Grant's Farm has been home to two titans of the US?one a general and president, the other a brewer who forever changed America's bar scene. The first of these was the farm's namesake, President Ulysses S. Grant, who in 1885 built a four-room cabin, needing only a few days, the help of some loyal friends, and an '80s-style montage. After a few transitional owners, August Busch Sr. bought the farm in 1907 and had that same cabin restored to its original condition.
While visitors to Grant Farm can still view that historic cabin today, the grounds have grown into much, much more. More than 280 acres host over 900 animals from 100 unique species, one of which has starred in commercials for decades: the Budweiser Clydesdales. A behind the scenes tour of the Clydesdale Stables reveals more than 50 of these stallions, from weanlings to full-grown, six-foot-tall equines. Meanwhile, Zebras, Black Buck Antelope, and other exotic animals roam across Deer Park, and Tier Garten hosts interactive elephant shows and goat feedings.
Back indoors, the bauernhof (farmstead) stands as a 19th-century relic with antique stables and carriages. It also houses non-antique bartenders, who pour complimentary samples for of-age visitors. They can also point families to more complete dining locations, including Grant's Farm Deli.
Though built as a private home in 1901, the Victorian mansion stood vacant for years?until its first children's hands-on exhibits opened to the public more than 30 years ago. Since then, The Magic House's curators have worked to engage children of all ages in learning and creative thought through a range of interactive multimedia exhibits. Their exhibits enable visitors to service cars, climb treehouse ladders, and go fishing in a child-centric community, or play with pumps and pipes in a waterworks playground. They can also climb a three-story fairy-tale beanstalk or use detective skills, fingerprint analyses, and secret passageways to solve mysteries.
Museum staffers also organize a range of themed birthday parties, during which attendees play and complete special tasks as time travelers, scientists, or fairy-tale nobility. Family programs encompass monthly visits from outside professional artists, and special events designed to get the whole family moving. Visitors can refuel for exploration at the on-site Picnic Basket Cafe, whose menu highlights whole grains and healthy ingredients.
More than a century ago, the architects of The Lemp Brewery complex faced a problem: how should they keep their beer cold? Refrigerators weren't yet around, and it'd be too difficult to tow an iceberg down from the Arctic. Their solution: going 100 feet underground, where old caves were naturally cool... or so they thought. In fact, the chilly air here wasn't caused by lack of sunlight?it was the result of an ancient curse. Today, visitors can still tour the subterranean brewery, now appropriately known as the Abyss. It's hardly abandoned. Around every turn waits a new monster, none of whom are friendly enough to offer any complimentary growlers.
The Abyss is just one of Scarefest's three chilling destinations. Creepyworld houses 12 attractions, including a series of mazes filled with everything from burning cars to ravenous zombies. In another part of town, a haunted house known as The Darkness plunges visitors into a world of terror. In its two-decade history, the haunted house has even shown up on national TV, which is not too bad a gig for a place infested by deranged clowns.
An authentic trolley with brass rails and bells and outfitted with modern padded seats and air conditioning glides through St. Louis?s historic neighborhoods as knowledgeable tour guides wax poetic about the city?s past and present. Guests gaze out of the trolley?s charming arched windows during the 23-mile ride, catching sight of a much larger arch standing sentry over downtown sites such as St. Louis Union Station and the Mississippi River. Tour guides fling droplets of wisdom like handfuls of rice at famished newlyweds, sharing anecdotes about historic Laclede?s Landing and Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World?s Fair, the first summer Olympic games held in the U.S., and the first forest. The fully narrated tour departs and returns from Lumiere Place Casino on the riverfront.
Vintage red trolleys and horse-drawn carriages still roll through the streets of St. Louis. Though sometimes caused by a rip in the space-time vortex, more often than not they're part of the St. Louis Carriage & Trolley Company's leisurely history tours. A certified guide leads these trips in trolley busses or carriages drawn by some of the company's 17 elegant horses, including Percheron draft horses, one Clydesdale, and one Belgium. The tours?which can be customized?pass sites such as Union Station, Peabody Opera House, and the picturesque Laclede's Landing.
Marking its 40th anniversary, this year’s Gypsy Caravan Market amasses the antiques and handcrafted goods of more than 300 vendors to benefit the St. Louis Symphony. Artisans hailing from 20 states ply marketplace wares including furniture, clothing, art, and antique-traffic violations as visitors wend their way through the impressive displays. Kids can park themselves in the Children's Corner, where they’re greeted with activities, while adults sample barbecue, gyros, hot dogs, ice cream and other edibles from more than 15 food vendors.