In 1993 artist Bob Cassilly and then-wife Gail Cassilly bought a vacant shoe factory and warehouse and a few years later began construction on what has become one of the St louis Mo metro area’s most curious and fun family attractions, the City Museum. The museum opened to the public on October 25, 1997. Bob Cassilly remains the museum’s artistic director.
Since opening, the museum has consistently added new exhibits such as the World Aquarium, the Shoelace Factory, MonstroCity, the Enchanted Caves, the Shoe Shaft, Toddler Town, Art City, Circus Harmony and recently even residential lofts. The museum has even hosted celebrity events such as visits by Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers and has hosted concerts and private events.
The first floor opened in 1997 and is home to a life-size Bowhead Whale, where guests can walk through and view a large fish tank and the always popular “Puking Pig.” Tunnels run across the ceiling, through a sea of fiberglass that give the impression of icicles. The floor is covered in mosaics, and lead the way to a tunnel known as the “Underground Whaleway” which runs beneath the floor and into the “Original Caves.”
The Mezzanine contains the Museum’s food court.
From the second floor you can connect to MonstroCity and the Enchanted Caves through the Vault Room which was named after the giant vault that Cassilly installed there, originally built in the mid-1800s. In St. George’s Chamber you will find a collection of Vintage Opera Posters and a giant statue of St. George from Saint George’s Catholic Church in Chicago. In The Shoelace Factory you will find a collection of vintage shoelace machines from the 1890s and if you have some time you can request a design of their own shoelace, the kids LOVE it! Next you will find, as an extension of the St Louis MO Children’s Aquarium, a huge aquarium that includes a shark tank with a glass tunnel that you can crawl through and a sting ray petting and feeding area.
One of the coolest attractions is the Enchanted Caves and Shoe Shafts that run through the center of the Museum all the way to the 10th floor. In the Enchanted Caves you find an extensive array of caves with different creature around every turn. The Shoe Shafts area a left over from the former shoe factory where to move shoes from floor to floor, they would place shoes on a three story spiral shafts that would lead down to the loading dock. Originally there was only one three story slide, but in 2008 a second TEN story slide was installed. Believe me, this is a blast even for the parents!
On the 3rd Floor you’ll find a number of attractions like the Skateless Park, a collection of skateboard ramps without the skateboards which is fun just to slide around, the Everyday Circus, a circus school that performs daily at the museum, Art City where you can try a number of different art techniques, and another favorite for the kids is Toddler Town, an area dedicated to those 6 and under. On this floor you’ll also find some fun things like the World’s Largest Underwear, some vintage video/pinball games, and you can also get a beer and Corndog here. Kids 48″ and under can ride around on a scaled down train.
Outside the museum is a ton of fun. MonstroCity features two Saber 40 aircraft fuselages suspended high in the air, a fire engine, a castle turret, a 25-foot cupola, four-foot-wide Slinkies that can be crawled through, and a ball pit for adults filled with large, rubber dodge balls. The Cabin Inn is an early-19th-century log cabin located beneath MonstroCity. Originally the home of the son of Daniel Boone, it is now a bar and entertainment venue. On the roof you’ll find a school bus hanging over the edge, Big Eli a restored four-story Ferris wheel, a massive rope swing, and a huge preying mantis.
For visiting hours and pricing information visit here.