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City Museum

This quirky children’s museum invites visitors to crawl through whales, climb into tree houses and whiz down three-story slides.

The City Museum has playgrounds, aquariums and factories among its many hands-on exhibits. Quirky artifacts, such as “The World’s Largest Underpants,” are found alongside slippery slides and live animals. There’s even a daily circus show. 

These exhibits take up 600,000 square feet (54,500 square meters) of the old International Shoe Company building in downtown St. Louis. Artist Bob Cassilly transformed the space using objects found on the streets, such as chimneys and old car parts. The museum is largely aimed at toddlers to teenagers, although there are art displays and an architecture exhibit to keep all ages occupied.

The first floor includes an underground cave system and an underwater display. Walk through a life-sized model of a whale, then crawl down into the caves, or up into elaborate tree houses. A 5,000-gallon (19,000-liter) fish tank houses aquatic life from local waterways.

A shoelace factory on the second floor is a nod to the building’s heritage. Watch how laces were made in the 1800s, and you can even order a custom-made pair to take home. There’s also an interesting display of vintage opera posters. The biggest attraction, however, is a large aquarium, with stingrays, sharks, alligators, sea snakes and turtles. Get a different view of the ocean’s greatest predators in a small glass tunnel that runs through the shark tank.

The daily circus show, with experienced acrobats and trapeze artists, is on the third floor. (Check the museum’s website for show times.) Next door there’s a small Natural History collection. The Beatnik Bob’s exhibit has memorabilia from the 1950s, including vintage pinball machines. After exploring these exhibits, ride the slide back down to the first. 

In summer the rooftop has a Ferris wheel and playground with splash pond. 

On your way out, stop by MonstroCity, a multilevel jungle gym just outside the main entrance.

City Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Opening times vary so check the website before visiting. Wear sturdy shoes with a closed-in toe and heel. Parking is limited, so public transportation is a good option.


Guide to Exploring City Museum


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Top Hotel Deals

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£88
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

315 Chestnut St, St. Louis
4.3
of 5, from 1,640 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This 18-story Hyatt Regency hotel is 4 blocks from Busch Stadium and within a mile of Edward Jones Dome, Scottrade Center, Laclede's Landing, and the America's Center.

£83
The Hotel Majestic St. Louis

The Hotel Majestic St. Louis

1019 Pine St, St. Louis
3.9
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4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Citygarden and Busch Stadium. Dome at America’s Center and City Museum are also within 15 minutes.

£70
City Place St. Louis - Downtown Hotel

City Place St. Louis - Downtown Hotel

200 North 4th Street, St. Louis
3.2
of 5, from 1,248 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

This 29-story St. Louis hotel is 4 blocks from Busch Stadium, 6 blocks from the Edward Jones Dome and the Lumiere Place Casino, and less than 1 mile from Scottrade Center, Laclede's Landing, and America's Center.

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Pear Tree Inn St. Louis Near Union Station

Pear Tree Inn St. Louis Near Union Station

2211 Market Street, St. Louis
4.3
of 5, from 500 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Centenary United Methodist Church and City Museum. Busch Stadium and Gateway Arch are also within 2 mi (3 km).

£82
St. Louis City Center Hotel

St. Louis City Center Hotel

400 S 14th St, St. Louis
3.5
of 5, from 876 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

This historic 13-story St. Louis hotel is 1 block from Scottrade/Peabody Opera House Complex, 3 blocks from Union Station, and 5 blocks from Busch Stadium. The Gateway Arch is 1 mile away.

£89
HoteLumiere at the Arch

HoteLumiere at the Arch

999 N. 2nd St., St. Louis
2.8
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4.0 out of 5.0

This downtown St. Louis hotel connects to Lumiere Place Casino; Laclede's Landing and the Edward Jones Dome are 3 blocks away.

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Courtyard by Marriott St. Louis Downtown/Convention Center

Courtyard by Marriott St. Louis Downtown/Convention Center

823-827 Washington Avenue, St. Louis
4.4
of 5, from 63 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of America's Center Convention Complex and Dome at America’s Center. Busch Stadium and City Museum are also within 15 minutes.

£126
Marriott St. Louis Grand

Marriott St. Louis Grand

800 Washington Ave, St. Louis
4.0
of 5, from 91 reviews
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This downtown St. Louis hotel is within 10 blocks of Busch Stadium, the Gateway Arch, and The Dome at America's Center.