Posts in Category: travel

Bald Eagle Sightings in Missouri

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.

Audubon Center

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. Audubon Center Riverlands

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. Bald Eagle Viewing

 

City Museum

“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. City Museum St Louis

Chicago winter trip with kids

We went to Chicago with our kids in the winter time. Sounds crazy to visit the windy city at this time but my husband had a conference there so we tagged along. I knew I wanted to eat deep dish pizza and go up the Willis Tower. Other than that I wasn’t sure what Chicago had to offer. It turns out there are a lot of things to do there. We were there for three full days. The first two days I did by myself with the kids and the last day Matt was able to join us.

Chicago Winter Kids