Friday, June 7, 2019

The Great American Family Vacation (Planning): Missouri

Every year we try to do something that we can call a "vacation". We only get to be bums on a beach once every five years if we're lucky, but we do like to do road trips. Thankfully our kids are pretty accustomed to being in the car to go anywhere fun, so that's pretty helpful.

This year we knew that we wanted to do something but we couldn't afford to go real far. We have this goal to see all 50 states so we decided we would go to a state that's far enough to feel like a big trip, but not too far where we're gone for almost two weeks and spending a ton of money on gas. I'm finding that my ability to coordinate a trip for a bunch of days is REALLY difficult and I almost always bungle it and screw something up and Matt has to patiently try to fix my mix up and I spend the rest of the trip completely confused. We live in Wisconsin, we're in Minnesota all of the time, and we've been to Illinois, South Dakota, and Nebraska, so it kind of narrowed down our options, which is kind of nice. We settled on....

I know, it doesn't sound exciting. Missouri has never been a place I was super excited about visiting, but it IS a state and it IS on the map and if we want to see all 50 we have to see Missouri. May as well get 'er over with. AmIright?

We don't have a bunch of days because hotels in the summer are kind of ridiculously priced. For perspective, I spent more money on five nights of hotels in Missouri than I did in a two bedroom condo for 7 nights in Florida on the damn beach.

Who do you think you are, Missouri?

So the game plan is pretty loose right now and we might say screw it and do things completely different, but this is what Olivia and Jackson suggested as they diligently paged through a visitor guide and things online:
Silver Dollar City.... which is JUST AS MUCH as a damn day at Disney and quite frankly, this looks like a really watered down, not as magical Disney (a lot of similar rids like Dumbo and tea cups but this is like the generic version). For us to go is almost $300 for one day. I'm not kidding. But it's cheaper than Six Flags in St. Louis and gets better reviews so that's what they picked. 
MY pick was a show boat! So this is super dorky and I see you rolling your eyes and laughing at me. But a long, long time ago when I was in elementary school, I had a music teacher who made us memorize composers and their most famous pieces but in between that she made us watch musicals. (Honestly, I thinks she is the reason I think musicals are stupid as an adult and I don't like theater.) Anyways, so I remember one which actually maybe was called Show Boat or something and I just remembered thinking the boat was super cool. And the whole ambiance of it. So when I saw an actual, for real show boat was a thing- I decided we are all going to go so I can say I've been on a show boat. It's completely stupid, but there it is. 
We are going to stop in St. Louis on our way home (and spend like two nights there) so I knew I absolutely HAD to see the Gateway Arch. To me it's like the Bean in Chicago, it's weird, but you just have to say you've seen it. Actually, I'm fairly certain I have seen it when I was little and we drove from Florida to Minnesota as we were moving but it would have been in the distance so that doesn't count. Matt informed me he's already seen it so he's not interested but I reminded him the REST of his family wants to go. The kids were alright with it but when I told them we are 100% going to the top, Jackson looked like he was going to puke.

Obviously, we're still going because that is how childhood memories are made. 
Olivia and Jackson are interested in weird things so I thought we could go to the Science Center because it's technically free but I wrote down $30 so we much be doing something there that is $5 for each person. My plan was to do this on our last morning, poop everyone out, eat lunch, and then power home and have people take a decent nap the first chunk of the drive. 
Oh! And we were going to go to the St. Louis Zoo because the little girls LOVE animals and they have a bunch of different things to do and it looks fun.

I have a few other maybe things, some restaurants to maybe eat at, and some indie bookstores that might be fun (don't pretend you didn't know I'd sneak at least one in). I booked hotels and I'm considering buying tickets for things in advance so I don't feel like we're shelling out money like crazy and maybe able to avoid lines at things.

So if you live in Missouri, in the Branson or St. Louis area, and know of a thing that kids ages 3-13, me, and a crabby adult who doesn't like much, would like to do that is free or cheap..... let me know.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

You know, I've never been to Missouri but I've heard good things about both Branson and St. Louis, though I'm not surprised that Branson is kind of expensive. I'll have to see if I can find things you all can do, but what you have written down so far sounds great.


Shann Eva said...

Hey! We were thinking of road tripping to St. Louis too! When are you going to be there? We can't go until August because of all the activities and my work. It'd be fun to meet up in person!

coach-daddy said...

Consider an Airbnb - we usually find really great prices and it feels like home. Also, if you're a member at a local zoo, some zoos will reciprocate and let you in there for free or half off. You'll have a blast! said...

We love the St. Louis Zoo! Admission is free, but there are lots of "extras". If you are interested in any of the shows, carousel, etc., consider purchasing a family pass for $90. With 6 in your family, it can pay for itself pretty quickly! Just an idea. Enjoy!!