This past weekend was our last real weekend of fun in St Louis. Coming up is a weekend away (our first US road trip in 14 months) and then packing, yard sale-ing and moving occur of the final few weekends. So we made the most of getting out and doing those things we’d been meaning to do…
First on the list was the Magic House. It was free family night on Friday, so it was pretty much crowded. After about an hour of pootling about in the toddler-centred zone, we were both totally impressed at Kazuo’s sudden confidence at trying things he usually shies away from, and totally overwhelmed by the crazy intense atmosphere…so we made our escape. But in that time Kazuo had climbed through tunnels, slid down slides, climbed stairs, traversed gangways, played some crazy jandal-pipes, gassed up his own little car, sifted some sand, counted the numbers on a ‘big clock’, tried some puzzles, shopped in the market, and pretty much done everything at breakneck speed. If it wasn’t such a pricey outing for us all, we’d go every week. We only saw about 1/3 of the exhibits and Kazuo left saying ‘fun and balloons’ all the way home. Magic.
On Saturday morning we packed up after breakfast and headed southwest to the World Bird Sanctuary and Lone Elk Park. I’m never a fan of birds being caged up – especially since we have had some great experiences here of seeing them in the wild. But it was interesting for Kazuo to see some real life eagles and owls.
He loved feeding the chickens. I guess being able to give him some controlled animal and bird encounters at this young age will hopefully foster a real interest in creatures and their natural habitats in the future.
The bison area was perhaps a major highlight of our time in St Louis. Like most good wildlife parks, you may drive through, but not get out of your vehicle – in fact there is a warning on the gate to ‘Enter at your own risk, bison have damaged vehicles’, which made me nervous and Akira thrilled! About halfway into the park we came across a family group grazing by the roadside. Kazuo was excited to see the ‘baby biston’ and we sat and watched these beautiful and pensive animals for a good long while. Sadly I’d left the camera in the boot of the car (and was not about to leap out to get it) so here is a stock image…a meagre representation, but really just a memoir for me…we’re not about to forget these moments of nature observation!
That afternoon we met some friends at the Fountain on Locust for a sweet art-deco-style treat. The kiddoes gobbled down double chocolate ice cream and the grown ups consumed ultra-decadent ice cream sodas, sundaes and cocktails. We emerged feeling hazy and happy and full of sugary goodness.
On Sunday the boys trekked around the zoo while I got some final crafting tasks completed. Then we had friends over for dinner and finished the weekend off in a relaxed and sociable manner. There are not too many things left on our wanna-do-before-we-go list, we will hopefully pack them in during the final frenzied weeks. But since Akira has oodles of scanning to do…this may have been our one final fling. It was a great weekend in a happy location.