City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri


The City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri is located inside the former International Shoe building. The museum is devoted to repurposed architectural and industrial objects and is located in the Loft District of Washington Avenue. Popular among locals and tourists both, the museum attracted over 600,000 visitors in 2007, and invites guests to feel, touch, climb and play among the exhibits.

The City Museum was founded by Bob and Gail Cassilly, when they purchased the abandoned International Shoe building in 1993. Construction on the building began in January of 1995 and the museum opened its doors to the public on October 25th, 1997. Since being opened, the museum has continued to grow and expand. Added exhibits include MonstroCity, the Enchanted Caves, the Shoe Shaft, the Shoelace Factory, the World Aquarium and the City Lofts.

The first floor is home to a life-sized replica of a Bowhead Whale and guests are invited to walk through a life sized aquarium. Also on the first floor are a series of fiberglass tunnels that run across the top of the ceiling and give the appearance of gigantic icicles. To access one of the tunnels guests can climb up a life-sized Slinky or through a tree house that takes them to a cabin on the other side. The entire first floor is covered in mosaics which run along the columns and climb to the ceiling. Through one of the tunnels guests will come to the "Underground Whaleway'', which then leads underneath the floor and into the "Original Caves''.

The second floor connects to MonstroCity and the Enchanted Caves, to enter; guests go through an area called the "Vault Room''. Bob Castilly originally got the 1800's model gigantic vault from a now defunct business located on Locust Street. Off the side of the Vault Room is an opening into the Enchanted Caves and St. George's Chamber. Within the chamber are a collection of opera posters, and a giant statue of St. George, from a catholic church in Chicago.

The Enchanted Caves and Shoe Shaft run directly through the middle of the museum, the caves were man-made by Bob Castilly and his crew. Around every turn in the caves there is a different creature to greet guests and the caves were originally used as part of the shoe factory. When the museum originally opened the caves in 2003, there was only one shaft and since 2008, the caves have been expanded to include a total of ten.

The third floor of the museum is home to the Skateless Factory, which is a collection of skateboard ramps without the skateboards. Also located on the third floor is the Everyday Circus, which is the only circus school in the Midwest. The circus school is open to students from ages 2 and up, and performs daily at the museum and around the corner is Art City and Toddler Corner. A section of the third floor is dedicated to patrons ages 6 and under, there is World's Largest Underwear Collection, Beatnik Bob's, a replica of an Alco Train and at the end of the tour of the third floor, there is a slide that leads back down to the first floor.

The fourth floor of the museum is dedicated entirely to St. Louis's Largest Vintage Clothing Store and a Gift Shop. During the spring and summer of 2008, Bob Cassilly redesigned the rooftop of the museum. Up on the roof are a slide, garden, a pond and fountains and two slides, a snack bar and Ferris wheel. Due to the uniqueness of the museum, guests are ensured to have an outstanding and interesting experience.

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