Offbeat St. Louis

With museums dedicated to dogs and recycled materials, St. Louis just may be the offbeat attraction capital of America. You can decide for yourself during your next visit to the sometimes-wacky Gateway to the West.

See the world’s only completely recycled museum when you visit the art-filled playground of City Museum — an intriguing mix of history, architecture and whimsy. Don’t let the name fool you. This defiantly no-tech, hands-on warehouse of adventure, located in a former shoe manufacturing facility in downtown St. Louis’ Washington Avenue loft district, has nothing to do with city history. An outdoor playground called MonstroCity, a walk-through whale, indoor performances by everydaycircus, the world’s largest pair of underpants and a pint-size railroad are just some of the offbeat museum’s treasures. Head up to the rooftop for more adventure where you will find a Ferris Wheel and slides (including a three-story slide on top of a 10-story building). The World Aquarium has set up shop inside City Museum with a please-touch attitude toward its tanks of baby sharks, stingrays, turtles and other assorted water-loving creatures.

One man’s passion for collecting just about everything related to popular culture has created Blueberry Hill in The Loop neighborhood. In addition to its reputation for food and music, the restaurant is known as home to the world’s best jukebox and eclectic collections that range from Chuck Berry’s guitar to Howdy Doody items and vintage lunchboxes. Outside, along Delmar Boulevard, a changing window display at Blueberry Hill often includes performance art, and Loop merchants sell a variety of goods and services that will delight seekers of the offbeat.

Get your kicks on Route 66 by visiting St. Louis’ Museum of Transportation. It’s home to more than 300 moving vehicles including locomotives, streetcars, aircraft and automobiles.

The passenger car collection includes the 1964 Bobby Darin “Dream Car” and a 1901 St. Louis car – a four-seat, single or two-cylinder engine vehicle with tiller steering.

The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog may sound offbeat, but in reality its exhibits are dedicated to the history of the dog in art. You’ll have plenty of fun learning all about man’s best friend through the Dog Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibits. Good attractions also come in small packages. The Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis is where you’ll find everything from cute dollhouses to an entire recreated western town on display.

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