There’s no reason to feel blue about summer coming to an end: St. Louis Union Station is gearing up for its most fun and festive months of the year.
Even as outdoor temps start to slide, the St. Louis Aquarium holds steady at 72 degrees. Tami Brown, the aquarium’s executive director, says that different seasons bring different advantages. “In the summer it’s really exciting because there are so many families and people visiting from out of town — there’s a lot of energy. In the fall, if you’re looking to spend more time at the habitat or ask some questions of our team members, it’s a quieter time to visit. You can dig into whatever captures your attention.”
Brown says visitors are constantly amazed by how interactive the space is. “We offer the opportunity for our guests to help feed some of the animals, hear a presentation from one of our team members or ask questions of a diver while they’re swimming with the sharks,” she says. While kids have innate curiosity and tend to plunge right in with both hands, adults can be a bit more timid. “They either follow the kids’ leads or tap into their inner child after a minute and realize that they can play too and have just as wonderful a time,” Brown says. Grown-ups should keep an eye out for the upcoming series Under the Deep Brew Sea, where adults can enjoy the aquarium after hours with an A-B drink in hand.
Holiday season fun
The St. Louis Union Station Halloween Experience begins once the calendar hits October. Dress up in your favorite costume and take a stroll through different Halloween tableaux for this month-long, family-friendly event. Kids can grab a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and decorate it on-site, then board a train car along with some otherworldly passengers, such as mummies, witches, goblins and ghosts.
Cameron Schoeffel, Union Station’s director of sales and entertainment, says their team is already ramping up for the holidays — in particular the Polar Express Train Ride, complete with moving trains and nightly trips to the North Pole to pick up Santa. “The Polar Express is such a wonderful story, and the kids really latch on to that,” Schoeffel says. “They’re wearing their pajamas, drinking hot chocolate, eating cookies, engaging with the conductors and chefs and all the fun characters from the Polar Express. To be able to bring that back again is very exciting for us,” he says.
Build a weekend around the Polar Express train rides or pancakes with Santa by booking a room. “We’ll offer wonderful packages at the Union Station Hotel, which vary from a standard room with four tickets to the Polar Express ride to a decorated suite that includes all the fun events and activities that go on around Union Station,” Schoeffel says. The entire property will be decked in its holiday best, complete with an awe-inspiring 40-foot tree in the Grand Hall. The Grand Hall’s light shows even get in on the good cheer with a Polar Express-themed display.
“We encourage people to come down, have some food and a drink. It’s great for date nights and family nights, too,” Schoeffel says. “It really is a magical place during the holidays.”