St. Louis Takes Your Breath Away

Wednesday May 23, 2012

In St. Louis, the phrase “Been there … Done that!” does not apply. From taking in a new sea lion show to playing with fire, there’s always something new and exciting to do in the “Lou” – so much so, it may take your breath away.

You can travel to the far side of the world with a trip to St. Louis in 2012. The Missouri Botanical Garden has declared it the “Year of China” and is hosting a never-before-seen in the United States exhibition, “Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night,” from May 26 through August 19. Twenty-six huge and elaborate lanterns will be designed for the festival and placed throughout the scenic garden. The artistic steel and silk lanterns range from towering terracotta warriors and Chinese opera masks to porcelain dragons rising from the garden’s fountains in honor of the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Dragon in 2012. At night the Garden will host special events that feature the illuminated lanterns in a spectacular display of lights and colors, Thursdays through Sundays.

The Saint Louis Zoo’s California sea lions will have a new home in the summer of 2012. The new exhibit will combine two popular areas, the current Sea Lion Basin and the Sea Lion Arena into one major complex – Sea Lion Sound. The project includes a state-of-the-art sea lion habitat, Sea Lion Landing, with salt-water pools, underwater viewing tunnel and a new 850-seat sea lion arena.

Nothing says pure happiness like the sight of a furry pal riding in the car with his people. When you come to St. Louis, bring your four-legged best friend along for the fun. At Laumeier Sculpture Park, a new multi-sensory dog trail has opened for canines and their humans. The park, one of only two accredited museums in the United States that allows dogs, now includes six interactive stations exploring the way our companion animals experience the outdoors.

Dog parks are located all across the St. Louis area and even Lambert-St. Louis International Airport has a fenced and grass-covered area for traveling tail waggers. Downtown, City Garden offers two blocks of on-leash romping room among the plantings, fountains and contemporary art. You and your Fido can enjoy the dog run at Queeny Park before a visit to the AKC Museum of the Dog. The fine arts museum is filled with the country’s largest collection of dog art. Tasty treats, fresh water and a place to exercise outdoors are all part of the Dog Museum’s fur-friendly experience.

At Six Flags St. Louis, Bonzai Pipeline, an extreme body slide, will be added to Hurricane Harbor, its 12-acre water park. This ultimate wipeout experience will feature twin, looping slides that sit side by side and the Proslide Skybox launching capsule. After reaching the top of the 6-story structure, guests will step into the enclosed capsule where the floor drops out beneath them, sending them free-falling down the slide and into a side “super loop.” Riders will surf the 290-ft. slide at up to 40 mph. Bonzai Pipeline’s clear tubes allow spectators below to watch riders as they shoot through the 360˚ loops and splash out into the water below.

Using artifacts from its extensive collection and local collectors, the Missouri History Museum presents FIRE! Friend and Foe through September 3, 2012. Visitors will learn the history of St. Louis’ volunteer and professional firefighters and gain an understanding of the horrors and heroism of fires—including the Great Fire of 1849. Exhibit highlights include industrial tools associated with blacksmithing, welding, and brewing; outdoor camping and grilling items; domestic objects such as cast iron stoves, fireplace tools—and 19th century toys fueled by fire! Historic objects, images, and stories will explore the surprising ways fire is both a friend and foe.

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