A non-simultaneous exchange is possible as we can vacate to Tina's parents' home nearby. You can come to our home anytime, but we can only travel to your home during school breaks. We like to limit this to international exchanges so we don't go into home exchange "debt" and owe a bunch of stays on top of already being out a couple months to travel 😉
We are designing and building a larger custom home, hopefully in 2023 so availability is uncertain at that time, but it never hurts to ask! Covid is certainly making this process harder!
You will love St. Louis! But, don't take my word for it. Read these rave reviews:
Forbes - 25 Best US Places to Visit 2020
TripSavvy - Best Destinations for Families 2020
Wall Street Journal - 10 Most Intriguing Travel Destinations 2019 https://www.kmov.com/news/st-louis-leads-the-way-as-missouri-named-top-10-world-travel-destination-for-2019/article_9f0798aa-d93e-11e8-9489-bb00b3840d10.html
Time's "World's Greatest Places of 2021" (in alphabetical order) - https://time.com/collection/worlds-greatest-places-2021/
Here are a couple videos that will give you an overview our city:
2 minutes long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsAd1CTlDSo
9.5 minutes long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD28xPEFEQE&list=PLZjXIQqfsBxn12nH6z_7SAPGgdeUAu0K1&index=2&t=0s
Come and see the city known as "the gateway to the west". Home to nearly 3 million people, St. Louis is a family friendly town with many free attractions. In fact, St. Louis boasts more free attractions than any other US city outside Washington D.C.
One of my favorite things about St. Louis is the architecture. There are many beautiful turn-of-the-century homes. Even Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Eames have designed homes here. Below is a small taste of what the area has to offer:
*** THE ARCH | No trip to St. Louis would be complete without a ride up to the arch, or what my girls like to call "the rainbow". The museum underneath is free admission. Catch a steamboat ride along the Mississippi river afterwards.
*** ST. LOUIS ZOO | Free admission. Named best US zoo by USA Today in 2017 and 2018 and ranked in the "World's Top 10 Zoo" by TripAdvisor: https://tripadvisor.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=34145&item=30017
*** ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM | Free admission. Contains several works by the great masters - Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Cezanne, Seurat, etc.
*** SCIENCE CENTER | Free admission. Named in the top 10 in USA Today's "Best Science Museums" https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-science-museum-2021/
*** HISTORY MUSEUM | Free admission. They have a fantastic children's play area.
*** THE MUNY | If you like Broadway musicals, you'll love the Muny - the largest outdoor musical theater in North America and the oldest in the US. The last nine rows of the theatre (1,456 seats) are free. The rest are reserved seats that require a ticket. Runs June - August. Named in Fodor's "10 Best Outdoor Theater Experiences" https://www.fodors.com/news/arts-culture/summers-10-best-outdoor-theater-experiences
*** THE MAGIC HOUSE | Free every 3rd Friday of each month. It's a must-see if you have children. Ranked #2 by USA Today in their "Best Children's Museum 2021" https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-childrens-museum-2021/
*** THE CITY MUSEUM | Our absolute favorite! Designed by artists, this museum is truly one-of-a-kind. It looks like something Tim Burton might have dreamed up in a salvage yard while watching The Matrix. It's a cool art infused playground/funhouse of sorts and is great for both children and adults. Listed in Fodor's top "10 Best Children's Museum in the US". https://www.fodors.com/news/arts-culture/10-best-childrens-museums-in-the-us
Here is a video of the city museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awEytBTjbTA
*** ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL BASILICA | Free admission. Completed in 1914, the cathedral boasts a dazzling array of beautiful mosaics. It houses the largest mosaic collection in the Western hemisphere. You'll feel like you've stepped into Europe. Here is a video about the cathedral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOUxNQJS97k
*** ST. LOUIS BOTANICAL GARDENS | Consistently ranked in the top 10 botanical gardens in the US by several publications. Named in Afar Magazine's "8 of the Best Botanical Gardens Around the World" https://www-afar-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.afar.com/magazine/best-botanical-gardens-in-the-world/amp?amp_js_v=a6&_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D#aoh=16268340135636&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&share=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.afar.com%2Fmagazine%2Fbest-botanical-gardens-in-the-world
*** PURINA FARMS | Free admission. Purina, the well-known pet food maker, has an awesome farm 25 minutes from my home. A family-friendly attraction where pet lovers go to play, learn and compete for Best in Show. There's a museum, barnyard animals to pet, cow milking for kids, wagon rides, hayloft activities and exciting daily canine performances including dog pool dives. Here's a video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NIiJKHLG2c&list=PLZjXIQqfsBxn12nH6z_7SAPGgdeUAu0K1&index=13
*** WORLD BIRD SANCTUARY | Nestled in a beautiful mature forest. A must for any bird watcher. Only 13 minutes from my home.
*** ST. LOUIS AQUARIUM | Newly built an opened December 2019. The grounds outside is fun with a Ferris wheel, carousel, large feeding koi pond, playground, and restaurants. https://www.stlouisaquarium.com/
*** SIX FLAGS | Huge amusement & water park. 20 minutes away.
*** MISSOURI WINERIES | Before prohibition (where alcohol was illegal), Missouri was the second largest wine producer in the nation and the first area recognized as a federally designated American Viticultural Area. There are several wine trails you can do near St. Louis by Augusta and Hermann, known as Missouri Rhineland from early German immigrants.
*** ANHEUSER- BUSCH TOUR | Headquartered in St. Louis, this famous beer brand offers free factory tours. Our girls love seeing the Clydesdale horses on their tour.
*** GRANTS FARM | Free admission. The 281-acre ancestral home of the Busch (beer) family. The Farm is home to more than 900 animals. You can see Clydesdale horses, go on camel rides, feed baby goats, ride on the carousel, and see live animal shows.
*** CAHOKIA MOUNDS | Free admission. A UNESCO world heritage site. The site of largest pre-Columbian civilization north of Mexico and THE LARGEST archaeological site in the US. Several pyramid-like earthen mounds can be found here. It dates back to 600 AD and is believed to be the first great city of the US. They mysteriously disappeared in 1050 AD. The on site museum offers free guided tours. Here is a video about the area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXQfxIZUtWY
*** SKIING | Hidden Valley, Missouri's largest ski resort, is just 22 minutes from our home. https://www.hiddenvalleyski.com/explore-the-resort/about-the-resort/resort-information.aspx
*** FLOAT TRIPS | River canoeing and rafting are popular here. We have several rivers to float on ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours away. Current River is one of our favorites.
***CAVE SCUBBA DIVING | Missouri is known as the cave state. We have about 6,400. Some of these caves provide unique diving experiences. Bonne Terre cavern and abandoned mine houses the largest subterranean lake in the world. Even Jacque Cousteau came here to dive. The water is filtered through the limestone walls providing excellent visibility - 100ft/30.5m. The water temperature is the same all year long which makes it popular for winter diving. If you don't scuba dive, they offer a boat ride through the cavern. National Geographic Adventure named this dive spot one of the top 10 adventures in America. USA Today ranked Bonne Terre as one of the top 10 places to scuba dive in the US. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/7253678002
. Here is a video about Bonne Terre: https://youtu.be/pCoAgM8HVU0
*** MERAMEC CAVERNS | Famous for being the hideout of outlaw Jesse James in the 1870s. It's the most visited and largest commercial cave in Missouri. 45 minutes away.
*** GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS TO CHECK OUT | Delmar Loop, Central West-End, Tower Grove, Soulard, Historic St. Charles
*** ANNUAL EVENTS | There are several, but our favorite is Balloon Glow every September. It's free! https://greatforestparkballoonrace.com/
Seriously, there is too much to list! You can see a full list on these websites as well as request a free visitor's guide:
St. Louis - https://explorestlouis.com/travel-tools/visitors-guide/
Missouri - https://www.visitmo.com/travel-guide
DAY & WEEKEND TRIPS:
*** Johnson Shut-ins and Elephant Rock Park (highly recommended). 1.25 hours from my home. They are near each other. Johnson Shut-ins is swimmable during summer months and a beautiful hike during colder months.
*** St. Genevieve - Oldest permanent setttlement in Missouri with heavy French colonial influences. St. Genevieve National Historic Park is part of the National Park Services. 1 hour away.
*** Fort de Chartres - This fort was built by the French in 1750. Close to St. Genevieve.
*** Hannibal, Missouri | 2 hours 10 minutes away. Birthplace of American author Mark Twain.
*** Echo State Park | 2.5 hours away
*** Branson, Ozarks, Table Rock Lake | 3.5 hours away by car
*** Chicago | 4.5 hours away by car
We do not have a cleaner, but we have an automatic vacuum/mopping robot that helps save time. If needed, a trusted family member can clean for a fee. Fee depends on how much of the house needs to be clean.
We do not allow shoes to be worn inside our home. This is very important to us.
We cannot exchange with smokers, even if you are an outside smoker.
St. Louis suburbs are well developed with many shopping & restaurants nearby. We are 20-25 minutes from museums, the zoo, airport, and downtown.
Our neighborhood (Ballwin) is ranked in the top 3 safest cities in Missouri and #1 in 2019. We often take family walks at night. There are plenty of parks with playgrounds & walking trails nearby. 4 parks are less than 5 minutes from our home.
Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, and Aldi are 10 minutes or less from our home.
St. Louis Lambert airport, or STL, is 22 minutes from our home.
You will need a car to get around. St. Louis has slow and limited public transportation, very limited in the suburbs. We are open to car exchanges.
I have lived in St. Louis for almost 36 years and would be happy to answer any questions you may. Would love to meet up or do a playdate if you have young children.