We originally planned to stay in the St Louis area for four nights, but it became evident we couldn’t see everything in four days so we extended our stay an additional night.
Thursday we had two places to visit. First up was Grant’s Farm. This 281 acre farm is operated by Anheuser- Busch and is the ancestral estate of the Busch family. Open since 1954, it has 900 animals, a Clydesdale stable and breeding farm, animal shows, a collection of the Busch family’s carriages and trophies and the replica of a 19th century Bavarian village. The farm is named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant who built a cabin here in 1856 on land he once owned and farmed.
Entrance to the farm is free but you do have to pay $12 to park. The only way in and out of the farm and village area is by riding a free tram with a narrated tour of the property. Lines to the tram can get quite long and by the time we left in the early afternoon the line stretched back to the parking area.
It would be pretty impossible for the farm to match our zoo experience the day before, and it didn’t. We didn’t expect it to. Our main reason for visiting Grants Farm was for the camel ride. For $6 each we were able to mark an item off our bucket list. We rode a camel and didn’t have to go to the Middle East to do it! It was lots of fun riding Ruby but I found it very uncomfortable sitting on the hump, especially without a saddle. I certainly would not want to ride one across the desert!
We enjoyed our time at Grant’s Farm but it is definitely geared more for small children.
Next we drove down the road to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. First we watched a sixteen minute introductory film and then walked up to look at the house. This 9.65 acre site was the family home of Grant’s wife Julia Dent. Ulysses and Julia purchased the farm from her family during the Civil War. Tours of the house are available but we did not take it. We did spend time inside the stable which is now an interpretive museum, similar to a presidential library. The museum was very well done and informative covering his early years, military career including leading the Union Army during the Civil War, and two terms as president from 1869-1877. During his presidency he stabilized the country in the years after the war ended and enforced civil rights and voting laws. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1875 and strengthened the Republican party in the South. His administration implemented the gold standard and tried to strengthen the dollar. He was unable to effectively halt a five year depression after the “Panic of 1873”. This produced high unemployment and bankruptcies. Corruption charges escalated during his second term and Grant’s administration faced more charges of corruption than any other 19th Century president. Grant died from throat cancer in 1885 at the age of 63. He had been a heavy cigar smoker. He is buried at Grant’s Tomb in New York City along with his wife Julia.
On our last day in St Louis we made another stop by Ted Drewes Frozen Custard for one last treat.
We must say we really really enjoyed our time in St Louis. We were impressed with all the free attractions and friendly people. The traffic in and out of the city was not at all bad, even with all the construction around the Arch. There is still so much we didn’t get to see so we hope to return someday.