We don’t have a tradition of celebrating the anniversary of our engagement, but with this month marking a decade since that milestone on 02.20.10, it seemed appropriate to do something special for the occasion! So the weekend following 02.20.20, we set out for a few days in St. Louis.
It’s a city we’d passed through on various occasions but hadn’t ever visited as a destination, so I’d say it was high time we made it there. And with our goal to visit all the National Parks, it was also high time to hit the only one in our home state.
Here are some highlights from the trip, and here’s to making a point to celebrate milestones!
day 1 • 02.22.20
St. Louis Zoo
We began our zoo visit in the Mary Ann Lee Butterfly Wing — a geodesic dome filled with tropical plants, rock outcroppings, a waterfall and pool, and, of course, butterflies. It was so magical we made a point to go back once more at the end of our visit, and I told Seth I wished we could somehow have a room like this in our house!
Fun fact (or not-so-fun, depending on how you look at it): We were traveling with two cameras but only one memory card, as Seth hadn’t realized until we arrived at the zoo that his camera didn’t have one. So we switched my one card back and forth between cameras as needed. Maybe not ideal, but we made it work! (And I promise this would never happen at a wedding or session; we always bring plenty of extra cards to a job and should obviously make a point to do so when traveling, too!)
How cool is this shot (above left) of the polar bear just about to break the surface of the water?!
One last look at my dream add-on for my home … Does anyone know contractors who specialize in residential tropical geodesic domes? 😂
day 2 • 02.23.20
Missouri Botanical Garden & Gateway Arch National Park
No trip to St. Louis would be complete without a visit to a St. Louis Bread Company (the origin of Panera Bread).
After brunch, we headed to Missouri Botanical Garden — one of the oldest botanical institutions in the country and a National Historic Landmark. Its herbarium (a collection of preserved plant specimens) is the second largest in North America (after New York Botanical Garden’s).
We kicked off our tour by checking out a temporary orchid display, which we thought was definitely worth the extra cost to see.
Covering almost 80 acres, the garden grounds offer a lot to see, even in February. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer February day to be there, and just look at that sky (above)!
Our last stop was the Climatron, which simulates the climate of a rain forest.
Next up: Gateway Arch National Park! The Arch reflects St. Louis’ role in the Westward Expansion of the United States during the 1800s. It’s also a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, to the pioneers who shaped American history and to Dred Scott, who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse (pictured at above left).
The Arch also holds the distinction of being the world’s tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere and the tallest accessible building in Missouri.
After watching a film about the building of the Arch in the 1960s, we rode the tram all 630 feet to the top for views of St. Louis:
And of the Mississippi River, with Illinois on the other side:
After heading back down, we looked around the sight’s museum for a while but made sure to leave time to get some more exterior shots before the sun set.
This shot was Seth’s idea, and I love how it gives perspective on just how big the base of the Arch is!
day 3 • 02.24.20
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Before leaving St. Louis, we visited this cathedral that seems like something you’d more likely find in Europe. Ground was broken for it in 1907, but it wasn’t completed for 80 years! It was designated a Cathedral Basilica in 1997 by Pope John Paul II, who visited it during his history-making trip to the United States in 1999.
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