So I decided to talk about how I spent Wednesday in the park. Naturally, ”the park” in Saint Louis usually means Forest Park which is the largest of the 111 parks within the city’s boundaries. If you want to include the parks in Saint Louis County, you’d have to add 64 more. So in all, there are 175 parks within the land bordered by the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. But I usually just visit two or three.
Anyway, on Wednesday I went to Forest Park to celebrate the birthday of my oldest friend, Mr. Bill. He’s not really my oldest friend age-wise, it’s just that we’ve been friends for over forty continuous years and we live in opposites ends of the metropolitan area. I live in the north county, and he lives in the south city. So Forest Park, being in the middle, is a convenient place to meet. It’s also the sight of the Boathouse Restaurant.
We also decide to take advantage of the Great Art Free Every Day at the Saint Louis Art Museum. But that will have to wait for my next post.
To be continued …
In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture which means FORWARD to you!
It’s the monument to the namesake and patron of our city … LOUIS IX – Saint and King Of France! He sits on a charger at the top of a high hill in the center of the park overlooking the city and hopefully inspiring his citizens. Just look at that pose and tell me that the sculptor wasn’t thinking FORWARD when he created the statue.
INFORMATION ON THE STATUE: The title of the statue is Apotheosis of St. Louis. It was originally designed as a plaster model by Charles Henry Niehaus in 1904 for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (Saint Louis World’s Fair) to stand at the entrance to the fair grounds on DeBaliviere and Lindell Blvds. After the fair closed a bronze version of the original plaster model was executed by W. R. Hodges and given to Forest Park by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company and installed at its current location in front of the St. Louis Art Museum in 1906.
As promised, here is my Tourist Trek to the Saint Louis Municipal Theatre located on a hillside in Forest Park. It was established in 1917 which makes it not only the oldest, but also the largest outdoor theater in the US. The first production in 1917 was actually the opera AIDA …
and for many years it was known as the Municipal Opera. But grand opera doesn’t play there much these days and most of the local folk simply call it …
The Box-office and whatever you call a mural on the ground.
The theater seats 11,000 people for each performance. And the last nine rows or 1,500 seats are FREE SEATS that are given away on a first-come basis. I’ve spent a lot of summer evenings in the FREE SEATS.The stage is rather large, too. So the big production numbers really are BIG! The center of the stage is the world’s largest revolving stage, which allows for some pretty fast scene changes.
The Muny season runs from June to August with six to eight musical productions each year that range from the latest Broadway hits to the sentimental favorites from the past. And while Saint Louis summers do occasionally get a little hot, the theater’s location in the tree-shaded park make it one of the cooler locations in town for an enjoyable summer evening … except when it rains.
A place where people and dogs can share the wonders of fall.Wonderful Waterways!Floral Fountains!Relaxing Reflections!Pure escape from the world around you.Roots!Wondering how many people have tasted the ornamental peppers to see if they’re really hot.
You can ride the Trolley around the park stopping and getting on to visit all the sites for just $2:oo for the entire day. And it takes you to and from the MetroLink train station. Unfortunately, no one ever followed through with my suggestion to add a Clang, CLANG, CLANG! sound when it stops and starts.
And at the end of your visit!
Every fall, FOREST PARK FOREVER, the contributor supported organization that plans and maintains the future of Saint Louis’ historic and landmark park in the heart of the city, holds a special get together FUN FEST for the families of its members. And Sunday was that celebration. Since we had been plagued rain and storms most of Saturday evening and throughout most of the over night hours, an outing in the park really seemed kind of iffy for Sunday. But by mid-morning the clouds began to break and the sun managed to peek through and the FUN FEST went off as scheduled.
The Fun Fest takes place on the park grounds surrounding the historic Visitors And Education Center. Yes, it’s a very Spanish looking building, but you have to remember … after the Native Americans and before the French the Spanish claimed these local lands.
The day kicked off at 11:00 with performance from the Muny Kid Chorus. These are the kids who appear in the various musical shows presented at the park’s Municipal Theater throughout the summer. (My Tourist Trek visit to the Muny will show up here about Wednesday.) At the Fun Fest the Kids sang and danced to an hour-long medley of songs from all of the summer’s shows. And they were really quite good!Most of the activities at the Fun Fest were directed at kids. They included pony rides …
Instructions on fly fishing …Introductions to birds of prey from animal experts from the Saint Louis Zoo…And also a demonstration on how the native turtles are tracked in the park lands with GPS. You have to remember Forest Park covers 1,371 acres in the middle of the city. These acres are filled with hills, valleys, streams, lakes, lagoons and a native forest …and also three museums, a planetarium, a zoo, ball fields, golf course, tennis and handball courts, a skating rink and sundry other features. And since 1876, it has, (for the most part) been free to all. End of tourist commercial … back to the Fun Fest.
And since Forest Park was the birthplace of the All-American Hot Dog on a Bun in 1904, it was only fitting that it should top the bill of fare for the day! (No photos of the dogs grilling … the waiting crowd was too thick around the grill.)
Tomorrow … Part Two – A Sunday Walk In The Park.
Special thanks to my great-nephew Jake for being a kid who can be amazed by everything from a turtle to a see-saw to dragons and will sort of stand still for an occasional photo.
Today’s theme from the 30DoC Inspiration Calendar was WATER. This meant I was either taking a trip down to walk along the Mighty Mississippi …
… or heading out to Forest Park for a walk along the many steams, lakes and fountains. I opted for Forest Park where I was able to capture a multitude of photos … all depicting the powers of cool, clear WATER.
Wading water bears!
And the wonder of nature’s wetlands.
I opted out for the historic Cascades in Forest Park. Would you go for the cool, clear, cascading water on a late spring day when the temp tops 90?
30 DoC – Day 9 – Water
TWISTED EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
I took this photo a couple of years ago while trekking through Forest Park. It was part of an exhibit of art created from found junk. I forgot about it at the time, and rediscovered it just last week while cleaning out my overloaded iPhoto files. So now it’s my Pick Pic Of The Week.
It’s not the same trolley that Esther Smith would have ridden from 5135 Kensington Avenue to Forest Park, that one is long gone. Actually, so is the Smith’s family home at 5135 Kensington. It was torn down a couple of years ago. The house the boy next door lived in is still standing, however.
The new Forest Park Trolley is a fleet of colorfully decorated MetroBuses that began operating this spring. I was able to get photos of both sides of the trolley’s recently.
The trolleys travel through the entire park making stops at all the places passengers would like to visit. The trolley ticket is good for the entire day for as many stops the passenger wishes to make.
The whimsical characters seen in the windows represent the many park attractions the trolley visits.
On this side of the trolley you can see from front to back … one of the baby elephants from the ZOO … Arthur Ashe from the ARTHUR ASHE TENNIS CENTER … a Native American maiden from the MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM … an astronaut from the MACDONALD PLANETARIUM … William Shakespeare from SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK … an opera singing from the MUNICIPAL OPERA which actually does musical shows and seldom an actual opera … and finally LOUIS IX KING OF FRANCE — saint and namesake of the city. The statue showing him triumphant on horse is located at the top of Art Hill overlooking the Grand Basin.
This side of the trolley shows Amelia Earhart who was the subject of dramatic presentation for kids in the auditorium at the MISSOURI HISTORICAL MUSEUM … a giraffe from the ZOO … a golfer from one of the two GOLF COURSES in the park … a couple of kids from the WORLD CLASS CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUND next to the VISITORS’ CENTER which just happens to the original TROLLEY STATION for the 1904 World’s Fair … Andy Warhol from the SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM which is the only remaining building built for the 1904 World’s Fair … and T. Rex from the SAINT LOUIS SCIENCE CENTER AND MUSEUM … by the way he’s holding an ICE CREAM CONE which is one of the items which first appeared at the 1904 World’s Fair and went on to become World Famous.
And guess what, that doesn’t cover all of the sites in Forest Park that you should see as a tourist. And it isn’t possible to go through all of them in a single day. But you can drive past all of them on the Forest Park Trolley.
My one quibble about the trolley … if I had been putting the trolley program together, I would added a recording to the bus’ audio system that would go CLANG, CLANG, CLANG at every stop the trolley made.