Visitors Guide to
St. Louis & St. Louis County, Missouri

Gateway to the West
   

SPOTLIGHT ON NATURE

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
Saint Louis County, Missouri

The Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is situated at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in north Saint Louis County. This 4,318-acre area is managed by the Missouri Department Conservation and features a mosaic of bottomland habitats that includes shallow wetlands, bottomland hardwoods, prairie, croplands, and 6.5 miles of river frontage. Columbia Bottom Conservation Area has a number of features an accessible limestone biking trail, a 3 mile hiking trail, bird watching, educational programs, canoeing and kayaking, an accessible boat ramp, an accessible fishing pier, and a viewing deck at the confluence. A Visitor Center houses many natural history exhibits and an auto tour visits eight discovery stations that help visitors explore the different habitats of the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area.

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ANIMAL OF THE WEEK
AT THE SAINT LOUIS ZOO

Polar Bear

The Saint Louis Zoo brings visitors nose-to-nose with a swimming polar bear and offers new insights into the lives of polar bears and the Arctic people who rely on them through its new $16 million, 40,000-square-foot McDonnell Polar Bear Point exhibit. At the exhibit the Zoo is offering information about the plight of the polar bear and the role polar bears play in the lives of Alaska Native people through interpretive materials. Visitors can see objects that would be present in traditional Alaskan villages. The first occupant of this exhibit is Kali (pronounced "Cully”), a 850-pound male polar bear that was orphaned in Alaska. The orphaned bear was turned over to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service by an Alaska Native hunter who killed Kali’s mother in a subsistence hunt without realizing the mother had a cub.

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Along the Mississippi River's 2,552-mile journey from its headwaters in Minnesota to the delta in Louisiana, St. Louis is one of the few truly cosmopolitan destinations along the Great River Road. The Greater St. Louis area is the 18th largest metropolitan area in the United States with more than 2,800,000 people.

Saint Louis and Saint Louis County have a lot to offer its visitors. The area's most prominent attraction is the Gateway Arch. Designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen and completed in 1966, the nation's tallest monument rises over the west bank of the Mississippi as a symbol of St. Louis' role as the Gateway to the West. The Arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial complex that also includes the Museum of Westward Expansion and the Odyssey Theater. Saint Louis has a number of outstanding public institutions that are free to visit: the Zoo (photo left,) Art Museum, History Museum, and the Science Center.

Saint Louis is home to a vibrant art scene. New and revitalized institutions, along with world-class architecture and public sculpture can be found throughout the city and county. The Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park is one of the nation's leading comprehensive art museums. The Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts are two of five free museums within blocks of each other midtown arts district called Grand Center. Laumeier Sculpture Park is a 105-acre open-air museum in Saint Louis County that features over 80 works of contemporary sculpture.

Saint Louis has its origins when in 1764 French fur traders established a small village named after Louis IX, the Crusader King of France. There are a number of museums and historical sites that tell the St. Louis' story. The Museum of Westward Expansion documents the history of European expansion from the days of Lewis and Clark. The area has a number of historical houses and societies that offer tours. In Saint Louis County the Museum of Transportation has over 300 locomotives, rail cars, and other forms of transportation.

The Saint Louis region has a number of green spaces for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. Forest Park is the largest of the 105 city parks in Saint Louis and at 1,293 acres is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The park opened in 1876, was home to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (the Saint Louis World's Fair) and is home to the Saint Louis Zoo. Faust County Park, in Saint Louis County, is home to many historical and cultural attractions including the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, a historical village, and the Saint Louis Carousel. The county is also home to Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Castlewood State Park, Columbia Bottom Conservation Area and the Powder Valley Conservation Area.

There are more than just the sights to see and activities that make Saint Louis an attractive place to visit. Saint Louis is famous for its one of a kind eateries. At the 1904 World's Fair vendors invented ice tea and the ice cream cone and popularized the hot dog and hamburger. Contemporary dishes unique to Saint Louis are toasted ravioli, gooey butter coffee cake, and thin crust pizza. Saint Louis also has a variety of one of a kind shopping opportunities. Its historic neighborhoods have shopping districts whose streets are lined with antique and specialty shops. For those in Saint Louis on an extended stay there is a variety of unique bed and breakfasts to choose from and the hotels and motels ranging from the upscale high rises in downtown to the affordable and casual motels in the county.

greatriverroad.com invites you to explore Saint Louis because as the Saint Louis Convention and Visitors Commission says: "there's more than meets the Arch!"

Explore these Great River Road Communities
in the metropolitan St. Louis area

St. Louis
Kirkwood Webster Groves
FEATURED ATTRACTIONS ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
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Cuivre River
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Foundry Art Centre
St. Charles, MO
     






 
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