story office building, years before liquid metal creatures became digital effects icons in films such as The Abyss and Terminator 2. Although it looks as if the half dozen chromium humanoids are being spawned by the central cube, it was originally meant for them to represent bureaucratic, faceless “everymen” bestriding a soulless universe. The movies came along later and skewed everyman’s interpretation of the work. (RoadsideAmerica.com)
Large Butterfly and Caterpillar
I’ve been to the Missouri Botanical Garden Butterfly House before too but didn’t take notice of the large butterfly and caterpillar outside. Maybe I need to be practice being more vigilant!!
Three Stacked Chairs
Though it would be a huge task to try to sit on these chairs, I wonder what the artist, Mel Meyer, was thinking when he thought to erect some chairs haphazardly stacked in a median. Art…go figure!
It never fails…somebody always falls asleep on a road trip. Caught a pic of the sleeping beauty halfway through the trip!
Miscellaneous St. Louis Attractions, Part 3
Big Shoe Made of Shoes
It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no, it’s an elegant ladies’ high heel, ten feet tall, made of a multitude of high heeled shoes in front of the Brown Shoe building. I haven’t seen anyone wear anything like this before! Have you?
World’s Largest Chess Piece
Almost 15 ft. tall, a king chess piece stands in front of the Hall of Fame, which honors players from Bobby Fischer to Ben Franklin.
The Chess Club boasts that its colossal chess piece is too tall to fit under most St. Louis overpasses and would require a chess board so immense that it could hold nine school buses or 392 bath tubs. (RoadsideAmerica.com)
World’s Largest Catsup Bottle
Built in 1949 in this former catsup company town of Collinvsville, IL, the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2009. Nearly 70 feet tall, atop a 100-foot steel base, it could hold up to 640,000 bottles of regular catsup (or 100,000 gallons of water).
Spooky note: The bottle has cast its benevolent shadow over the town like some pagan idol. Legend has it that it can cause red hair in the unborn, as pregnant women passing too close to it have discovered. (RoadsideAmerica.com)
St. Louis Union Station
Nijinski Hare: Kung Fu Rabbit
A large bronze “Nijinski Hare” stands in front of the Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues, and depicts a rabbit in mid-martial arts stance. My niece says it looks like a crackhead with thick thighs. (ROTFL!!) Seriously, it looks deformed!
St. Louis Union Station
First opened in 1894, it was once the world’s largest and busiest passenger train station. It was converted in the early 1980s into a hotel, shopping center, and entertainment complex (though honestly, there’s nothing much in there anymore and I hope the city revitalizes it). Outside the station is a fountain sculpture called “Meeting Waters” where a lot of wedding and reception photos are taken.
A great gathering place in downtown St. Louis, Kiener Plaza provides one of the best views in town of the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch. In the center of the plaza is a pool and fountain, which contains a statue known as “The Runner”. It’s also neat when the fountain is dyed red or blue to signify the sports team, Cardinals!
Interesting Fact: In the 1800s, Kiener Plaza was home to a jail that used to hold prisoners awaiting trial at the Old Courthouse, including slaves who sued for their freedom.
There were also Ninjas, yes Ninjas, in the plaza doing all types of jumps, tricks, and other sorts of badassery stuff! It was cool to see. I would have showed them my skills but didn’t want to embarrass anyone (namely me!). LOL
Saturday, 10/27, was also Make a Difference Day and there was a volunteer group doing some cleanup in the area. God knows it needs it!
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
The last time I remember being at the Cahokia mounds was when I was in elementary school on a field trip.
Once a thriving ancient metropolis, it preserves the remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico.
The site is named for the Cahokia subtribe of the Illiniwek (or Illinois tribe, a loose confederacy of related peoples), who moved into the area in the 1600s. They were living nearby when the French arrived about 1699. Sometime in the mid-1800s, local historians suggested the site be called “Cahokia” to honor these later arrivals. The fate of the prehistoric Cahokians and their city is unknown, but the decline seems to have been gradual, beginning around the 1200s. By A.D. 1400 the site had been abandoned. Exactly where the people went or what tribes they became is yet to be determined. (CahokiaMounds.org)
East St. Louis Mall – Honorable Mention
Just for grins and giggles, I thought I’d put East St. Louis, IL (just across the river from St. Louis) on the map by adding the infamous flea market or what I like to call the East. St. Louis Mall. LOL
Whatever you need, I’m sure you can find it here!
Over to you…
The Boo Boos loved our little outing and I’m glad I decided to tour my own backyard. So now I turn it over to you…
Where was your favorite road trip destination? How did you prepare for it? What are your best road trip tips? Weigh in family!