Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

The City Museum in St. Louis


This summer, we took a family trip to St. Louis. Lori, Ben and I drove to meet her brother and his family, who were driving a remarkably similar distance from Michigan. We spent four days together in blissful Midwestern family vacation nirvana, complete with the Arch, fireworks, packed swimming pools, full minivans, and late nights with tired kids.

The highlight of the entire trip, though, was a trip to the City Museum of St. Louis. With all due respect to the endless numbers of wonderful museums in the world of all different types, some of which I've had the pleasure visiting, the City Museum is the most incredible museum I have ever experienced. I think it alone is worth a visit to St. Louis.

I can't think of anything to compare it to, so try to imagine if Willy Wonka built a museum instead of a chocolate factory (minus the Oompa Loompas). If you had the pleasure of knowing my father, John Bailey, through friendship or relation, then you must make a pilgrimage to St. Louis as soon as possible. It expresses his creativity, craziness, fondness for the unexpected and love of children perfectly. As soon as you walk in, you'll know what I mean. Here is a small hint of what's inside.

It's an entire world to explore. You can climb, crawl, hide, and run. You can touch anything. You will see some of the most inventive and clever combinations of objects. And you will smile throughout at the madcap brilliance of it all.

You could easily spend an entire day there, but try to avoid the hottest part of the summer as much of it is outside. Anyone of any age would probably enjoy it, but if you have children over 8, they will have a ball. The environment is so safe and inviting that you'll soon find yourself, and your children, doing things you'd never expect. Just click on the picture to get closer look - those really are people crawling through the air.

I was going to put together a photo album, but then I found a fun one of the museum's site. I'll still try to post a few more that give a better idea of the many twists and turns. If you're anywhere near St. Louis, make sure you stop by.

Visit the site | View the photo tour