Faust Park Historic Village

Today we took our last summer school field trip of the year (we’re running a little late this summer!). Faust Park’s historic village, which has buildings from the 1840s to the 1910s, was having an open house today. Since only Chickadee and I have ever walked around the village, and only when none of the buildings were actually open, I though it would be the perfect place to visit to cap off our studies of Westward Expansion and pioneer life.

There are  brick houses and log cabins, and several barns (and an outhouse!). Not all of them were open to tour, but we did get to go in quite a few. We also saw several gardens, and a few scarecrows.

It was interesting to see how the different houses were decorated. Some were obviously more upper class, and had carpets similar to the Lincoln home in Springfield and the Martin Mitchell mansion at the Naper Settlement,  while others were the homes of working class people. We especially liked the home belonging to a family of dairy farmers, which had several styles of churn on display. We also got to see the inside of a wash-house!

We came across different people in period dress, showcasing different skills like yarn spinning and blacksmithing. The girls also enjoyed having a chance to play along with a woman on the Appalachian Dulcimer.

As always, I was especially interested in the school-house. The whole building wasn’t much bigger than our school room!

We also drove to the other side of the park to see Thornhill Mansion. Around here it’s known for being the home of the second governor of Missouri, but we were interested in seeing it because Frederick Bates (who arrived in St. Louis the year after the Corps of Discovery opened the west to exploration), was first the Secretary of the Louisiana Territory, and also served as acting governor when Meriwether Lewis was absent…it fit right in with our Westward Expansion studies!

I’d like to go back and tour the mansion someday (it was one of the buildings that wasn’t open today), and maybe also go when they have a bigger event (like the heritage festival in September). It wasn’t as elaborate a village as the Naper Settlement, but it was a fun place to visit, and we all learned something, and made some new connections to local history!

The St. Louis Carousel

Did you know that today is National Carousel Day? I didn’t, until I saw that the St. Louis Carousel in Chesterfield’s Faust Park was offering free rides today in honor of the event!

St. Louis has plenty of carousels…mall merry-go-rounds, outdoor carousels at places like Grant’s Farm and the St. Louis Zoo, and even a carousel over a century old at Six Flags,  but none of them has a history like the St. Louis Carousel. Consisting of 60 horses and four antlered deer (as well as a few benches), it was built in the 1920s, and was originally installed at the long-defunct St. Louis Highlands Amusement Park. A fire destroyed the park in 1963, but the carousel was spared, and moved to Sylvan Springs Park. Eventually in the 1980s, it was restored and moved to Faust Park, where it operates today, rain or shine, except on Mondays. It normally costs two dollars to ride, which is probably why we hadn’t visited before this summer, but from what I can tell, the ride is both longer and faster (a real thrill, especially for smaller children like Chickadee), than any of the other carousels in the area, so it’s not a bad deal!

Faust Park is a great place to spend a day with children. In addition to the carousel, there’s a historic village, a butterfly house, and a fun playground. And since the carousel is in a climate-controlled building, it’s a great place to take a break on a hot summer day!

Park Day 2013

Today was our annual-ish “Park Day.” We did this two years ago, and decided it should be a yearly event, but last summer was so hot, we never got around to it. Today was absolutely beautiful, so we got out of the house for some playing (at eight different playgrounds!), and a picnic!

Park stop one was at Creve Coeur Park. We found three different playgrounds at this one location (and one of them was a complete surprise, even to me!).

Playground one had a splash pad (or sprayground, or spray park…whatever you want to call it!):

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Turkey tried to get Ladybug under this bucket before it dumped, but she’s pretty scrappy, and wouldn’t stand for it!

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Chickadee wasn’t too sure of the swing at first, but she warmed up to it pretty quickly!

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Ladybug got right to work on her monkey bar skills, which she practiced at pretty much every park we went to:

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Moose liked these “rock, paper, scissors” spinners:

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We also saw some evidence of the storm damage from over the weekend:

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Playground two, still at Creve Coeur Park, with some completely different equipment.

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This is also where we stopped for our picnic, since they have a fantastic pavilion:

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It had an amazing view of the lake:

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Playground three, again at Creve Coeur Park:

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There was a cool braille alphabet and puzzle (which was on the back):

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Plenty of new stuff to climb:

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And a slide built for three, which was great for races:

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We drove past the lake before we left, and saw just how flooded it is right now:

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The fourth playground we went to was at Faust Park. This was one of the most popular stops we made!

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More swinging:

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Then Chickadee got to try something other than swinging:

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Turkey loves rock-climbing walls:

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After a stop at the mall (that was for me!), we went to Central Park in Chesterfield, which is always a favorite.

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Even more swinging:

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And bouncing:

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We drove by “The Awakening,” which is always kind of weird to see.

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And the fairly new Amphitheater, which looks really nice!

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Playground six was pretty small, because it’s just a little park adjacent to the North Pointe Aquatic Center in Ballwin, and yet it was surprisingly popular with the children!

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What I learned today? My children would rather climb on top of the monkey bars than swing across them!

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Something else Chickadee could do:

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The tire swing was a lot of fun!

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This dog statue was very cute:

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The seventh place we visited was Vlasis Park in Ballwin, and it is one of the best playgrounds in the area (I think), because there’s just so much to do.

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Everyone wanted a turn riding next to Chickadee’s little sidecar…she was very amused about the whole thing.

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We found another sprayground (even I can’t decide what I want to call them!). I’m always the most fun mom at any park, because I play in the fountains, too!

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One last stop, at another playground we used to frequent way back when Moose was a baby: Millennium Park in Creve Coeur (back where we started):

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All parks should have signs like this!

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They’ve added a lot of stuff in the years since we were there last, including yet another spray park:

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There’s a bonus playground 8.5 here…it’s within sight of the main playground, unlike the ones we played at at Creve Coeur Park, which are spread out quite far apart, so I don’t count it as a whole other playground. Still fun, though!

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Bunny had fun with the telescopes and binoculars at every park that had them!

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It was a great way to spend a beautiful day…hopefully, the children sleep well tonight!

Park Day 2011

Since Ryan had the day off today, (after working all weekend), we decided to get out of the house, and make a tour of parks in the St. Louis area. Some were parks we’d been to before and loved, some were ones we’d driven past and always wanted to go to, and one was a previously unknown park, that a friend said we needed to check out.

We also did a little shopping while we were out, stopping at Petsmart to look at all the cute animals, and WalMart, so Bunny could spend her birthday money. We even walked around the St. Louis Galleria for a bit, (that was a treat for me), and went to lunch at Seamus McDaniel’s while we were out, (and got Slurpees for dessert!). But mostly today was all about parks–we played at five different playgrounds!

Vlasis Park, Ballwin, MO, (this park has some sprinklers built-in, but for some reason, they weren’t working today, which was too bad, since it was so hot!):

We also saw some really cool sculptures at Vlasis Park. The turned with the breeze, and the flower actually looked like it was blooming. That’s art I can get on board with!

Central Park, Chesterfield, MO (this was a favorite park when Turkey and Bunny were very small, and Moose was just a baby–it’s been years since we visited):

Faust Park, Chesterfield, MO (this is a cool county park, which has an historic village, a butterfly house, and a carousel on the property):

Deer Creek Park, Maplewood, MO (it’s a spaceship park–what else do I need to say?):

Swansea Kingdom Playground at Schranz Memorial Park, Swansea, IL (the “castle park,” which also has an adjacent splash pad, but sadly, that was closed for repairs):

It was such a fun day, I think it will become an annual event. Next year, though, I think we’ll pick a cooler day to go!