City Museum is located inside (and outside) a 100 year old warehouse in downtown St. Louis. Artists have repurposed the pieces of old cities to build miles of tunnels, slides, climbers, bridges and castles. There are secret passages, playgrounds and a cave inside the building.
- Arrive early. We arrived just before they opened at 10 am and got one of the last parking spots. It's $10 to park in the official parking lot and it's very convenient because you can go in/out of the museum with your wristband. No outside food/drink is allowed, except water bottles.
- Wear sneakers, pants and short sleeves. You'll be doing a ton of walking and climbing. Pants are helpful for the slides and short sleeves because it gets very hot inside the building. I've heard it's miserably hot in the summer.
- Bring flashlights and knee pads. I'm so glad I saw recommendations to bring flashlights and kneepads as both were very helpful to have. Although, I wish we had brought headlamps instead because it was hard to hold the flashlights while crawling. They have several flashlight, headlamp and headlamp hat options in the gift shop, but only one type of knee pad. Instead, I recommend buying the adjustable type that you can velcro over your pants.
- Know the rules. We got to the top of the 10 story slide and were told that absolutely no bags are allowed, including belt bags. It's a new rule and applies to all the slides that have attendants. I also saw many kids being turned away from slides who were under 48 inches tall.
- Empty your pockets. I lost my phone while sliding down a tunnel outside. It fell 4 stories down but thankfully landed in a net. Next time, I plan to wear pants with zipper pockets.
- Rent a locker. I highly recommend renting a locker. It's $8, but so handy to have a place to store your stuff. There are lockers on the 1st and 3rd floor. The 1st floor lockers are a bit more convenient, but we rented on the 3rd floor because they weren't nearly as busy (everyone uses the same kiosk to open lockers). The 3rd floor lockers are next to Toddler Town and there's a handy map of the museum painted on the wall near the lockers.
- Pick a meeting place. You will most likely get separated from your kids during your visit. Pick a meeting place ahead of time, so everyone knows where to go when that happens. My kids wore their Gizmo watches which was helpful because they would call when they couldn't find us.
- Buy Rooftop tickets. For those that are visiting for the first time, I recommend buying rooftop tickets (open March to October). It's not necessary and you can have a great experience without it, but there are some really fun things to see and do on the rooftop. My kids' favorite was driving the bus that's hanging off the roof, which made me queasy to look down from.
- Plan on 4-6 hours. The museum is huge and you can easily spend 4-6 hours there. We left after 5 hours and that's only because we were exhausted and needed a break from the chaos. Even after 5 hours, there were still areas of the museum that we never got a chance to explore.