Monday, May 3, 2010

A Fun Place In St Louis

The St Louis City Museum got a writeup in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, mainly about the lawsuits stemming from injuries incurred within.

"We like to be the devil's advocate for society," says Bob Cassilly, the museum's 60-year-old founder, a self-described "idiot savant" with wild gray hair. "When you have millions of people do something, something's going to happen no matter what you do."

The City Museum, housed in 10-story brick building, shows none of the restraint or quiet typical of museums. A cross between a playground and a theme park, it recycles St. Louis' industrial past into such attractions as slides made from assembly-line rollers. Just about everything can be touched or climbed, including dozens of Mr. Cassilly's sculptures, among them a walk-through whale on the first floor.

Despite the whiff of danger, or perhaps because of it, the City Museum is one of St. Louis's most popular attractions. Its 700,000 annual attendance is roughly twice the population of St. Louis and dwarfs the turnout at refined destinations such as the St. Louis Art Museum.

We've been there twice and it's a blast for kids and for grownups who remain kids at heart. So, yes, I had fun. It's definitely a place to go to if you're ever in St Louis. There's a hint of danger as well, but it wouldn't be fun without it.

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