Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meet me in St. Louis.

Had a few days off and decided to take a vacation. My father in law laughed that we were taking a vacation from our vacation of a life. Hey...I didn't have to work.

First day we went to Meremac caverns. It is a pretty cool cavern located about an hour West of St. Louis. It was a secret hideout of Jesse James. Nice tour guide, interesting geology and a heck of a lot cooler inside the cave than outside. Cheesy family fun.

On the way out we stopped at a little wildlife refuge that is just a mile or so down the road. Opened the door and just about left. The smell inside the gift shop was horrible. Mix a lot of mildew in with sweat and dog urine then heat to a boil. We went on anyway and took the tour. I was glad we did. They had a bobcat, some serval's, two tigers and a lion outside along with more alligators than I could count. Inside, they had a large variety of snakes, lizards and other fun creepy crawlies. Including a few notables. The largest snapping turtle I have ever seen. They say it weighs 150 pounds but I bet it tops 200. Some very friendly and communicative lemurs, the most active and interactive rattlesnakes I have ever seen. Well worth the trip.

We left there and drove on to the hotel, the only dark cloud on the trip. The Day's Inn off Lindbergh in Kirkwood was pretty miserable. I could detail it but trust me, miserable.

That night we went into town to find a place to eat. I was struck by how many buildings were boarded up or burnt out. I was also struck by how old the place appeared. I had no idea of the history and significance of St. Louis. We ended up going to the botanical garden, eating at the restaurant there and checking out their Jurassic Dark exhibit. The have a large geodesic dome greenhouse filled with lush tropical greenery. At these events they pump in some fog, light up some colored lights and show off some dinosaur sculptures they have planted at various spots inside. Pretty cool really, especially if you are a 4 year old.

Thus ended day one. Back to the hotel and sleep. I'll tackle day two later.