Destination Unknown Family Style - My Family Travels

My sister, Ruthie, and me on the St. Louis river cruise
Inside the St. Louis Basilica
My sisters and me in front of the Penguin Exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo

Three clues – Three words
“S” – “isn’t” in the South
Third Disney duckling is the answer
Neither Mrs., Ms., or ma’am and do in a hasty manner

That was Dad’s riddle. We had to piece it together to figure out what city we were headed to next on the Smith family summer road trip. Each city on our road trip had its own riddle. We thought and thought and then we got it. “S” – “a’int”, Louie, Miss – Hurry: St. Louis, Missouri!

At each city stop on the family road trip, we had a mission — to check off seven boxes: dip your toe in, food, landmark, academic, business, culture, and nature. St. Louis was no different.

Our first box to check was Dip Your Toe In . We accomplished that after the St. Louis River Cruise ( Our cruise took us down the mighty Mississippi River. My favorite part of the stop was getting to see the famous St. Louis Arch from the river. After our cruise, Dad had us take off our shoes and dip our toes into the Mississippi River. Check!

The second box was Food. My family is southern to the core; we love barbecue. To get a taste for authentic St. Louis’ style barbecue, we went to Sugarfire Smokehouse ( We followed that with traditional St. Louis gooey butter cakes. Tasty cakes with twice the butter. Yummy check!

We checked off the Landmarks box by experiencing the St. Louis Arch ( I will never forget what it was like to see the whole city of St. Louis from that height. As a person who is afraid of heights, the experience evoked mixed emotions: terror, awe, and more terror. Nevertheless, the trip up the Arch was incredible. Nervous check!

We’re nerds so the fourth box had to be Academic. In St. Louis, we got our nerd on at the planetarium (! It was incredible! We learned about stars and planets while enjoying a brief hiatus from the heat. “Kick Me” sign check!

The fifth box was of all things — Business (Dad’s an economist). We visited the Anheuser-Busch Brewery ( Despite the fact that my sisters and I were too young to understand the mystery that is alcohol, we still enjoyed learning about how the brewery is operated. The best part of the stop was seeing the famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. Dilly, Dilly check!

The six box was Culture. The beautiful Catholic Basilica hosts one of the largest mosaics collections in the world ( Its ceilings depict Biblical stories in thousands of colors of glass. As a practicing Catholic, it was a privilege to get to experience the tranquility associated with such a marvelous testament of Christian faith. Cross check!

The final box to check on our St. Louis visit was Nature. So we went wild at the St. Louis Zoo ( Having been to great zoos like the Atlanta Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, we thought we had seen the best. Wrong. The St. Louis Zoo is, by far, the best zoo we have ever visited! We saw more animals at a closer range than we had ever seen before. And it didn’t hurt that admission was free for both adults and children. All in all, it was my favorite thing we did on this trip. Check!

There you have it. We came. We solved the riddle. We checked our boxes. We had a blast. On to the next city and riddle! Go team!

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