We learned the best time to see bald eagles in Missouri is the winter time. So, we bundled up on a windy, cold day where the highs were in the 30s and headed up to West Alton Missouri. We learned about this area of Missouri because of one of the families at our children’s elementary school. He grew up in St. Louis and told me they go eagle watching every winter and they will see 20-30 a day. He said they go to the confluence of the river. I learned that’s where the mighty Mississippi and Missouri rivers merge.
We missed the Eagle Sundays and Eagle Ice Festival that the Audubon Center at Riverlands hosts but we were still able to see eagles. We had no idea what to expect and were a little skeptical that we would see an eagle. The Audubon Center had spotting scopes (with step stools for the kids) that were free to use.
Those that worked in the center were so friendly and eager to show us where the eagles were. We saw about 6-8 Eagles (and Bald Eagles that day). We were thrilled. Matt and I are both confident that if we spent more time at the Audubon Center we would have seen more. We were grateful the Audubon Center is indoors and heated. Matt used his phone’s camera to take a picture of the eagles through the spotting scope. He has some skills because I tried doing that with my phone and got zero usable photos.
The employees said they see about 30-60 a day flying up and down the Mississippi River. As with most wildlife early mornings and evenings are the best time to view the most number of animals. We meandered outside a little bit to walk on the board walk to look for more Eagles. Another positive was West Alton was only 30 minutes from St. Louis.
National Great River’s Museum
After we visited the Audubon Center we went to Alton, Illinois and and visited the National Great River’s Museum. This museum is free and if you time your visit well you can take a free walking tour on top of the lock/dam system over the Mississippi River. Again the guide was so kind and enthusiastic about what he did it made the tour so enjoyable. It was neat to watch a boat go through the locks and go further north. We could see an eagle’s nest from the museum. The guide told us that every year some of the same patron’s come to visit in the winter time to view eagles flying and fishing in the River. He said one of the patrons the day before we came was able to photograph an eagle swooping into the water to catch a fish.
We went on President’s Day (it seemed like a perfect thing to do for the Holiday). The best times of the year to see them is late December to early March. All of the events put on by the Audubon Center, Alton Visitor Center and National Great Rivers Museum were in January and early February. It’s great to get outdoors even in the winter time in St Louis.
We had never seen bald eagles before in the wild and it was truly spectacular.
I hosted a macaron class at my home this past year. It was part of a cooking club I was a member of which was so fun (I am still lamenting the fact I missed the raclette cheese month). The girl that was in charge of the cooking club must have noticed that I had been bringing macarons to everything. School events, church events and even my neighbors all got macarons because I love them and wanted to get really good at them. Also most people don’t bring macarons to events so I liked having dessert that was an anomaly.
Although I do have a friend who doesn’t care for them and says they taste like pure sugar. I thought that’s exactly why I like them. Here’s where I also come out to say that if you give me a choice between a chocolate dessert and a fruit based one I’ll pick the fruit one over the chocolate one.
Anyways, I hosted a macaron class at my home and it was a success. It was great that everyone who came got hands on practice making the macarons. We made my two favorites raspberry buttercream and a lemon curd. I checked out a bunch of books from the library that had macaron recipes in them. It was nice to thumb through those and see how creative people can get with flavor combinations (caviar macarons?). I think it really helps when you can see how to macaronage or fold the batter together.
“Go to the City Museum,” has been something my Mother in law has been telling me for years. She flew from California to Missouri just to take her daughter to this museum. It’s that good.
I’ve been to several children’s museums across the country and there is nothing quite like this one.
The disclaimer is as I’ve told Matt-” it’s more exhausting than Disney World”.
The first time we went to the museum we were there for seven hours. We brought snacks and ate pizza in the cafe. My son still talks about how it’s the most pizza he’s ever eaten – 9 pieces of pizza! I don’t think it was because the pizza was amazing I think it was because he had been exploring so much that he was that hungry. There are tunnels every where and you just climb and explore. There are tunnels outside, there are tunnels on the roof, there are tunnels in caves there are tunnels everywhere. Some of these places really test your ability to handle heights and tight spaces.