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City Museum: More Than A Museum

An Inside Look at One of the Country's Best Playgrounds

Looking for a unique St. Louis family experience? Head to the City Museum, where zooming down a 10-story slide and creeping through a cave system are just a few of the activities this attraction has to offer. Built from recycled materials such as torn-down-buildings, Twinkie pans, old airplanes and more, the City Museum is a continuous work of art in its own right.

Located on Washington Avenue, the bar district of St. Louis, the City Museum is internationally known. While there is a contemporary art museum on the fourth floor, this is not an ordinary museum. In fact, the entire attraction has been designed to keep people active and moving. (Knee pads are for sale in the museum shop and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear sneakers!) “We are always on the top lists of playgrounds,” says Executive Director, Rick Erwin.

Open since October 1997, the City Museum is a constant work-in-progress. “We are always in the process of building. There is no stopping the build,” says Erwin, “Visitors saw a castle being built over the course of three years, now they can go in it.”

The excitement starts before you even enter. For starters, there is a school bus hanging over the edge of the building and there’s a Ferris wheel on the roof. One of the most popular features of the City Museum is MonstroCity, an enormous outdoor playground that lives up to its name.  Highlights of this structure include old airplanes suspended in the air and even a fire engine that you can climb through.

One of the best aspects of this museum is how it caters to all ages – it’s not your standard children’s museum. “It’s for all ages. There is a Toddler Town for 6 and under. The entire place is really a dream for kids 7 to 13,” says Erwin, “but usually Friday after 5, it’s high school and college kids, then later in the evening we see the adults.” There are two bars open, year-round, with a rooftop bar open seasonally – perfect for quenching your thirst after a day of climbing. The museum has restaurants with many different options from sandwiches, pizzas, and barbecue to chicken and waffles.

From mid-March to Labor Day, the City Museum is open seven days a week. During the winter months, the museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays for building purposes. Plan on spending a few hours at the City Museum and wear appropriate clothes for climbing and staying active.

Why should you go? Erwin explains, “It’s so different. There’s nothing like it. You don’t know it until you get here and the chaos is all around you. You are part of the museum.”

- By Ettractions Digital Content Editor PAULA MARINO

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