It was supposed to be such a yuck day. Cold and rainy- but we had planned to go up in arch. None of us had been there since they renovated underground- so we thought what a better day to have an indoor adventure? Miraculously- the day turned out to be sunny and 65! It was incredible.
We played tourist ALL day. If you've been to the arch in the past, don't try to go to the old entrances- you'll spend forever going back and forth between both ends. The entrance is now front and center of the arch several yards out. There is quite an intense security process- we didn't have any wait, but I could see that might not always be the case. It was like they were prepared for a Disneyland line.
There is an incredible museum downstairs, you pass through it on the way to a mall like food court. It looks COMPLETELY different underground. The museum isn't your typical drab, boring exhibit. Theres interactive models, videos, and replicas of tiny houses. Very cool- lots of things to see, and the gift shop is actually super cute. Usually I find state souvenir designs super corny.... but these were REALLY pretty and high end looking. I was super impressed. I'm a sucker for a good tumbler or a coffee mug- but literally I don't think I could bring even one more home.
Another new thing that we hadn't checked out yet was the new Union Station renovation. The main attraction obviously is the new aquarium that they put in. I had heard Wonderful things about it. But a few other less advertised attractions caught our eye like the wheel, a ropes course upstairs (for kids and adults), there is a mirror maze, and actually putt putt! Once we got in there - its like its own little town! It is super cool. First things first- we wanted food. We popped into the Soda Fountain, which they said it was a 90 minute wait. GOOD NEWS ALERT: they text you. So you can totally leave and go do whatever at the station and come back when your table is ready!!!
There is a hotel, a giant koi pond- with fire shooting lotus! The metal lotus sculptures throughout the koi pond will shoot flames to the beat of select music playing over head! There was a breeze running through the station so with every beat of flame it was a welcome blast of heat! Chairs line the sides of the giant koi pond so you can sit and watch the show.
There was also a seafood restaurant that had an outdoor patio backing on the pond. Which I am now eagerly waiting to go back for! An adorable added detail is quarter machine fish food to feed the koi. Kids of all ages were entertained by the station. Not too far from the koi pond is more child attractions. A carousel, putt putt, and a kids play area- with a jungle gym and stationary train. Benches line the play area (thankfully) and right next to the kiddie area is a pop up Anheuser-Busch trailer. Dads grabbed beers while moms wrangled the kiddos. We had every intention of visiting the aquarium- but we were both so content with soaking up some sun and watching the kids run a muck!!
Finally our table was called, and we headed over to the Soda Fountain. I was a little surprised at their menu selection. A lot of shakes, malts, and sodas- not a big food selection. But after all, I think they are known more for their shakes. I am really NOT a burger person- but I saw the lady next to me get one. It looked AMAZING. Nothing incredibly special EXCEPT I noticed the tiny little sport peppers. I am a sucker for peppers- and that sounded delicious. My son and I ordered the cheeseburgers, Brian got a chili cheese dog, and we got an order of fries and onion rings to split. Everything is a la carte- but don't worry the sides are huge, and definitely enough to split. Prices for food aren't bad at all. Shakes like this awesome birthday cake one, will run you about $20. The burgers were delish, I think Brian was definitely wishing he went with the burger. Don't plan on eating the chili dog with your hands. The dog and bun are SMOTHERED and buried under a ton of chili. But if that's what you like then you'll love it. It's more of a smokey chili vs "traditional" chili (if there is such a thing!)
We definitely all chipped in on this bad boy. It was so good though- there were several shakes that sounded good but there was NO way after we finished our food that we could all finish a shake too. Luckily we all agreed on the "unbirthday cake shake". They had a cotton candy one, a chocolate based one, and I think a gooey butter cake based one. They pretty much all looked amazing and sounded delicious. It was quite the presentation. After they bring out the unbirthday cake shake, they light a candle in it for you to blow out. Definitely a child favorite!! Not all of the shakes are super fancy though. If a plain chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry shake is your thing- they have you covered. And the price will reflect the wow factor of the shake. So obviously the plain shakes aren't going to be $20.
We had EVERY intention of visiting the aquarium, the ropes course, the mirror maze, and everything else Union Station had to offer. Even though it was a 90 minute wait for the table, we walked around, fed the koi, grabbed a drink - and just him play! It was a fantastic, super chill, absolutely perfect day! I don't think we could've squeezed any more fun into the day. After the shake it was just a matter of time before the great sugar crash. And great it was. We barely made it out of the parking lot before he was out and Brian and I were totally ready for a nap ourselves! We are all definitely looking forward to going back and exploring the REST of Union station. Including hitting up Build-A-Bear on the way out! There is a free standing location at the back of the parking lot (so don't worry, your kids won't be screaming their heads off leaving the actual station). If you can snag a spot up front I doubt they'll even see it. But we LOVE Build-A-Bear, and will gladly visit next time!