Road Trip! Days 1-2: Charlotte to St. Louis

Currently I’m sitting shotgun while my mom drives down I-70 West. We’ve just spent 24 hours in St. Louis as the kick off to our epic westward road trip. But let’s back up a second and talk about preparation. I feel like it took me a full week to pack for this trip, including the important things like snacks and kid backpack surprises.

I was excited to surprise the girls with new art supplies, some puzzles and games, and these cute travel journals.

Mom arrived Saturday and on Sunday morning we were packed and ready to go bright and early. We wanted to be on the road by about 7:15 AM because we had 11 hours of driving to get under our belts the first day.

We loaded in and were off! Our first stop was only 2.5 hours later to get some breakfast in Asheville. We filed up at The Green Sage and I got another green tea for the road and we were off!

We alternated between iPad time for the girls and chatting for mom and me, and our audiobook, Wingfeather (which so far seems to live up to it’s shiny reputation of being adventurous and witty). Adventurous Audiobooks for Kids Ages 7-10

We played road bingo, searched for license plates to try and check all the states off our lists, drew pictures, and ate peanut M&Ms.

I think we made the right call of doing our longest day on the first day because we all felt fresh and it really went by quite quickly.

Around 6:45 PM we pulled into The Drury by the Arch in St. Louis. We unloaded and took all our luggage to our room with two queens. It was clean and had a fridge for our cold snacks and worked just fine for the night.

The best part was that we were right next to the arch. The girls changed into bathing suits to swim and we all headed to the observation deck to have dinner (which was pretzels, cheese, and almonds) with the view of the Arch.

Mom and I poured a vodka on the rocks to toast Grandma Betty. She would have been 101 year old that day, but she passed away in early 2020. We always got together on her birthday to celebrate it so it felt only right to have a toast dedicated to her with her favorite beverage.

We all were in bed by 10:00 and got a full night’s sleep to be ready for our busy morning in St. Louis.

In the morning we packed the car back up, walked across the street to grab breakfast at Starbucks, the wandered under the Arch down to the riverside. It was a Monday morning and so empty and peaceful.

The Arch museum opened at 9:00 AM and by the a line had formed. We ventured in to be able to get Jr. Ranger badges for the girls and I’m glad we did. The museum was super nice. Being only three years old, it feels quite fresh and is very hands on and interactive.

We finished up around 10:00 AM and hustled to the car to scoot down the road to the highly recommended City Museum.

I’m pausing here to try and find the right words to describe this place.

It’s unlike any other museum or kid-focused facility I’ve ever been. It’s a giant clash of art and play equipment. It’s insanity in the very best way and everyone that recommended it to me, thank you. It was such a unique and fun experience that I know the girls (and mom and I!) will be talking about for a long time.

There was bit of a line, but it moved fast. We paid to add on the rooftop experience and took the first window of time available, so we headed straight up!

We spent over an hour on the roof; riding the Ferris wheel, walking onto the bus that is hanging off the edge, going down slides, and practicing our climbing skills.

After we did everything there was to do, we headed to the lower outdoor level and spent the next solid three hours climbing, scooting, discovering secret passage ways and more. I don’t think we went on the same path twice; there is SO much to explore.

I snapped the best I could, but still don’t think these pictures do it justice. There is a ton to do inside too (like super dark caves with twists and turns and a 10 story slide), but I was too busy keeping up with the kids to remember to snap pictures.

It’s a must do for energetic kids (which, aren’t they all??). There is a toddler town area that is super neat, but I feel like this is probably best for kids ages 5+ because of keeping up with them and the skill level to climb so much. Also, they do sell food, but I recommend bringing food and going out into the parking lot for a picnic when you need it for cost and quality purposes.

The clock crept closer to 2:00 PM and we still had a six hour drive ahead of us, so we washed our hands super well, loaded up, and said so long to St. Louis!

We’re on the road now, snacking on pickles, popcorn, seasoned pretzels. I have no doubt we’ll all sleep well tonight! Onward…