Spring Break Road Trip from Chicago to St Louis, Springfield and Meramec Caverns

Why visit?
St Louis for its touristy bits – The Gateway Arch, Grant Farm, Monstrocity, Railway Museum.
Springfield for Illinois Parliament and Lincoln exhibits.
Meramec Caverns for the natural underground caverns and zipline.

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How to Plan your visit?

  • For accommodation, I would recommend an independent house with Airbnb or VRBO if you are planning with few families, a lot more fun for the kids when they stay together. We stayed at a VRBO cottage in Innsbrook with 3 families, absolute blast for the kids.
  • Please reserve the tickets in advance for the Gateway Arch Tram ride which takes you to the top of the Arch.
  • Please reserve the Meramec Caverns and Zipline tickets in advance too.
  • 2 days should be good enough to cover all this, for a perfect weekend trip.

Our Trip Details from Naperville

Dates
31st March – April 2, 2017

Road Trip
Naperville to Innsbrook, MO.
We went to SpringField first and then reached our cottage late evening.

Stay
VRBO
800$ for 2 days.

What we loved

The Cottage

Fully loaded on amenities, with lovely Lake Lorraine at the backyard with the paddle boats and floating gear for kids!

Monstrocity and Children’s City Museum

Don’t let the word ‘Museum’ trick you, this place offers 10 floors of entertainment and exhibits made up of repurposed materials like planes, ships etc.

The Meramec Caverns exhibit is such elaborately done life like replica of Meramec Caverns that it is actually scary. Watch out for kids getting into narrow alleys and vanishing, Harry Potter style!

And the Monstrocity offers many eccentric

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Monstrocity
Monstrocity, photo by Laurie Skriva, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

The Gateway Arch.

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Quick Itinerary

Day 1
Started from Naperville at 8 AM and visited Springfield touristy spots en route to our cottage in Innsbrook.

Day 2
Morning: Visited Meramec Caverns, took around 2 hours.
Afternoon: Went to the Gateway Arch. Parked right in front of the arch, which is not allowed but amusingly, packed with tourist cars.
Evening: Visited Children’s City Museum. Park around the museum instead of inside, cheaper and more parking space as well.

Day 3
Enjoyed the cottage – did boating in the Lake Lorraine and ventured back around 4 PM.

Lessons Learnt
You need to make zipline reservations in advance. In addition, need to keep aside at least couple of hours for the same.

Other Noteworthy Mentions For your trip:

  • Grant Farm
  • Vineyard – Cedar Lake Cellars
  • Railway Museum.

That’s it.


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