Thursday, August 17, 2006

St. Louis
We made our way all the way across Kansas, and Missouri, stopping in St. Louis late at night. After a restful sleep at the Wal-Mart, we headed down to the Science Center. I was really impressed with the St. Louis Science Center! Admission is free, and there is a ton of hands-on stuff that the kids (all five) really enjoyed. They also have some really cool demonstrations throughout the day that are fantastic. The demonstrators are fun, engaging, and very knowledgeable about the science of what they are demonstrating.
The one thing that we did pay for was the Lego Mindstorms activity. My son and I paid $3 to participate in a 7 person class where he built, programmed, and competed with a robot. He even won the tournament at the end of class!

Even the gift shop at the science center was reasonable. They had lots of relevant stuff to what we had learned about, and it was surprisingly not overpriced.
After seeing every demonstration, and almost all of the exhibits, we moved on to see the Gateway Arch. It turns out that there is parking specifically for RVs (and busses) right along the river, just south of the arch, which was really great. The short walk to the arch was nice on the perfect summer day, and we headed right in to the underground exhibits. The western history information was extensive, and we could have spent a long time learning about Louis and Clark, the Louisiana purchase, and other relevant information about westward expansion, but really just gave it a cursory look. We had wanted to take the tram to the top of the arch, but the only posted prices were $14 per person. It turns out though that the $14 price is a combo deal that includes one of the movies that play there, so I asked about a tram-only price and found out that it’s $10 for adults and $6 for kids. Furthermore, the prices all include a $3 national park fee, which we don’t have to pay because we have a National Parks Pass. So anyway, we initially thought we wouldn’t get to go to the top because it would cost $70, but it ended up being $27, so we went. It was worth it, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

By the time we were done at the Arch, it was getting late, so we decided not to cook dinner, but go out instead. We walked over to the Old Spaghetti Factory for some good family dining. Finally, we walked back to the RV and hit the road, telling Gladys for the first time to plot a route home. We knew we wouldn’t make it very far before getting too tired, but that’s the direction we’re heading now. We made it as far as Springfield, Il where we overnighted at Wal-Mart again, and plan to check out Abe’s house.

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