Ultimate Tourist St. Louis – Valerie Whitlock

Valerie Whitlock, Age: 12, Grade: 7
Parkway Northeast Middle School

Essay

St. Louis has many fun things to do. Most people focus on the famous things, such as the St. Louis Zoo, The Gateway Arch, and The Muny. I am going to tell you about places some people may not know exist. Such as the Federal Reserve Bank, the Blues Museum, and Shakespeare in the Park.

The first place I visited this summer in St. Louis was Shakespeare in the Park. It’s a free experience in Shakespeare Glen located in Forest Park and this year the performance was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was nice to listen to the play while leaning back in our chairs and looking at the stars. You didn’t have to sit up close to enjoy it. I was behind a tree and still loved the performance.

The next place we visited this summer was the Inside the Economy Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. You learn all about money and the economy like how to spend money and what you can earn at different jobs. There is an interactive survey to see which profession you might like, mine was makeup artist. There was also an interactive area and it involved many people. Here you tried to see who could earn the most money in about two minutes only selling wheat. I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body as I stood there clicking on random buttons trying to make the most money. It was a fun way to learn how my earning and spending money plays a part in the economy.

The final thing we did just opened this year. We went to the National Blues Museum. When you go inside, there are videos and facts telling the history of blues music, from the very beginning to now. As you walk down the hall you hear music in the distance as one of the staff demonstrates an old player piano and how it plays by itself, she also lets you look inside. Continuing on you see an interactive activity where you can write your own lyrics to a blues song. In different parts of the museum, you learn about the musicians and their blues’ instruments. You also have the option to add a harmonica, a piano, and eventually guitar to your lyrics. I learned how to play the washboard, which vibrated my hand when I put it in a song. Walking through the museum you learn about local musicians, like Chuck Berry, and how the blues inspired famous bands like The Beatles. At the end you get to listen to your final piece of blues music. You can create an album cover and have the whole song emailed to you.

At the end of the summer I realized I had done things I didn’t even know existed. There are so many things to do in St. Louis, why not try something new? I can’t wait until next summer when I get to explore other new, cool, places.

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