Having to return home for the rest of the semester, I’m thinking a lot about how much I miss St. Louis. Still, this time to reflect has made me so excited to continue to explore the city when I return to campus.
One of my favorite spots that I explored this year was Union Station, which just opened recently. Union Station is a recreational area inside of what used to be a popular train station. It’s incredibly easy to get to from campus, as the Metro stops right in front of it. Once you arrive, there’s so much to do, see, and, my personal favorite, eat.
I visited Union Station in February to see the new St. Louis Aquarium. I thought it was really cute how the Aquarium has a subtle train theme. This is especially apparently when you enter and sit inside a train simulator. Throughout your “ride,” you watch a fun video about the history of Union Station and learn a bit about what lives inside the nearby Mississippi River. Then, the first exhibit is life from midwestern bodies of water. My favorite part of this exhibit was getting to put my hand in a tank of fish that suck dead skin off. I’d only ever seen this on TV, so I was excited to experience how it feels. It’s a strange sensation, but it was really cool to feel how soft my hands were after.
The rest of the aquarium featured a ton of amazing sea life: Sharks, piranhas, otters, and even sting rays that you could touch! I also got to see Lord Stanley, a rare blue lobster named after the Stanley Cup, which the St. Louis Blues won last year. This was especially cool since I got to see the Stanley Cup in person on campus in the fall during Chancellor Martin’s inauguration celebration.
Although I thought my Union Station adventure would end after the Aquarium, I realized once I got there how much more there is to it. The station features attractions such as a ropes course, carousal, ferris wheel, and multiple restaurants. I decided to get dinner at the Union Station Soda Fountain, which was a great choice. While I waited for my table at this retro diner, I got to explore a huge candy shop inside. All the sweet choices were enticing, but I decided to save my appetite, and I’m so happy I did. From all the typical diner offerings, I chose a cheeseburger and fries, which were delicious. But the highlight of the meal was the dessert: A giant “Freak Shake.” These shakes are topped with treats like full slices of cake, cookies, and cotton candy. As I drank mine, I looked out the window to see a beautiful fire show on a man-made lake at the center of the station.
Even after downing that entire shake, I wasn’t ready to leave just yet. I finished the evening atop the 200-foot St. Louis Ferris Wheel. From my temperature-controlled gondola I got to see the whole city. Even the Arch!
Now when I think about St. Louis, I think about that wonderful night at Union Station. To pass the time indoors, I even painted the Ferris Wheel to feel like I’m back there again. I’m so excited to bring my family next time they visit, and I’d highly recommend checking it out.