Thursday, 12 May 2016

Star wars, cycle jerseys and science museums

Today dawned cloudy as per yesterday, and with a little rain but fortunately no storms. Our first destination was Forest Park, as we had decided to finally do the Science Center. The Center was very loud and full of school kids and reminded me of a kids play area back home which my nieces love. Still, we weren't there to explore the museum so much as to go to the IMAX cinema we'd visited previously in 2002. Admission was $9 and we saw an inspiring film about a group of three people exploring America's national parks and trying out all sorts of adventurous activities, from ice rock climbing to mountain biking in and around famous canyons and climbing tall rocks.

Ceramic Star Wars mugs on display at the Science Center - shame they're not for sale!
The cinema itself is astounding, and whilst not in 3D, the films present on a huge domed screen (the largest I've ever seen) and you literally feel as if you're right there with the guys in the film. You climb up to your seat and the seats are arranged in such a way that you immediately lean back in your seat and look skywards. It's quite an experience and one I won't forget in a hurry. Prior to going to the cinema we also had a brief look around the Missouri History Museum, which stocked a great range of books and relics from American history.

The pretty awesome film we saw at the Omnimax theatre.
We headed back downtown afterwards as when we left the museum the weather had improved dramatically and we decided to take our chances and go up the Gateway Arch whilst it was nice. Unfortunately tickets had sold out for the day so we bought them for tomorrow afternoon and watched the 30 minute movie detailing the arch's construction. To say it's 50 years old the quality was amazing and they clearly went to special lengths to document the construction of the arch. It's a real find and definitely worth watching as a tribute to this historical monument.

Pretty cool merchandise and memorabilia on display - love the bike theme!
We were getting pretty hungry by this point so headed over to Union Station towards the Schlafly tap room, home of one of the local breweries and offering a good range of hearty food in addition to a range of beers on draft. They also sold some cool merchandise so I picked up a cool tshirt, a couple of bottle openers and an awesome poster print detailing the local breweries in St! Louis overlaid on a map.

A map of local breweries on display at the tap house.
I really had to resist getting one of the cycle jerseys they had on sale for $60 as I felt I'd spent enough over the course of the day and couldn't really justify buying it (I have a pretty sizeable collection at home). That's not to say I won't return for it though! On the way back to the metro we took a slightly different route back that revealed some fantastic views of the old Union Station and I couldn't resist the photo opportunity. We also checked out the very classy hall inside where you could sit for drinks etc. - presumably this was the old waiting hall for trains, and was ever so majestic, now part of an expensive (and tasteful) hotel. We also got to look inside the station as the food court was open which overlooks the former shopping area. Only two food places were open and it really does look a shadow of it's former self. Such a shame to see a really beautiful building ( partially) gone to waste.

The oh-so-cool cycling Jersey from the Schlafly tap room.
There was a bit of trouble on the metro on the way home with a local gang of some sort having a bit of a to-do with each other. Fortunately the security on the platform at Forest Park station courted them off and we were able to continue our journey. Unfortunately we ended up missing our hourly bus connection due to the trouble so ended up staying on the train to the airport then coming back just to kill some time.

The glorious Union Station, no longer a railway terminus.
Tomorrow is our last full day in St. Louis so we're going to finally ascend the arch ourselves (if the promised storm doesn't come) and may check out another record store we've been recommended. Then it's off back to the hotel to pack our suitcases and spend our last night relaxing before boarding our plane back to New York where the real fun is set to begin!

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