This continues my coverage of our trip out west … the move to Portland. This recounts our second day in St. Louis, MO.

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We were surprised to find that they basically converted the old Union Station train station into a mall, complete with Food Court, fountains, planters and stores. Luckily, the architecture is a great redeeming quality. The outside of the building is beautiful, as are the inside rafters and other support structures. If you’d like to take a leisurely stroll in the A/C in St. Louis, check it out. And while you’re at it you can eat at Houlihans like we did.

The fountain across the street is a great way to beat the heat if you don’t mind being misted with water that is no doubt old and moldy. It features some great water-spewing sculptures of mythical-looking creatures with great expressions. While walking back to the car we ambushed a kid (he was my age) with a drivers cap and asked him what else we should do in the area. He told us tales of a place to climb around in old school buses atop building. “Where is it,” we asked wisely. “It’s over there,” he said as he pointed over that way.

Our GPS lady lost her voice (Mute button disease, I suppose), so we had to read the directions out loud to ourselves in a British accent. Kidding. We found “City Museum” in the “nearby shit to do” category, and figured that must be it. Yep, it was. And it looked awesome from the outside.

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As our flickr photos attest, we spent the next 3 or so hours climbing around in the dark, through caves, metal forests, felled logs, and stairwells. The St. Louis City Museum is now the number one destination I’d want to take children, if I ever borrowed any for the day. It also helped to calm the desire I’ve had to be “a little bit taller.” If I were any taller I wouldn’t have been able to crouch and crawl through much of the museum … this would have severely ruined my fun time. Sorry, Andy. We wish you could have come with us. Hope you enjoyed staying in the car.

Our City Museum flickr photos probably make the place look smaller than it really is. The building is 10 stories. Not all of it is devoted to crawl spaces, but plenty of it is. I imagine it would take at least 5 trips to the museum to give you a good idea of where the passage you’re about to climb through will take you. Many of the passages are dark. Water drips down in the cave regions. You’d have to be a toddler to see it all, but still, you manage to see plenty of parents and their children braving the darkness together. Kristen and I held hands the whole way. However, I teared up a bit when they wouldn’t let both of us slide down the 10-story spiral slide together. I thought I was going to die. Kristen was glad to be out of the clutches of my clammy hands.

One thing that is particularly frightening is hearing loud clanging, falling, breaking sounds while you’re climbing around in an airplane perched on the edge of a three-story structure made to look like a castle tower. We had no clue what the sound was. While walking back to the car we figured out what it was. Bricks on the 4th story of an old building nearby had come loose and fell onto a doorway overhang just below the 2nd floor. The force ripped one of the overhang support beams from the building and a whole mess of bricks landed on someone’s car. Whew. So glad we parked away from any old buildings.