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.
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.
The St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association's Gypsy Caravan organizes one of the largest antique, craft, and flea markets in the Midwest, with up to 20,000 people expected to attend this year. The 7 a.m. early-bird ticket grants a full two hours of perusing before general-admission ticket holders, who risk becoming antiques themselves during long waits for admittance. Nearly 400 outdoor and 72 indoor vendors will occupy booths plying antiques, collectibles, crafts, jewelry, furniture, clothing, and other unique wares. Complimentary shopper’s guides plot out retail excursions with maps, vendor lists, and navigational star charts. Browse toys, DVDs, and comic books at Tim Metzger's table; deck yourself out in vintage jewelry and custom-made apparel at the Blackberry Exchange booth; or please your feathered friends with a recycled-tire bird feeder from Chalily Pond and Gardens.
Designed for pint-probing neophytes of the 21-plus persuasion, Beer School opens an interactive window to the world of brewski connoisseury at the historic Anheuser-Busch brewery. A flight master begins your session with a beerscape rundown, including the effects of individual ingredients on the final product, as well as the secret reason behind each draft-filled flagon’s frothy top. The half-hour class also includes ample taste testing in order to differentiate the elemental baseline of Budweiser from other Anheuser-Busch elixirs. Following the class, pupils receive certificates of tasting completion and hop on a complimentary hops tour.
Marauding monsters and startling special effects thrill visitors wandering through the winding limestone caverns beneath Lemp Mansion in what HauntWorld.com called “one of the most unique and realistic haunts we've ever reviewed.” Speed passes whisk visitors past tedious lines through the gothic 1860s mansion’s ornate gates and eerie archways to a century-old freight elevator. The historic conduit drops visitors 50 feet below street level into the damp St. Louis underground, the former site of Lemp’s brewery that was abandoned more than 100 years ago due to workers’ constant bickering over the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. Rusty pipes and ancient relics of machinery decorate the musty caverns as visitors wind through 20,000 square feet of intense audio, strobe lights, fog, and moving floors. High-tech animatronics, including a massive mechanical alligator, bide their time along with hideous beasts, corpses, brawling zombie gangsters, rats, bats, and lost members of the Milwaukee Brewers. To escape, visitors must eventually scale a towering staircase to the safety of the surface while quelling urges to check whether Eurydice is behind them.
Your one-hour cruise will commence at the levee below the Gateway Arch aboard one of two 19th-century replica steamboats, either the Tom Sawyer or the Becky Thatcher. Like a real-life third person, the captain of your craft will omnisciently narrate your adventure along the St. Louis riverfront with historical factoids, geographical trivia, and wistful recollections of the way your childhood crush's hair used to sparkle in the springtime sunlight. Customers looking for even greater detail may choose to rent one of Gateway's iPods for an additional fee. This audio cruise companion whispers stories of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers' confluence into your ears, set to the sweet beats of this year's hottest jock jams. Since exercising one's vision and hearing can make one's other senses hungry, boxed lunches may be ordered in advance ($8 for a box lunch, $4 for a hot-dog lunch). You can also sniff, fondle, and purchase concessions while aboard—or enjoy a bite to eat at Gateway's Arch View Café before or after your tour.