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Family Travel: Explore St. Louis

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Family Travel: Explore St. Louis

Growing up I went on a ton of road trips with my family. My kids are at a good age that we can now go on long car rides without a problem. I decided that this summer would be a good time to start exploring the Midwest.  A few weeks ago my kids, mother in law piled in the car and headed to St. Louis! I had only been to St. Louis for a wedding about 10 years ago. We were all excited to Explore St. Louis!

The kids got  super excited when they saw The Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium (even if we are Cubs fans it was cool to see!) and the "Are we there yet?" finally stopped.  We drove directly to Forest Park, which is in the heart of St. Louis. You could spend several days exploring Forest Park, its the 7th largest urban park in North America. It also contains all of the St. Louis major museums and the Zoo. Our first stop was at the St. Louis Zoo, which is a free Zoo.

It was a hot day and we were ready to check out our home for the next two nights. Hotel Ignacio is located in Midtown and near Saint Louis University. It is a cool boutique hotel, has reasonable rates and  was very family friendly. We loved that Hotel Ignacio was centrally located to everything we had planned to do while visiting St. Louis. The hotel has two restaurants which was very convenient especially when traveling with kids. We found ourselves starting and ending our day at Triumph Grill.

We headed out the first evening to visit the Gateway Arch up close and personal! It is something to see in person and not just from the highway. It was fun to go up in the arch and be able to cross that off our bucket list.

We decided to skip breakfast on our 2nd day in St. Louis and go to Pappy's Smokehouse for an early lunch. This was the best decision ever! The BBQ blew us away! If it weren't for the long lines, we would of gone back and brought pulled pork home with us. If you are ever in St. Louis, you must eat at Pappy's.

We headed to City Museum. I will be honest, I didn't know what to expect when we first stepped into this unique place. It is housed in a former international shoe building. You will find repurposed architectural and industrial objects through out your visit. Once you get your kids into the City Museum they will not want to leave!! They do not have maps but that is the best part of the adventure!  Mia and Dylan had a blast exploring every inch of this place. I  went down the 10 foot slide and on the Ferris Wheel with Dylan. We paid an extra $5 to go to the roof, which was a perfect way to tend the day. My mother in law and I were able to sit back in adirondack chairs and enjoy a cocktail (yes they have Bars in the city museum!). The kids already want to go back to City Museum. 

We had worked up quite an appetite exploring the City Museum for 5 hours. We headed to Fountain on Locust for dinner. Since we were in vacation mode, I let both of the kids start of their meal with a float. They of course were in heaven! The menu was unique but also had something for everyone in the family to enjoy. We went overboard on the desserts but isn't that what vacation is all about? We had a blast visiting St. Louis. It is a very family friendly city. The only complaint I have is...we wish we had stayed longer! Until next time St. Louis.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and my own.

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Road Trip Must Haves

Greetings from the Carolinas!  We just completed our longest family road trip yet - 1,000 miles!  I'm not going to lie, we are a modern family with an SUV equipped with an entertainment system, but with kids who are not car sleepers, it would take more Disney movies than these two parents could handle to fill 16 hours of travel time.

Fun fact: the record in our family for fastest "Are we there yet?" is by Ellie who asked if we were 500 miles away in Tennessee before we were out of our subdivision.  I kid you not.  So, for your next trip in the car, we put together our road trip must haves to keep your kids from saying, "ARE WE THERE YET????"

road trip must haves

In my opinion, music sets the tone for the trip.  It's not easy to find something everyone agrees on, but our entire family loves Jewel's The Merry Goes Round (4) and Elizabeth Mitchell's You Are My Little Bird (7).  Both albums are light and fun and easy for parents to listen to, too.

A well fed kid is a happy kid and the ZoLi Travel Snack Dispenser (10) and the Boon Snack Ball (2) keep snacking simple.

Now for fun and games.  I recently overheard on whatever morning television show was on while trying to get the kids out the door that more parents hand their fussy babies iPhones than pacifiers, snacks or other toys.  An amazing statistic!  As always, Fisher Price is their to fill the void with the Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case (9) that allows an iPhone or iPad to become baby proofed.  If your children are a little more mature, we love the LeapPad (12).

Nothing says Road Trip! like Roadtrip Bingo (14)!  50 Travel Games and Activities (13), Brain Quest for the Car (5), Tic Tac Toe on the Go (1)Mosaic, Mo Travel Puzzle (3) and Kids' Ultimate US Road Trip Atlas (6) are all great additions to keep in the center console.  Break out the crayons for My Travel Journal (8) and Crayola Doodlebag (11) to get artsy to pass the time.

Still not sure if you'll survive the impending road trip?  My mom gave us this tip before we left - wrap up little presents and give them to the kids along with way.  It can be anything - something from the Target Dollar Spot, a new coloring book, DVD to watch on the trip, etc.  Pick a distance like every 100 or 200 miles and celebrate the milestone with a little something to keep them busy until the next one.

Are you a family road trip pro?  What are your road trip must haves?  Share them in the comments below, tweet us @lilstylefile or post on our Facebook Wall!

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