Forest Park is at the heart of St. Louis. As Peter and I were trying to find fun things to do here, every single website we went to and every person we talked to mentioned Forest Park. It is 1,293 acres, that is about 500 acres bigger then Central Park in New York City. Besides all the normal "park" things (biking, tennis, baseball, jogging, boating, fishing, golf, ice skating, rollerblading, etc...) Forest Park offers many other unique, fun, and free things. This park is home to some of the most popular activities to do in St. Louis, such as: The Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum, Science Center, and Muny Opera. It gets about 12 million visitors each year. Obviously, we have not experienced all these activities yet. You will most likely be hearing about Forest Park many more times in the future. However, last Sunday we decided to go take a bike ride around the park and see what it has to offer. It really is beautiful. I has a place where you can rent paddle boats, a restaurant on the lake, and an amphitheater. I was pretty impressed.
Most things in the park are very normal touristy, park things. However, there was one thing that I have NEVER seen before. This feature of the park is not even on the main Forest Park webpage, though it is on roadsideamerica.com. It is called the Turtle Playground! Turtle Playground was constructed to be a kids area in 1996. It contains 3 HUGE cement turtles (named Richard, Sally, and Tom), 4 small cement turtles (Antonio, David, Adam, and Emily), two cement snakes (one forms a sitting area), and seven cement turtle eggs (three of which have emerging baby turtles). These turtles were sculpted and donated to Forest Park by Robert Cassilly. He sculpted them to resemble real live reptiles, and he did an amazing job.
While we were at the Turtle Playground we saw families having picnics by the turtles. Kids climbing all over the turtles. And people taking pictures with the turtles. It seemed like everyone was having such a wonderful time. It really is a great idea to create fun and interesting areas in a park that still provide the same purposes for the public as regular park areas. I just think sitting on a snake is much more fun than sitting on a boring old park bench!
If you ever have the opportunity to visit St. Louis, Forest Park is a MUST see! And while you are there, you better not leave without taking a few pictures with these huge, awesome turtles! =D