Saint Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
The St. Louis Art Museum has so many wonderful permanent exhibits, it’s tough to choose just one for this article. St. Louisans love their Monet water lilies, pre-Columbian treasures and suits of armor. But in the end, it’s the mummies in the Ancient Art collection that every local remembers seeing as a child and returns to visit as an adult. Most people who grew up in the Lou can’t resist the guilty pleasure of peeking at the mummies on every visit to the Museum.
1904 World’s Fair
Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park
5700 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63112
Why is the Lou so fascinated by the 1904 World’s Fair? No one knows, but it’s true. That fair changed the landscape of Forest Park forever and brought the city its Art Museum and the statue of King Louie himself. It also symbolized the hopes and dreams of a generation of people living here at the Gateway to the West. The 1904 World’s Fair exhibit at the Missouri History Museum houses photos, artifacts and artworks that capture the optimism and excitement of the period perfectly.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
12580 Rott Road
St. Louis, MO 63127
Although Laumeier’s gallery hosts rotating exhibits, the heart of the park is the collection of large-scale, permanent outdoor installation sculptures. The collection is impressive and encountering massive sculptures while walking through wooded paths or across an open field is a perfect viewing experience. Several individual works have become St. Louis icons, including Tasset’s giant eyeball and Liederman’s massive oil drum sculpture, “The Way.”
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701 N. 15th St.
St Louis, MO 63103
www.citymuseum.orgSt. Louisans are quick to reassure you that City Museum isn’t really like a museum; it’s more of an indoor playground. But when Bob Cassilly designed the space, he was definitely thinking in terms of interactive art, expanding the definition of a museum into something fun and playful. One of his brilliant innovations was to open the museum in 1997, before the space was completed. Visitors would walk around taped-off sections of the floor where the mosaic artists were working, sketching designs and filling them with recycled tile, mirror, industrial floor sweepings and even old watchbands. Now that much of the floor, support beams and wall surfaces of the museum are covered in glittering, textured mosaic, the city feels a special ownership of the work.
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
Seiwa-En, the Japanese Garden at Missouri Botanical Garden, is one of the largest Japanese strolling gardens in North America. Paths, stones, islands, water features, bridges, lanterns and plantings combine to create an aesthetic whole that visitors can enjoy year-round. Snow is considered the flower of the garden in winter and highlights the fact that the entire garden is a giant sculpture of natural materials, designed to be viewed from within. As the visitor strolls through the garden, features are concealed and revealed, offering an ever-changing view and making the viewer’s movements part of the work itself.
Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.