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City Museum
Vacation Travel Guide

This quirky children’s museum invites visitors to crawl through whales, climb into tree houses and whiz down three-story slides.

The City Museum has playgrounds, aquariums and factories among its many hands-on exhibits. Quirky artifacts, such as “The World’s Largest Underpants,” are found alongside slippery slides and live animals. There’s even a daily circus show.

These exhibits take up 600,000 square feet (54,500 square meters) of the old International Shoe Company building in downtown St. Louis. Artist Bob Cassilly transformed the space using objects found on the streets, such as chimneys and old car parts. The museum is largely aimed at toddlers to teenagers, although there are art displays and an architecture exhibit to keep all ages occupied.

The first floor includes an underground cave system and an underwater display. Walk through a life-sized model of a whale, then crawl down into the caves, or up into elaborate tree houses. A 5,000-gallon (19,000-liter) fish tank houses aquatic life from local waterways.

A shoelace factory on the second floor is a nod to the building’s heritage. Watch how laces were made in the 1800s, and you can even order a custom-made pair to take home. There’s also an interesting display of vintage opera posters. The biggest attraction, however, is a large aquarium, with stingrays, sharks, alligators, sea snakes and turtles. Get a different view of the ocean’s greatest predators in a small glass tunnel that runs through the shark tank.

The daily circus show, with experienced acrobats and trapeze artists, is on the third floor. (Check the museum’s website for show times.) Next door there’s a small Natural History collection. The Beatnik Bob’s exhibit has memorabilia from the 1950s, including vintage pinball machines. After exploring these exhibits, ride the slide back down to the first.

In summer the rooftop has a Ferris wheel and playground with splash pond.

On your way out, stop by MonstroCity, a multilevel jungle gym just outside the main entrance.

City Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Opening times vary so check the website before visiting. Wear sturdy shoes with a closed-in toe and heel. Parking is limited, so public transportation is a good option.

Top things to do in City Museum

Top Hotels Close to City Museum

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
4 out of 5
315 Chestnut St, St. Louis, MO
The price is $104 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Old Courthouse, Gateway Arch, and World Aquarium. Dome at America’s Center and Busch ...

4.3/5Excellent! (3,488 reviews)

"It is a nice hotel. Went somewhat over the top on Corona virus. None of which made any sense."…"

Reviewed on Feb 18, 2021

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
The Last Hotel-In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
The Last Hotel-In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
4.5 out of 5
1501 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO
The price is $127 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this luxury hotel is steps from Washington Avenue Historic District and City Museum. America's Center Convention Complex and Enterprise ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (373 reviews)

"I didn’t receive any of my VIP perks and also there was no snack stand in lobby to purchase any late night snacks or beverages. Our room window was iced so we couldn’t see out the window. It was per friendly which was a plus for us. Nothing really to do at this hotel."…"

Reviewed on Feb 17, 2021

The Last Hotel-In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
4 out of 5
1 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO
The price is $123 per night from Mar 12 to Mar 13

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Gateway Arch National Park, Busch Stadium, and Gateway Arch. America's Center Convention ...

4/5Very Good! (1,076 reviews)

"Parking should come with the room, other then that my stay was wonderful!"…"

Reviewed on Feb 21, 2021

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top City Museum Flight + Hotel Deals

Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel St. Louis
Quality Inn St. Louis Airport Hotel
Hollywood Casino & Hotel St. Louis
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Best Lodging Options Near City Museum

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
4 out of 5
315 Chestnut St, St. Louis, MO
The price is $104 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
The Last Hotel-In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
The Last Hotel-In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
4.5 out of 5
1501 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO
The price is $127 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1
The Last Hotel-In the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
4 out of 5
1 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO
The price is $123 per night from Mar 12 to Mar 13
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
OYO Hotel St. Louis Downtown MO
OYO Hotel St. Louis Downtown MO
3.5 out of 5
400 S 14th St, St. Louis, MO
The price is $73 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1
OYO Hotel St. Louis Downtown MO
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
4 out of 5
1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO
The price is $117 per night from Mar 11 to Mar 12
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch
Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch
4 out of 5
400 Olive St, St. Louis, MO
The price is $93 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1
Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch
Marriott St. Louis Grand
Marriott St. Louis Grand
4 out of 5
800 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO
The price is $87 per night from Feb 27 to Feb 28
Marriott St. Louis Grand
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch
3 out of 5
2 South 4th Street, St. Louis, MO
The price is $90 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch
Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
4 out of 5
421 N 8th St, St. Louis, MO
The price is $91 per night from Mar 2 to Mar 3
Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.