This morning I relaxed at the airbnb for a bit, finishing a movie I had started and cross stitching some, before heading to a cafe a block away. I want a cafe a block away from my house in Denver! I got myself a biscuit and milk and sat by the window to eat breakfast. That biscuit was really good, especially drenched in honey (I am my father’s daughter) and it paired perfectly with cold milk. Then I went to the St. Louis Science Center. Many (possibly all?) of St. Louis’ museums are free, which is music to my ears. Both the Science Center and the Art Museum, the places I visited today, are free to enter. Yay!
Because the museums are free, I decided I could spend the $6 it cost to see a planetarium show. I only remember going to the planetarium in Denver’s Nature and Science Museum so I was curious to see how the one in St. Louis compared.
I had some time before the show, however, so I wandered most of the museum. Although it’s in a giant building, the exhibits are relatively small, there isn’t a lot of detailed information about anything. Maybe it’s because this museum is aiming to capture children more than adults, I’m not sure, but I was able to get through a good portion of it in an hour and a half. I did skip over the entire Mars and space exhibits, granted, because I wasn’t feeling those today. So if I had looked at that, that would have easily been another hour or two. Okay, maybe it’s not quite as small as I had originally thought.
While they do have a moving, life-size and life-like t-rex and triceratops (the triceratops lay dying on the ground, breathing its final breaths, how’s that for morbid), their dinosaur exhibit was really lacking. Only one or two skeleton replicas. Denver’s dinosaur exhibit (and Salt Lake’s) is way better. I also found that within 15 feet of each other, two plaques gave contradicting statements. One plaque said that the t-rex was the largest carnivore ever and the other plaque said there were larger carnivores. Uh, that’s bad science and bad reporting right there, guys. I think I’ll need to send the center a message. I also found a couple of grammatical errors in two of the dinosaur plaques as well. Aren’t there people checking these things??
I wandered into one area that had a few small aquariums with a variety of creatures in them, an axolotl being my most favorite. I think this is my first time seeing one in real life. Someone tell me if that’s wrong. I stared at it for quite a while and even saw it yawn once. What a highlight! It was one of those albino, pink tinted ones and while I loved watching it, it saddened me that it was sitting in a two foot tank. How is that a reasonable life for something that size?
Finally the time came for me to visit the planetarium. It’s different from Denver’s in that the chairs are on ground level (Denver’s is extremely steep theater seating style) and you can move the chairs. St. Louis’ planetarium also had pads that you could place on the floor and lay down on, which I thought was a really great a idea. The show was narrated live by a lovely lady sitting in the back. She used a laser pointer to show us different stars and how they create constellations. I wasn’t sure about it at first but I ended up liking that way of doing things. What I really really loved was toward the beginning, Octavia, our guide for the show, first showed us what the night sky looks like over St. Louis. You know the one, basically cloudy with very few stars visible because of light pollution. Then she told us to get ready, she was going to show us what the sky looked like two hours away, in the country. What a drastic, and real change. I experienced that while camping last summer and while the reveal in the planetarium didn’t quite evoke the same awe reaction I had outdoors, it almost got to that level. There was an audible “aahhh” from everyone in the audience as more stars than we could count popped into our vision. I sigh thinking about it now.
So I liked the planetarium show. Well worth the $6, I even filled out a comment card I liked it so much. After that I found myself in the outdoor portion of the museum where I watched their chickens for a bit and meandered through their vegetable and fruit gardens. I love that a museum has an outdoor space.
Then it was time for me to head to the Art Museum. I thought there was a bus that wound its way through the park that both these museums were in but turns out it only winds it way through certain portions of the park and the Science Center is not one of them. So I walked for 40 minutes in the 90 degree sun which felt like 99 degrees and boy did I feel it. My arms and my legs sweat. I’m not sure I knew that was a thing before today. I got to the art museum utterly sparkling in a mixture of sweat and sunscreen. My face was bright red, my hair plastered to my face, my armpits and back soaked. It was an image.
I cleaned up a bit in the bathroom and then grabbed a spot in the cafe to eat a bit of lunch and cool off. Twenty minutes later I was feeling alive again and traversed the many halls of the museum. This museum is large and very maze like. For the life of me I couldn’t read the map so I gave up on that and explored. I found my future couch:
And I also found the colorful abstract and post-painterly abstract (learned that today) art that I tend to enjoy. There was a painting by Frank Weston Benson of a girl and her dog that has inspired me to paint myself and Pippin this summer. New summer project! I enjoyed many of the paintings in the museum, they were lovely.
And of course there are the very old items that art museums tend to have that blow me away. A short sword from the 4th to the 3rd century BC. A statue from the same time period. I watched people pass these by and wondered if they knew that they just walked by an artifact that is thousands of years old. The beginning of our modern history. I stared at these things and knew, yet again, that I wasn’t fully grasping how truly old these objects are.
I enjoyed the art museum and left happy. And this time I did find a bus stop, right in front of the museum, that would connect me to the other trains and buses I needed to get back to the airbnb. An hour later I was standing in front of an ice cream store, how convenient, so I got myself a scoop of ice cream to help ease my walk back.
I was hoping to walk in the park this evening to look for fireflies but the weather decided to rain again, so I will continue checking but it isn’t looking good.
Tomorrow is my last day. My flight leaves a little before 2pm tomorrow so I won’t have much time and am debating what I will do. Hang out at the cafe again? The park? The botanic gardens? There are too many options so for now I am not making a decision, because no decision needs to be made! I shall see how I feel tomorrow and play it by ear and be stress free. This solo vacation and I have melded together very naturally. I wish I had gone on one sooner but am pleased that it’s happened now rather than later. I have so enjoyed my time!