• randallspencer76

Trip through the Gateway

That's right my first city that I will give you my experience at is St. Louis.

Recently my sister-in law and I took our kids to St. Louis on a weekend get away. It was Halloween weekend and boy were the kids excited for this surprise. We used my husbands truck and drove there which means there was plenty of room for what we packed. As in previous posts I mentioned we took our own snacks/breakfast foods. We also used 5 gal rubber maid totes in case the weather turn on us while driving.

The hotel we stayed at was Sonesta Suites in Chesterfield which was about 20 mins away from down town St. Louis. We stayed two nights and our stay was great. I would rate it a 9 out of 10.(The reason I didn't give Sonesta a perfect 10 was because this particular parking lot was not truck friendly) The price was just as good of price as most hotel rooms I have stayed in over the years. It was less than $110 after taxes. And this might be because of it being a holiday weekend but it worked for our stay. To book the room I use my favorite app of choice which is I have used this app for years. While using the app with the rewards portion for every ten visits you receive one free. Side note the free room is an average from the previous ten stays. Our suite had one king and two queen beds, a living room with couch, two bathrooms. The kitchen included a dishware, cutlery, cooking and prep items. While on our stay we ate cereal and granola bars for breakfast which we brought with us. This saved us money for two days of breakfast for six people. All in all I would defiantly book another stay here.

Day one we decided to visit the union station in downtown St. Louis. This was a actual train station up until the 1970s, but was later renovated and opened as a mixed complex. St. Louis held the worlds fair in 1904 and there is very interesting facts hidden through out the complex pertaining to the fair. While visiting we used the paid parking lot which was close to the complex. The kids, sister-in law and I came to the conclusion we wanted to all do the mirror maze, and large Farris Wheel. The three teenage girls all did the ropes course and my son wanted to play mini golf. This filled up our night for about 3.5 hours. The kids liked the mirror maze which had info inside on the worlds fair. The age rage best suited for the activity I would say under ten. My kids finished the maze very quickly and were not interested in the historical facts, The girls then decided to do the ropes course while my son and I played 18 hole mini golf course. The golf course was on the smaller side. The girls had a blast on the ropes course and my son loved the mini golf. Both were age appropriate for all the kids. Once we met back up we saw the free light show on the water and then headed to the Farris Wheel. While standing inline for the wheel our time was filled with teenage girls snapping photos and a very interesting baby reveal. Another guest had set up a gender reveal party at the wheel. It was an exciting 10 mins for everyone in line.😊 The wheel has 42 enclosed and climate controlled gondolas, is taller than the statue of liberty and has about 15 mins around for each group. You can have up to six people in each gondola. Everyone enjoyed this experience. I will note that there is also a aquarium, carousel, and a grand hall light show. This was a great place for our family to have fun, but would also be good for a couples evening out.

Day two started with a trip to the St. Louis mural mile. This is a free activity to do. Pros the artwork here is mostly amazing. Cons the area is always open to the public and any one with a can of spray paint can do what ever they want. So with that being said I would not recommend for younger children or people who are offended by cussing or lewd drawings. My family had a great day. We went around 11am, the sun was shinning and basically took a walk. Everyone got great pictures. We brought our cooler and had lunch picnic style.

For the later part of the day we were going to head over to 6-flags but unfortunately due to covid 19 they have a reservation limit for guests which fills up pretty quick. So plan B was a hunted house!!!! We headed back to our hotel snacked and watched a scary movie. It was Halloween after all. We used the firestick I have mentioned previously. Once we decided to head out, it was a quick 20 mins drive back downtown to The Darkness haunted house. This was a first for all the kids in our group. The Darkness is located in a building which has little to no parking around. We went on October 31st so you can imagine the lines and traffic fighting for parking. It wasn't too cold for us so we just parked three blocks or so away. I will say that one parking lot had no signs but people were trying to take money. We thought it looked fishy, so chose to walk a tiny bit farther. Once inline we bought our tickets with our phones. The program was easy to use and gave us a virtual ticket. The line had actors walking around with great characters and makeup to scare people, Also the actors were talking with people to keep your mind of the time inline. The kids were thoroughly scared, but no one cried. At least no one from our group. The Darkness is in a two story building which I believe is used most of the year. The website boasts times for Halloween, Christmas (Krampus), and Valentines day ( My bloody Valentine). So if you like to do things off the beaten path this is good option. You can tell a lot of the money you pay into this attraction is put back into the concept. If you are sacred of clowns, snakes, alligators, bugs, and the usually jump scares with creepy characters then this is your place. There was very large and good quality animatronics through out. This attraction also has an escape portion, mini golf, and small arcade.

The two places that we went out to eat at were smash burger and St Louis Taco and pita grill. Smash burger was close to the hotel but was not great. The staff didn't really seem to care that they had customers, the bathrooms were very dirty and my daughter ordered a chicken sandwich which was super tuff. With that being said the burgers and fries tasted pretty good. St Louis taco and pita grill on the other hand was amazing. The restaurant had a pretty eclectic menu. The owner was there when we stopped in for dinner. She said the menu had the multiple kinds of food due to them being a local owned business with three locations. Which at one point had all sperate concepts but customers liked and asked for all of the foods at every location. The customer service was great, food was yummy, and the dining area was super clean. So there was a American menu, Greek menu, along with a Mexican menu. The kids had tacos, beans, rice, and quesadillas. My sister in-law had a Greek salad and tamales while I had a gyro with a side of fried okra. All of the food was cooked fresh to order and tasted amazing. To go we ordered dessert five macaroons, tiramisu, and baklava. I can not say enough good things about our visit to the mom and pop ran restaurant. I couldn't find a website for this place but the address is 15493 Manchester Rd. Ballwin MO 63011.

This was the only things that we got to do on this weekend get away. But we have been to St Louis before and some other things that should be mentioned as places to visit are the City Museum. We have been twice because the kids loved it so much. If you want to get the full experience I recommend on a day not too hot. The experience outside has lots of metal which can become too hot to use. The forest park area is something everyone of all ages would like plus most of the attractions are free to the public. Forest park holds the St. Louis zoo, Missouri history museum, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center, parks , famous land marks, fishing, boating, bike rentals, statues and monuments. You could spend a whole weekend just at forest park and keep the budget low. The St Louis Arch and Busch stadium for the Cardinals are popular sites to see while visiting. The last thing I will add to this list is The Cahokia Mounds Historic Site.

Thank you so much for stopping by on my blog. If you have questions, comments, or places you think I could go and write about use the comment area.

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