Wrapping up the Summer: St. Louis on the Cheap

or-wrapping-up-the-summer-amy-koons-hslda-blog

You know you’re a homeschooler when…everyone else is going back to school and you decide it’s the perfect time for a vacation.

As our neighbors boarded the school bus to return to school, we boarded our minivan to explore St. Louis for three days.

I had wanted to visit St. Louis for some time, ever since we drove through briefly on our way home from another road trip. On that trip, we squeezed in a visit to the Gateway Arch and the Museum of Western Expansion. As always, I like to squeeze stuff in and maximize our experiences. My husband generally prefers to have more space between activities. I know he must love me. I drive him crazy, but the silver lining is that he will never be bored!

Wrapping up the Summer: St. Louis on the Cheap | HSLDA Blog

No picture can do City Museum justice. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Go see it for yourself!

 

Our first stop was the City Museum in downtown St. Louis. Many of our friends have raved about this museum. It was the first thing on my mind when planning our trip. There is simply no way to describe this museum with mere words or even with pictures. It is too vast and too unique. My best attempt is to say that a massive warehouse was converted into a series of rooms with mazes, tunnels, slides, bridges and crawling spaces for kids, and also adventurous adults. Some of the passageways are too small for most adults, however.

Wrapping up the Summer: St. Louis on the Cheap | HSLDA Blog

Clara contemplates the 10-storey slide at City Museum.

The kids explored pretty much every nook and cranny of the museum, and it took the better part of a full day. We left with big smiles on our faces and big appetites from all that climbing and exploring. We were very impressed by the creativity it took to dream-up this museum.

If you ever get the opportunity, you have to go to see this place for yourself. If you go, just make sure to wear close-toed shoes and bring a flashlight!

On the second day of our trip, we went to Six Flags. Last year I learned about Six Flags’ Read to Succeed program, where kids in kindergarten through sixth grade can earn a free ticket to a Six Flags theme park. Students must simply complete six hours of recreational, non-school-related reading in the period of seven months. That’s it! Some homeschool kids do that in a day! Right? Since the teacher (or homeschool parent) also gets a free ticket, I figured that my kids’ cumulative 18 hours of reading is worth $210.96. Is there any other job out there where a kindergartner can earn $11.72 per hour?

Wrapping up the Summer: St. Louis on the Cheap | HSLDA Blog

Cultivating a spirit of adventure at Six Flags.

 

If you are interested in signing up for Read to Succeed and also getting free Six Flags tickets for next year, here is the link to sign-up. You don’t necessarily have to go to St. Louis as there are other Six Flags parks that participate.

Some of us like roller coasters more than others, but Six Flags has something for everyone, and it was a good day.

We had a hard time deciding what to do on our third-and-final day since there are so many affordable options for families to learn and explore in St. Louis. The St. Louis Zoo, Grant’s Farm, the St. Louis Science Center, and the St. Louis Art Museum are all free. In the end—much to my three-year-old, animal-loving son’s delight—we decided to check out the St. Louis Zoo.

You can’t believe everything you read on promotional materials, but the map we were handed at the gate of the St. Louis Zoo indicates that it was voted #1 Zoo in America. After visiting, I can believe it.

Wrapping up the Summer: St. Louis on the Cheap | HSLDA Blog

St. Louis Zoo.

 

The St. Louis Zoo is gigantic. Between its sheer size, the fabulous animal exhibits, and the beautiful landscaping and buildings, it’s hard to beat. Our two favorite animal exhibits were the primate house—how could you not love the humorous antics of spider monkeys and not want to watch them for hours?—and the insectarium and butterfly house. The insectarium had so much detailed and interesting information on the various insects there and the information was impressively presented. And…there’s something magical about a butterfly house, don’t you think?

We are glad we made this trek to St. Louis. It was a great way to make some fun memories and help bring our summer to a close.

-Amy

Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images by Amy Koons.

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