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.
Named St. Louis’s Best Driving Range by the Riverfront Times in 2007, Family Golf & Learning Center earns praise as an encouraging environment in which golfers of all levels can hone their games. The lighted range boosts golfers with a second story of hitting stations stacked on top of the first that offers a bird’s-eye view, if that bird is sitting on the head of a giraffe. The range also features both real zoysia-grass tees as well as artificial-turf tees, and it stays open year-round thanks to heaters that prevent golf clubs’ handles from developing frostbite.
Once thoroughly limbered up, golfers can tee off on the par 3 course, where a maximum hole length of 160 yards allows for practice with short strokes and putting. Should self-improvement reach a plateau, the center’s instructors stand ready to help players make further strides through onsite lessons.
Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole, par 27 course * Total length of 1,124 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Having practiced since 1997, training under leaders in the field, and serving as the sole yoga instructor for the Kashi company in 2008, owner Brigette Niedringhaus opened Southtown Yoga with the goal of bringing a unique approach to the city yoga-studio concept. In doing so, Brigette built up a schedule replete with a variety of classes held in a warm and welcoming environment for students of all skill levels. The Riverfront Times recognized her efforts by naming Southtown Yoga its Best Yoga Studio in 2008. The staff that helped earned that award features 11 highly trained instructors who guide students through a series of poses during 45- to 90-minute group classes. Slow-paced Basics courses pave the way for Mixed Level sessions that expand on the fundamental concepts, and rooftop classes enable students to mix up the workout scenery, like lifting weights in a phone booth. Classes are available seven days a week, with some sessions beginning as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m.
Shane Perrin?s love for the standup paddleboard led him to set a world record as the first person to use the simple vehicle to travel the Missouri River?s 340 miles between Kansas City and Columbia. His trek even made him the subject of the documentary Stand Up Guy, which chronicles his odyssey against more than 100 kayakers and canoeists in the sixth annual Missouri River 340.
When he?s not looking for another stretch of water to conquer or out paddling for the Pau Hana Surf Supply team, Shane shares his passion through lessons and guided tours for all levels of outdoorsmen. Venturing out onto waters such as the Meramec River, Shane pays meticulous attention to every detail to help guests have a positive, memorable experience. He starts by matching each client with a standup-paddleboard outfit that suits their stature, which facilitates proper maneuvering. He then provides ongoing training as he guides guests past wildlife such as deer, hawks, and the beavers who built the river?s hydroelectric dams.
Justin Thacker, the muscle-bound founder of The Lab Gym, uses the same principles that motivated him through 19 years of weightlifting experience to spur on and cultivate a community of health-conscious exercisers at his modern, glass-walled gym. His team of expert trainers leads guests through group fitness classes that turn bodies into granite sculptures through a series of weightlifting routines and the crystallization of magma. Patrons can coax coy muscles from epidermal hideouts with free weights, dumbbells, squat racks, and an expansive cardio circuit, all accessible to members by keycard 24 hours a day. Meanwhile, Heavy Metal Crossfit?the gym's in-house CrossFit program?takes a different tack to fitness, leading exercisers ever-changing rotation of high-intensity functional movements.
For custom guidance, guests can pair up with a personal trainer or can sign up for the structured Laser weight-loss program, a regimen designed to blast off pounds with a laser focus but without actual lasers.
Before hosting moviegoers, the 111,000-square-foot Moolah Temple was home to a colony of pigeons. According to Amy Gill, co-head of the 1913-built temple's restoration team in 2003, the birds were "living in every crack and crevice" among debris, peeling paint, and cracked floors. Thanks to the team's refurbishing, leather couches and love seats, as well as balcony and stadium seating, now adorn the bird-free theater. Moolah Theatre only boasts a single screen, but what it lacks in quantity is made up for in size: its 20-by-45-foot screen showcases everything from the latest Hollywood releases to midnight movie staples such as The Big Lebowski.
Like "The Dude," Moolah Theatre celebrates bowling with eight lanes at its in-house retro alley. Post-flick fun can also include playing billiards, blasting tunes on the StarLink Internet Jukebox, or burping arcade games that ate too many quarters. Some lucky residents even call these amenities home—besides the theater and bowling alley, Moolah Temple makes room upstairs for 40 luxury lofts.