So, if you read my last post, (uh-huh, just like you read Henry VI for that college English class, right?) you may remember my speaking light of a little thing called City Museum. Looking back, I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t pay this glorious place of amazement and wonder the true homage that it deserves. So here goes.
Hang on to your assholes.
City Museum is a museum, of sorts, in downtown St Louis. The art it features is sculpture on an enormous scale, made primarily of found objects with a strong industrial feel. It was created by Bob Cassilly, a sculpture artist, and continues to be built upon by Cassilly and a team of 20 or so artists. (Or so their Wikipedia page says.) But that’s not what makes City Museum fucking awesome. What makes City Museum fucking awesome is that all of the sculpture is built with the intention of interaction.
City Museum is what would have happened if Alice and the Mad Hatter took a hit of acid, wandered into an industrial park, and built a jungle gym out of the shit they found lying around. It is quite literally the most crazy awesome fucked up playground ever invented.
You can see where this is going.
City Museum is the place where you’re encouraged to do all the things you’re not supposed to do at other museums.
Climb on top of statues?
Push unmarked buttons and pull random levers?
Cop a feel on the art?
Don’t mind if I do.
But it’s doesn’t just end with sexually harassing the art. When I say City Museum is a crazy awesome fucked up playground, I’m not kidding. They built this place to be climbed on, crawled through, jumped on, scaled, splashed in, slid down and ran through like you’re a fucking 5 year old on Pixie Sticks.
Some of it’s awesomeness includes:
A life-size whale which can be crawled on and inside.
(Apparently if you crawl inside the whale it leads to some amazing aquariums, but we got distracted by something else and never went inside. That happens a lot there.)
A maze of sculpted caves and tunnels and waterfalls and coves.
They’re accented by crazy lighting and hidden sculptures of creatures that makes it feel way trippier and way more exciting than it probably should be.
Also, what you can’t see in the picture is that the room I was in was at least two stories tall, full of places to climb and crawl.
A ten story spiral slide.
You heard me right. 10 stories. Spiral slide. Fuck yeah.
A human-sized hamster wheel.
Uh-huh. Apparently it was made out of some airplane part. Fucking awesome. I highly recommend you watch both videos, the first because it’s hilarious to watch Kyle run like a little hamster, and the second for all the wipe outs. (Though I would also highly recommend you make sure you have the sound turned waaaaay down on your computer; we were standing with a bunch of other people, watching and cheering people on. I swear, I could have stayed there and watched people fall down all night.)
And places and attractions that we wandered into that I don’t know even know where we were or what the hell the exhibit was, but it was fucking cool.
And up on the roof:
An old school Ferris Wheel
A gigantic praying mantis overlooking a three story slinky ladder on top of a three story slide that empties out next to a fountain with stepping stones so you can walk across it. Awesome.
Oh, plus a school bus that’s half hanging off the roof and a giant rope swing inside the dome under the mantis.
But the best part, by far, is the outdoor portion of City Museum.
It’s beyond fucking amazing.
There’s a fire truck and a crane and parts of several airplanes.
There’s bridges and ladders climbing multiple stories.
There’s metal slinkies and balls and domes and turrets to crawl inside.
There’s a fucking ball pit filled with dodge balls for fuck’s sake!
Seriously, guys, it’s bonkers.
We spent hours tearing around City Museum like fucking kids on Halloween. I could have spent hours more, but it was a billion degrees outside and Kyle was tired and we both smelled like rancid clown ass. Fuck hours, I could have spent every night that week running around and exploring and still be amazed by everything there was to find. And I think that’s what I love about City Museum. It’s one of those magical places where everyone inside is five. It’s playing at it’s purest form, no matter how old you are. There’s no high tech, high def, 3D bullshit. It’s just running and jumping and climbing and crawling and exploring and screaming and laughing and it’s my favorite fucking place in the world.
So I beg you, my lovely assholes, before you take the long sleep in the wooden box, make your way to St Louis on a weekend. Bop around the arch for five minutes, take a jaunt through Forest Park, and enjoy an afternoon at the zoo. But then, when the sun goes down and the kids are exhausted and sticky, put them to bed, leave them with Grandma, and make your way to City Museum. Most of the kids will be gone, the bar will be open, and they will have turned off enough lights to make everything seem bigger and definitely more dangerous. Wear good sneakers and loose clothing. No, I don’t care how comfy your flip flops are, wear some fucking tennis shoes; you’re going to stink in 20 minutes anyway, so who the hell are you trying to impress? Oh, and don’t bring your SLR camera. I know, the cruel irony is that City Museum makes for some fucking amazing pictures, but trust me, it’ll just hold you back. (All the above pictures were taken with our phones, and we were even scared of loosing or dropping those.)
Then find the little kid that’s been hiding inside for so long and run around screaming like a motherfucking banshee.
Author’s Note: You may have noticed that some of the pictures you just saw looked monumentally shittier than others. You may have also noticed some dependencies in story line: day vs night, my blonde hair vs purple hair, my small blonde niece existing vs not existing. That’s because in the many years since I originally posted this to my blog, we’ve been to City Museum many more times, and I couldn’t help but add new pictures from our more recent adventures. But I assure you, my feelings about the place are just as accurate today as they are the first time I went all those years ago. City Museum still is (and always will be) the most crazy awesome fucked up playground ever.)