Welcome to Missouri, the Show-Me State
One of our last days in Missouri was also one of our best! We spent the day in St. Louis exploring Forest Park. In the park there are a lot of monuments and attractions, like the St. Louis Science Center and the Missouri History Museum. There are also animals, lakes and grassy meadows. Sam and I had a picnic under a large tree and ate lunch in the shade.
After we finished eating, we were ready to visit the famous St. Louis Zoo, which is another cool part of Forest Park. We were excited because we had just heard all about the World’s Fair, and we knew the zoo started as a flight cage for the fair. A flight cage is a giant birdcage people can walk through.
At the zoo, we took a small tour on a train called the Zooline Rail. The train driver told us that more than 18,000 animals live at this zoo.
“Wow,” said a voice from behind us. We turned and saw a girl about our age. “18,000!” she said. “I never knew there were so many animals here.”
Her name was Molly and we told her that we were visiting Missouri for the first time. Molly said she was born in Missouri but had never been to the zoo before today. She asked all about our adventures in her home state. Then she told us some neat facts about Missouri, like that the state dance is a square dance. Sam and I had never tried it. Molly said it’d be fun for us to learn and that she could teach us the basic steps.
“It’s a dance people used to do a lot more in the old days,” she said, “but we have a great time doing it.” She invited us to a square dancing party she was having for her best friend’s birthday. After the dancing, she said we’d be making ice cream cones for dessert. It’s hard to say no to homemade ice cream cones, especially in Missouri, where the ice cream cone is the state dessert!
Learn the dance steps that Molly taught us below. When you’re done dancing, follow our ice cream cone recipe to enjoy the state dessert, just like we did!
Scroll down to check out our favorites and the square dancing lesson to explore more of the state.
Sofia and Sam
Animal at St. Louis Zoo:
Baby hippos can weigh between 50 and 100 pounds! They like swimming so much that they often put their whole bodies under water, leaving just the tops of their heads sticking out.
Shoal Creek Living History Museum
I had so much fun at the Living History Museum, which is an old village made up of buildings that were built between 1807 and 1885! At the museum I was able to climb over bridges and see real buffalo and chickens.
This is the boyhood home of Mark Twain, one of the most famous American authors. I learned that his real name was actually Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Sofia and I even got to visit Mark Twain Lake, where people sail, motorboat and camp.
Animal at St. Louis Zoo:
These unique penguins have a black band of feathers on their chest, as well as pink patches on their feet, faces and underneath their wings! These featherless patches help keep the birds cool in warmer climates.
Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City
Columns decorate the entrance of the Nelson Atkins Museum. There are so many paintings, sculptures and photographs to see, from the Asian collection to the European collection. The museum holds more than 35,000 works of art! I could spend hours here.
City: St. Louis
There are a lot of cool attractions in St. Louis, like the St. Louis Zoo and the Gateway Arch, which is the tallest monument in the United States! It was really fun to walk around and see the sights, and at night the skyline is dazzling.
Square Dance Instructions
The square dance is Missouri’s state dance. It’s upbeat and easy to learn. Check out the steps below and you’ll be dancing in no time! Then, after all the dancing, treat yourself with a homemade ice-cream cone just like Sam and Sofia did at Molly’s square dancing party!
The Square Dance
What You Need:
– A caller (someone to “call” out instructions)
– A dancing partner
– Square dancing music*
*Search for square dancing music on YouTube
Square Dance Instructions:
1. Stand facing your partner.
2. Honor your partner with a bow or curtsy before beginning the dance.
3. The caller says, “Circle to the right.”
4. Join hands with your partner and skip in a circle to the right.
5. The caller says, “Circle to the left.”
6. Still holding hands, skip in a circle to the left.
7. Let go of your partner’s hands. Both partners now walk a few steps forward then a few steps back.
8. The next step is called the “Promenade.” Link arms with your partner and skip in a circle, twice.
9. Next is the “Do Si Do.” Both partners step past each other and circle each other back to back while crossing their own hands.
10. Bow to your partner when the dance is over.