To be honest, Ryan and I were a little nervous and afraid we would be worn out and impatient with the kids during the trip. But it went much better than we thought and everyone had a great time. Maybe because we didn't have our own 'adult agenda' of dining in great restaurants, fitting in an exploratory run, or sleeping late. We built our agenda around the kids (for the most part, see below) and it worked. Success!
Outdoor dining played a big part in the success of our trip. We stopped in Columbia on the way to St. Louis to break up the drive and ate in a great brewery thanks to a suggestion from a CoMo friend. Both kids and parents were happy with this choice.
It was raining when we got to St. Louis so we had to scrap our original plan to hit the zoo and instead went to the Magic House (KC friends, this is like a very upscale WonderScope and well worth the trip). We were content to roam around these activity filled rooms while it rained and thundered outside. It was a great way for the kids to release some energy after the long drive (we hit Friday afternoon traffic in St. Louis as a result of Ryan and I both squeezing in some exercise before leaving that morning. A price we were willing to pay).
I promised Charlie we would go to a place known for their root beer and sodas in St. Louis - so we went to Fitz's in University City. Not a place Ryan and I would choose on our own, but it was kid-friendly, service was fast and it was fun to walk around the U City loop - a college town feel in a big city.
And of course we had to hit Ted Drewe's for some ice cream. We sat on a bench in the parking lot and watched all the people stream in. Great entertainment for all.
Our choice of hotel was a compromise - the beautiful Union Station hotel. It was newly renovated, in fact we were the very first to stay in our room post-renovation. It was classy and pretty, reasonably priced. And it had a great outdoor pool (i.e. kid friendly!)
We walked to breakfast Saturday morning and it was hot. Then we had to wait for a table and the kids were tired and hungry. I had a granola bar in my bag that staved them off, and walking around the city sidewalks kept them entertained while we waited. The Rooster was well worth the wait and the french toast sticks were a hit with C and Iz.
Our seats at the game were very kid-friendly, in the last row of the bleachers. No one behind us so the kids could stand up if they wanted. We didn't buy Izzy a ticket at all, 3 and under get in free. Glad we didn't as there was plenty of space around us. Win win!
Our last morning was our best planned. We substituted a swim in the hotel pool for a trip to the zoo on what was shaping up to be a very hot and humid morning (I remembered all of our suits!). We had a quick juice and muffin in the hotel and headed straight for the pool - no waiting for breakfast = happy kids! After we packed up and checked out, we grabbed lunch at the Forest Park Boat House. The kids fed the ducks while Ryan and I sipped iced tea in the shade of an umbrella. The food wasn't great, but the atmosphere was.
I was surprised at how well the trip went for all of us. Charlie was a great traveler - excited to try new things and loved walking everywhere. Izzy needs another couple years to be considered a great traveler, but she did pretty well (minus the incident of not getting to the bathroom in time at the City Museum!). We walked at least 15,000 steps around the city on Saturday and we only carried her a few times - not bad! Am looking forward to our next mini-road trip together.