City Museum, St. Louis, Bob Cassilly, 1997

I like all of the playgrounds I post on the blog, but this is the first time I thought I might need to relocate to be near one…thanks to reader Jeff for letting me know about St. Louis’ City Museum. From their website:
“Housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company, the museum is an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, the museum opened for visitors in 1997 to the riotous approval of young and old alike.
Cassilly and his longtime crew of 20 artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city; and, as a result, it has urban roots deeper than any other institutions’. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, CITY MUSEUM boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes!
CITY MUSEUM makes you want to know,” says Cassilly. “The point is not to learn every fact, but to say, ‘Wow, that’s wonderful.’ And if it’s wonderful, it’s worth preserving.”
Wow, that’s wonderful.

7 Responses to “City Museum, St. Louis, Bob Cassilly, 1997”

  1. Mike G said:

    Mr. Cassilly's last major project was Cementland. He died at work on it in September 2011.

    February 09, 2012 at 4:27 pm

  2. B.T. Photo said:

    Just wanted to share the playground my 6 yr. old daughter & I designed and built. We used Cedar lumber cut and milled from our property. We also used lots of recycled steel in the construction. It had everything she wanted except for the pond in the middle. Link to some pics is:

    January 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

  3. dana said:

    Oh! It is astonishing. I'm not sure it's for the very young, 3 and under. You really need a 1/1 adult to child ratio, and be prepared for lots of climbing on metal. That said, it's an astonishing space, a perpetual work of art from reclaimed materials. I was there last week, and saw Cassilly and some staff adding mosaics to the first floor oceanscapes. Don't miss the 10 story air shaft, now with multiple staircases spiraling up from the dragon caves, and a 8 story spiral slide back down, all installed around a working pipe organ. It certainly can attain madhouse quality. Escape across the street to the serene London Tea Room for sandwiches, cakes, tea, and coffee.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:49 pm

  4. Guy Fawkes said:

    I've lived in St. Louis since 1991 and have been going to The City Museum since its founding. It's the only museum you should plan on exiting with bruises. Knee-pads are probably a good idea. It's less dangerous than it used to be (still fun, but I miss the giant bungee cords that used to allow you to swing through the giant dodge ball pit like something out of Thunderdome). When I know someone is coming to St. Louis for a short visit, I tell them that if they see only one thing, The City Museum is IT.

    Related and nearby is “Turtle Playground” with GIANT turtles designed by the mind behind The City Museum (Bob Cassilly):

    March 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm

  5. DK said:

    Amazing, forget the arch.

    November 17, 2009 at 12:48 pm

  6. Michelle said:


    November 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  7. Marian said:

    These pictures are great and what a difference to the municipal tat you so often see. Thank you! I wondered what had happened to the Garden History Girl blog and now see you have several!

    November 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Leave a Reply