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Now serving as quarters for government offices, this building is known worldwide to architecture students as the forerunner of skyscraper construction. Drive by to see this 11-storey building, which was designed by famed architect Louis H. Sullivan using steel supports. Taking its name from Elias Wainwright, the affluent St. Louis businessman who commissioned the design, this structure ranked as the world's most modern building upon its completion in 1892. A floral terra cotta exterior enhances the building with designs that vary from floor to floor, giving it an old-fashioned charm.
The exhibits at the Old Courthouse, most of which are actual models or historic items rather than mere text or photographs, date back to 1764, at which time the St. Louis region was a French fur trading port. Other exhibits come from eras ranging from colonial times on up to the 20th century. The Old Courthouse served as an actual courthouse from the mid-19th century up until 1930.
Completed in October 1965 the Gateway Arch was designed to last 1,000 years. The Arch was built to represent Thomas Jefferson's dream of a United States that stretched from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast. At a spectacular 630 feet (192 meters), the monumental structure features a stainless steel facade that represents the city's legacy as the Gateway to the West. A tram zips to the top of the monument and one can see 360-degree views for 30 miles (48 kilometers) around the city. The Arch stands within the larger Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and is a testament to American engineering at its finest.
Discover the home of a musical legend, Scott Joplin, who's credited with the popularization of Ragtime music from 1895 to 1918. Joplin lived in St. Louis for nine years and spent two of them living in this historic home with his wife, Belle Haden. During that time, Joplin wrote and published eight songs, including his most famous, "The Entertainer". As part of the restoration, a piano with his sheet music was installed for visitors to enjoy. Today the home is listed as a National Historical Landmark with daily guided tours.
A garden lover's paradise, Missouri Botanical Garden, a 79-acre (40 hectares) collection of gardens has something for everyone, including a fragrance garden for the visually impaired. The Kemper Center has more than 20 gardens set to various themes, including the Japanese Garden and Chinese Garden, which offer a tranquil getaway from the urban hustle and bustle. A tropical rain forest also grows in this Midwestern city in an indoor garden spot, the Climatron, a glass geodesic dome through which you can stroll even when there is snow outside.
As one of the few remaining free zoos in the United States and the third largest, the St. Louis Zoo is a day full of discovery and exploration. Open year-round, this spacious zoo offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with many of the animals. Some areas of the zoo do require an entrance fee such as the Sea Lion Show, Children's Petting Zoo area, Safari Tours, and Stingray Encounter at Caribbean Cove.