When L told me he had a business trip planned in St. Louis in June, my wheels immediately started turning and I knew the makings of a family vacation were about to be underway. Because life is too short to do anything half way, I mapped out a two and a half week Midwestern tour, covering 10 states! If Jones had any desire to see more of America, this trip would surely scratch that itch.
As fate would have it, all three kids got sick before and during our departure. We were supposed to start our journey traveling to Kentucky to visit one of my best friends and her family, see part of Mammoth Cave, and then venture a little further north in Kentucky to visit one of Jones’ friends from his orphanage. That plan was completely derailed and we instead left mid Sunday afternoon to at least knock out half of the drive to St. Louis. That’s when Jones started complaining that he didn’t feel good but at least I had the knowledge that is was roughly a 24-hour bug. He was a champ and as long as I kept him medicated he was subdued but wanted to keep pressing through.
We arrived in St. Louis late Monday afternoon and were greeted by the warm and welcoming staff of The Four Seasons Hotel. If you ever want to treat yourself, find a good deal at one of their hotels and prepare to be pampered! This was by far the nicest hotel we had ever stayed in as a family and they treat the kids just as well as the adults!
On Tuesday morning, we laid low for the most part since Jones was still slightly puny. The kids all slept in past breakfast and so we found a good lunch spot and then topped off the meal with some locally made ice cream. We ended up spending the rest of the day by the pool and the kids had a blast . That night we headed out for some Ethiopian food and agreed it was the best we’ve had in the states.
The next day we hit the zoo and felt like we had ventured into an inferno as it was hot and humid the entire day. I think the highlight of the day for all four of us was the shaved ices we bought after lunch! The zoo was great though and we hoped the animals weren’t as hot as we were!
We met L after his meetings were over and headed to The Gateway Arch. We rode the crazy capsule to the top and enjoyed some fabulous views of the city as the sun had just set (longest day of the year). Afterwards we looked around in the museum but it was close to closing time and I regret that Lou and I didn’t have at least another hour to look around (she loves museums as much as her mom).
On our final day, we saved the most fun for last as we headed to the City Museum. It’s so much more than a museum…it’s every bit as much an art exhibit as it is multiple playscapes on steroids! We had a blast! L met us after his meetings to play and we closed down the place with happily exhausted kids.
We made the three and a half hour drive across Missouri and spent the night in Independence. For me the fun was really about to start since L was joining us for the remainder of the trip and I wasn’t chasing three kids by myself!