St. Louis Takes Your Breath Away in Summer 2012

The Lantern Festival is an amazing cultural exhibition at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

In St. Louis, the phrase “Been there … Done that!” does not apply. From taking in a new sea-lion show to playing with fire, there’s always something new and exciting to do in the “Lou” – so much so, it may take your breath away.

You can travel to the far side of the world with a trip to St. Louis in 2012. The Missouri Botanical Garden has declared it the “Year of China” and is hosting a never-before-seen in the United States exhibition, “Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night,” through August 19.

Twenty-six huge and elaborate lanterns will be designed for the festival and placed throughout the scenic garden. The artistic steel and silk lanterns range from towering terracotta warriors and Chinese opera masks to porcelain dragons rising from the garden’s fountains in honor of the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Dragon in 2012. At night, the Garden will host special events that feature the illuminated lanterns in a spectacular display of lights and colors, Thursdays through Sundays.

Get a new perspective on underwater life at Sea Lion Sound in the Saint Louis Zoo.

Hip Hip, Hooray!  TripAdvisor released its list of Top 10 Zoos in the United States, and the Saint Louis Zoo came in at No. 2!  The attraction has reported it is on track to break attendance records this travel season. Opening on June 30 is the Zoo’s new sea-lion arena. The new exhibit will combine two popular areas, the current Sea Lion Basin and the Sea Lion Arena into one major complex – “Sea Lion Sound.” The project includes a state-of-the-art sea-lion habitat, Sea Lion Landing, with salt-water pools, underwater viewing tunnel and a new 850-seat sea-lion arena.

At Six Flags St. Louis, Bonzai Pipeline, an extreme body slide, has been added to the 12-acre Hurricane Harbor water park. This ultimate wipeout experience will feature twin, looping slides that sit side by side and the Proslide Skybox launching capsule. After reaching the top of the six-story structure, guests step into the enclosed capsule where the floor drops out beneath them, sending them free-falling down the slide and into a side “super loop.” Riders surf the 290-foot slide at up to 40 mph. Bonzai Pipeline’s clear tubes allow spectators below to watch riders as they shoot through the 360-degree loops and splash out into the water below.

Using artifacts from its extensive collection and local collectors, the Missouri History Museum presents FIRE! Friend and Foe, through September 3. Visitors learn the history of St. Louis’ volunteer and professional firefighters and gain an understanding of the horrors and heroism of fires, including the Great Fire of 1849. Exhibit highlights include industrial tools associated with blacksmithing, welding, and brewing; outdoor camping and grilling items; domestic objects such as cast iron stoves, fireplace tools , plus 19th century toys fueled by fire! Historic objects, images, and stories will explore the surprising ways fire is both a friend and foe.

Missouri is riddled with “Hidden Treasures,” but in St. Louis there is one that is really hidden … and actually is a really cool museum within a really cool museum. In honor of World Ocean Day on June 8 (celebrates the beauty, conservation and sustainable use of our oceans) we hope visitors find their way to The World Aquarium in St. Louis.

Housed on the second floor of the popular City Museum, the aquarium is unlike any other.  Similar to the City Museum, the aquarium is a “touch, feel explore-type” of museum with many unique features. Dip your hand into a pool of doctor fish where the little fish eat the dead skin from your fingers, a perfectly safe, but somewhat ticklish experience. Touch stingrays, starfish, sea urchins, and more.

With tortoises, paddle fish, aquatic turtles, gulping fish, angelfish, sea urchins, giant puffers, and other surprises, your family will discover sea life from around the world. Exhibits include educational information about the animals, and programs include public feedings. What makes this museum really special is that most of the residents are either adopted or rescued from neglectful homes or pet stores that could not provide proper care.

Adventure seekers can make the most out of their visit by signing up for any of the educational programs offered by the aquarium. By taking a guided educational tour at the World Aquarium, knowledge about aquatic ecosystems comes alive through interaction with a personal guide who shares important environmental facts through hands-on learning.

To learn more about visiting St. Louis, log onto ExploreStLouis.com. Everything you need to know about attractions, hotels, special events and restaurants can be found at your fingertips.  See you soon!

Enter to win a Missouri Hidden Treasures Giveaway: http://VisitMOtreasures.com.

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Written by Donna Andrews, public relations director for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission