City Museum

750 N. 16th St.
St. Louis, MO 63103- Map It
Phone: (314) 231-2489
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AAA Editor Notes

City Museum is at 750 N. 16th St. between Delmar and Washington aves. Here's a museum that truly will delight everyone from 8 to 80, not to mention those on either side of this age range. While the multitude of contraptions that invite climbing, crawling, sliding, stepping, jumping and rope climbing are geared toward kids, there are plenty of diversions for adults, too—whether it's watching their children or grandchildren have a blast or perusing exhibits about St. Louis' history and architectural heritage. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about City Museum is that it is built entirely from recycled and found materials. Everywhere you look—the floor, the walls, columns—there are whimsical mosaics and decorated tiles. Stairways are painted bright colors. The museum's three mazelike floors resemble an urban phantasmagoria of tunnels, chutes and labyrinths of twisted metal. Tables allow children to draw, paint, practice kirigami (Japanese paper cutting) or engage in interactive activities. The rooms with mounted butterflies, insects, stuffed owls and other natural history specimens are like stumbling into a taxidermist's workroom. A piano sits in another room, waiting to be played—and soon enough someone will. Atop the Roof is a hybrid playground/jungle gym 11 stories above the street. Here are such incongruous sights as a school bus perched halfway over the edge (yes, you can go inside it), a climbing cage that looks like an airborne Slinky, a pond crisscrossed with stepping stones, a giant praying mantis and Big Eli, a working Ferris wheel. You also get a 360-degree view of downtown St. Louis. Food is available.
$12; $10 (Fri.-Sat. after 5); free (ages 0-2). Atop the Roof (available only with City Museum admission) $5; free (ages 0-2). Parking: $10 (per vehicle). Additional pay lots and metered street parking available.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9-5 (also Fri.-Sat. 5-midnight), Sun. 11-5, Mar. 1-Labor Day; Wed.-Sat. 9-5 (also Fri.-Sat. 5-midnight), Sun. 11-5, rest of year. Atop the Roof is closed Nov.-May; phone ahead to confirm season opening and closing dates. Closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Allow 2 hours minimum.