Graceland – Home of Elvis Presely

As long as I lived in Tennessee I never made it to Graceland but always wanted to go.  This was on the top of our “to see ” list while in Memphis.

Tickets
Tickets

I will say that I was a little disappointed in Graceland as I was expecting something much more bizarre after hearing about his  home for decades.  I always recall people talking about the Jungle Room, which I will get to later.  When I got past what I thought I was going to see and concentrated on what was there, I thoroughly enjoyed his home and grounds.

We had pre-booked our tickets and arrived at the museum/ticket center/gift shop facility directly across Elvis Presley Boulevard from Graceland about 8:45.  They give every one with I-pads and headphones that have John Stamos providing commentary throughout the tour along with videos and music.  I found this annoying personally, but Jennifer seemed to enjoy it.  I took my headphone off as they were awkward with my camera.  It was hysterical when we went through the area where they had all Elvis’s Gold Records and several people were singing along very loudly and…well I could hardly breathe I was laughing so hard.

 

Gates to Graceland
Gates to Graceland

They put you on mini-buses and take you to the home where you wait in line to go through the front doors.  As we waited I watched how fast they got people in.  Now, the tickets are about $50 minimum and go up to almost $100 depending on what you want to see.  As each person stepped through I could picture little dollar signs popping from there heads and floating away.  This place is a money-maker… Continue reading Graceland – Home of Elvis Presely

Beale Street, Memphis – Home of the Blues

Our first night in Memphis we had dinner at Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe and Honky Tonk.  It was biker’s night so all the streets were blocked off and was full of interesting people.  We sat front row for live music and food…

From the 1920s to the 1940s, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Memphis Minnie, B. B. King, Rufus Thomas, Rosco Gordon and other blues and jazz legends played on Beale Street and helped develop the style known as Memphis Blues.

Cathedral Basilica of St Louis

This Cathedral is absolutely amazing and is part of the Roman catholic Church.  It has the largest mosaic collection in the world containing 41.5 million glass tesserae pieces in more than 7,000 colors and covers 83,000 square feet.

It is a very overwhelming place to visit….

City Museum – St. Louis

It is practically impossible to describe, characterize or explain the City Museum in St. Louis. The short version is that it consists largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects in an old 10 story shoe factory along with a 10 story cave/labyrinth that has one way in and one way out.  The out happens to be a 10 story slide back to the first floor.

Humongous Chain
Humongous Chain in the Parking Lot

I had come across the City Museum searching the web for things to see and do in St. Louis, but I did not grasp what we were getting into. We pulled into the parking lot which also served as a holding area for parts and pieces that had not yet found a place for in the museum and piles of salvaged stone work.

I was informed when we bought the tickets that there was no map nor were we given any idea where to start or what to do, just a sly “Good Luck”

Different Ways to get Between 3 Floors
Different Ways to get Between 3 Floors

The first thing we say was this large staircase and slide that spanned 3 floors and old refrigeration tubing with children crawling through them.  This place suddenly looked like the love child of Willy Wonka and Caractacus Potts.  It was magnificent!

We started walking around the first floor and found a huge whale that was made of painted concrete, a barfing pig (this was an old tank, painted like a pig, that would fill with water, fall over and spill in a pond) and this incredible inside treehouse. Continue reading City Museum – St. Louis

Gateway Arch

38 years ago, when we moved from Michigan to Texas, I first encountered the Gateway Arch as we drove though St. Louis and recall with a young mind of 12 how awe-inspiring this structure was.  Ten years later I found my self at the top of the arch for the first time and was again captivated by its architecture and innovative engineering.

This trip I again marveled at this structure with a new perspective and 30 years of engineering under my belt.

Visitors Center
Visitors Center

They are renovating the entire riverfront around the Arch which made buying tickets and getting to the Arch a little complicated.   Having purchased our tickets we made our way through a maze of streets and construction barriers to the Visitors Center located underground beneath the 630-foot, stainless steel monument.

Tram Cars
Tram Cars

We were ushered into 5 seat pods that are part of a 8 car tram that would take us to the top.  These claustrophobia inducing pods then make a 4 minute journey to the top along the interior of the Arch and shifting every few moments to stay horizontal.  The pods basically swing like Ferris-wheel cars as they ascend and descend the arch.  Luckily, they have small windows so you can see the structure and the 1,076-step emergency stairs which included many landings and sets of spiral stairs.

Inside the top of the Arch
Inside the top of the Arch

At the top there is a narrow room with a floor that curves and 16 small windows on each side.  The windows are such that not only can you look straight down, you can also see to the other-side.

The views are incredible from the top and the good news is the ride down is only 3 minutes….