Tuesday, March 20, 2007

City Museum

"where the imagination runs wild."

'Housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company, the museum is an eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, the museum opened for visitors in 1997 to the riotous approval of young and old alike. Cassilly and his longtime crew of 20 artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city; and, as a result, it has urban roots deeper than any other institutions'. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, the CITY MUSEUM boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes! '

With 600,00 sqaure feet to create and play in, the options are limitless. When I went for the first time, I was crawling in tight tunnels underground, jumping on slides three stories tall and climbing airy ironwork four stories above the streets of Saint Louis. Every inch of this wonderland lit up my senses; sights, sounds, smells, and constant tactile exploration.

In one section I discovered Art City, a huge series of rooms filled with art supplies and children in spattered smocks. In one far corner of this room was an employee creating a six foot mosaic mermaid. Yet another room brought rough subterrenean caverns to explore - covered in sculptural suggestions of fantastical creatures. I caresses an eight foot gargoyle with wings slightly extended and climbed through carney trailers in the Museum of Mirth, Mystery and Mayhem. And then there were the six-story spiral slides, once used as a method of transporting shoes from the top to the bottom floor of this monolithic building.

If you are a creative soul, or just looking for a unique experience, be sure to stop by the City Museum in Saint Louis. Dress like you want to climb some playground equipment and be prepared to get lost in this wonderous place for several hours. You will not regret it in the least!