This is the fourth post about our family's adventures in Missouri. If you haven't already, I recommend reading the first, second, and third posts about this trip. Because I blog about educational travel, I received complimentary admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the places we visited throughout the trip. Many attractions are free to everyone; I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I share is something that I fully recommend.
Family-Friendly Fun in St. Louis, Missouri
On Monday, July 22, we headed west from St. Louis toward Missouri's capitol, Jefferson City. The 120 mile drive basically followed the Missouri River....
... which we crossed more than once before we reached our destination: the Missouri State Capitol building. Uh oh - construction.
Thoughts of New Jersey were on our minds as we walked around the building toward what we hoped would be a visitor entrance.
Success! The entrance was well-marked and we had no trouble finding our way in. The first stop was at the information desk, where Trevor got a stamp in his Capitol Collection book. We're making excellent progress getting it filled! (Need helpful tips for visiting state capitols with kids?)
We took some time exploring the building and visiting the Missouri State Museum, located in the Capitol.
One of the more unusual items on display was this shoe, owned by Ella Ewing. I'd never heard of her, but her story is as interesting as her custom-made size 24 shoe. It dwarfs my size 6.5, which I took off and asked Trevor to hold for comparison. (Remember how I said that Trevor is cooperative and easy-going? Not all teenagers would pose nicely holding their mother's shoe. I really appreciate that kid.)
If you go, allow time to visit the Capitol grounds.
We were pleased to find the Liberty Bell replica prominently on display. We didn't know it at the time, but the next Capitol we visited would have their Liberty Bell in a very surprising location.
We had lunch in Jefferson City at the outstanding Prison Brews.
The decor is all prison-themed...
... as are the brews.
I thought the razor wire and cell numbers on the booths was a fun touch.
Steve and I shared a small flight of beers, which were delicious.
The food was fantastic. We split a pork tenderloin sandwich, tater tots, and loaded fries. Yum.
We said goodbye to Jefferson City and continued driving west for another 150 miles. That brought us to this fabulous location in Kansas City:
Yes, it's a parking garage, with barriers painted like pencils. The other side of it is much more famous.
This awesome parking garage with the book-themed facade, stairs, and benches is located at the Kansas City Central Library. After exploring outside, we went into the library and discovered (along with the expected books, computers, and other resources) an art gallery featuring the work of Ralph Steadman. So cool. Libraries are the perfect place for art.
Our next destination was the historic City Market.
We strolled along the shops...
... before popping in to KC Soda Co. They boast over 1300 varieties of soda.
The drinks were arranged by flavor.
This was my favorite section. The top shelf says, "Caution: These Sodas are Gross." The bottom shelf has "Novelty Labels that Taste Okay." LOL!
We let Trevor pick out a few interesting sodas for us to share, including this beaut. I'm pleased to report that it was quite tasty, with a sort of caramel vanilla flavor.
I'd heard about Pigwich over and over. When we went in and saw Guy Fieri stenciled on the wall, that just reinforced that we'd found a winner.
We knew we wanted to try the Pigwich, but there were so many other tempting items.
We split a couple of items and everything was absolutely delicious. But the Pigwich was the star. Yum.
The next stop was our hotel, where we'd be staying for the next three nights. I'd really struggled finding just the right hotel for us in Kansas City. As I shared not too long ago, I go through a 4-step process to pick a hotel. Step 1 is about location. In this case, our KC activities would be taking us to many different parts of town, so there wasn't one obvious best location. I moved on to price and quickly learned that a reasonably-priced hotel in downtown KC is no longer reasonably priced when you factor in parking costs. By crossing the Missouri River and going just five miles north of downtown, I was able to find a very nice hotel that was cheaper than the downtown options and had free parking. Traveling an extra five miles would only add a few minutes onto our drive each day but would save over $100 in parking fees alone.
I moved on to read the reviews and knew the Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff would be perfect for us. And it was. The room was huge, clean, and comfortable. The staff was welcoming and helpful.
Check out the view from our room! The Courtyard Briarcliff is up on a bluff and has spectacular views of downtown. It was a great place to establish our temporary home base.
Tomorrow I'll tell you about our first full day in Kansas City. You won't believe how much we packed into a single day! Once you see all the fun things we did, I won't be surprised if some of you start planning your own Kansas City vacation.