Angela Cornell

Professional Writer

April 18, 2018
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5 Bible Memory Time Hacks

I don’t have time to memorize.

Congratulations! You are officially invited to join the “I Only Have 24 Hours in My Day” Club. Although I’m working with a team of rebel Time-Eating Monkeys to develop an Add-An-Hour App for all my devoted readers, but my furry friends are having a strange allergic reaction to it (dizziness, unreasonable hyperactivity, hair color change, and one even claimed that a big, blue police box landed on his front lawn). So… unfortunately, it may be another 6-8 weeks before we can work out all the quirks. 😕 Until then, here are some tricks to help you make the most of the time you have!

Tip #1: Write the verse you’re trying to memorize on multiple index cards and tape them all over your house, like on mirrors, over the kitchen sink, or on the bathroom wall. Whenever you see one, read it, then close your eyes and try to quote it.

Tip #2: Download a Bible memory app on your phone. Several are free and some even come with memory games to help you (or the kiddos) retain what you’ve learned.

Tip #3:  Record yourself reading the verses you want to memorize (Audacity, a free computer program, is a great way to do this. You can get it here. Then, listen to them while you’re working around the house or driving. When you think you know it well, pause it and quote the verse.

Tip #4: Write down the verses on either a piece of paper or on your phone. Keep it with you, especially when you’re in public. When you’re in the check-out lane at the grocery store or waiting for the mechanic to change your oil, pull ’em out.

Tip #5: On Paint, Gimp, or a similar computer app, type up a verse and set it as the background for your computer screen or phone (directions for how to do that here). If your computer has the option of automatically switching backgrounds occasionally, then make more than one. When you look at your desktop, read and quote the verse on the screen.

 

 

April 11, 2018
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How to Memorize Scripture

If you don’t memorize Scripture, does that make you a bad Christian? Not necessarily. God teaches His children different lessons at different times according to His good pleasure and grace. If that sounds like you right now, then it’s my hope that you find this article interesting without distracting you from what God is currently teaching you. However, there is much to be said for memorizing Scripture. When we internalize the Word of God, the Holy Spirit can–and often does–work through that. He uses it as a means of giving us unction, to lovingly correct us, and to multiply blessings in our lives. Because of that, it’s my personal belief that every Christian would benefit from memorizing Scripture.

But the question remains…. How do you memorize Bible verses? Well, the part of the brain that is in charge of your memory is more than gray matter. It’s a muscle. Just like any other muscle in the body, it needs to be stretched and exercised regularly. If you haven’t worked with this muscle in a while, don’t worry! It’s not too late! It just means that you’ll have to put in a little extra effort into strengthening it. So, let’s explore some memory tricks and tools you can use to help you memorize the Bible.

There are three main learning styles: visual, audio, and tactile (hands-on). Visual people learn by seeing a verse. Whenever they try to recall it, they’ll visualize that page in their Bible or the index card it’s written on. Audio people learn best by hearing the verse. Tactile people earn best by touch, which means they either have to be doing something to keep their hands busy while their mind is engaged in memorizing or they or they have to find a way to connect movement to the verse, like using hand motions or acting it out. However, if you’re like me (and most people), you will learn best when the learning styles are mixed. I typically learn best with a visual-tactile style. But when I’m memorizing, I use all three styles. I picture the page in my Bible (visual), walk around (tactile) while I’m quoting out loud (audio) and incorporate sign language when I can (tactile).

There are literally hundreds of memorizing strategies, and this article outlines the one that I like using the most. If my method doesn’t work for you, however, google “Bible Memory Strategies” and try other ways until you find one that works for you.

Step 1: Read it three times out loud.

This will satisfy both the visual and the audio learning styles. If you’re a tactile learner, come up with hand motions or play with a rubber band while you’re doing this. Of course, make sure that you understand what you’re memorizing. It does you no good if the Bible is just head knowledge– it needs to be heart knowledge, too.

Step 2: Say the verse out loud without looking at it.

Do not expect to be able to say it perfectly or entirely. If you can say 3-5 words, that’s 3-5 more words of Scripture that you didn’t have memorized two minutes ago.

Step 3: Read it out loud again.

Make note of what you missed when you quoted it in step 2.

Step 4: Repeat step 2.

You should be able to say it a bit better. But even if you can’t, just take a deep breath and try again.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 as many times as necessary.

The secret to memorizing is repetition. At this point, it’s nice to have a someone to quote to, especially if you’re feeling discouraged or brain-tired.

Step 6: Do something else for about 10 minutes.

This gives your mind a break and will let your memory muscle relax so you can hit the verse again with new fervor.

Step 7: Quote the verse to yourself again, and check yourself afterward.

Don’t be upset with yourself if you don’t remember it entirely. Memorizing, in general, isn’t easy; memorizing Scripture can be mentally– and spiritually– grueling. Just repeat steps 3-6 again. When you can say it completely, give yourself a well-earned pat on the back!

It takes a lot of effort to “hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we won’t sin against God” (Psalms 119:11). The mind is a complex “computer” that sometimes forgets things that we want to remember. Bible memory isn’t as simple as moving the verse onto a mental flash drive to keep it safe for years to come. Truth be told, the process is more like engraving steel. Over the next few weeks–and even months–quote the verse to yourself and others. The more you quote it, the more it will be chiseled into your brain… and the less likely you will be to forget it.

Warning: symptoms of excessively memorizing God’s Word include a closer relationship with your heavenly Father, improved memory, increased mental function, enhanced spiritual sight, and increased knowledge of and confidence in Biblical truths. If you experience any of these or other positive side effects, praise God and then tell a friend.

April 4, 2018
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Bible Memory: The Difference Between “Hard” and “Impossible”

Do you think you can’t memorize Scripture? It’s okay. You’re not alone. Lots of people think that.

But… let me ask you one question. What’s your phone number and address? You have those committed to memory, right? “But,” I can almost hear you say, “those are easy things that are split into easy-to-memorize sections.” Okay, yes. But there are several small, easy-to-memorize verses in Scripture, too. Even those that aren’t short can be split into smaller phrases. Take a passage I memorized a few weeks ago, Psalms 119:57-58 (CJB): “Adonai, I say my task is to observe Your words. I beg Your favor with all my heart. Show pity to me in keeping with Your promise.” Here’s how I would split it: Adonai, I say my task/ is to observe Your word/ I beg Your favor/ with my whole heart/ show pity to me/ in keeping with Your promise.”

So what about jingles? If I asked what the Nationwide Insurance jingle was, would you be able to sing it? “Sure,” you may be thinking, “but those commercials are everywhere. Plus, they’re put to music, which makes it easier to remember.” Well, you can do the same thing with Bible verses. In fact, keep checking back–in a few weeks, I’ll explain a few ways to make Bible memory more accessible to you on a day-to-day basis. Also, many artists like Steve Green, Nathan Clark George, and Sandra McCracken (among others) have put Scripture to music. Seriously, this is one of the best ways I have found to memorize Bible verses.

Let’s turn to something more complicated, like your favorite movie or TV show. If we were sitting together in a coffee shop right now, could you give me a synopsis of it? I’m sure you could. And, if you’re like my brother, you could give me a nearly-perfect line-by-line recitation of your favorite scene. “Well, yeah…” You may say, “but that’s because I’ve watched it so many times!” That’s a good point! Repetition is a key aspect of memorizing. So here’s the deal: if you take a Bible verse and go over it as many times as you’ve watched that movie, you’ll have it down just as well.

How about your best friend’s face? Could you describe it for me? “Sure, but what’s that got to do with anything? There aren’t any facial descriptions in the verses I’d memorize!” On the contrary, the Bible is overflowing with passages that show the character of God (Psalms 119, Matthew 5-7, and John 14-17 to name a few). If you commit yourself you memorizing Scripture, you’ll understand God better. More than that, you’ll be able to recognize His handiwork easier next time you see it.

The point is, if you can remember your phone number, address, the Nationwide jingle, the storyline from your favorite movie, and your best friend’s face, then your memory is by no means disabled. It might be a little rusty, but it is still workable. All it needs is some exercise. How do you do that? By using it. Start with a short, simple verse like 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” then move on to harder verses. I promise that as you keep working on it, the easier and more rewarding memorizing will become.

January 12, 2018
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Singleness… 3 Habits That Make It Worse

A few weeks ago, some friends of mine came over to make Christmas goodies. Between decorating sugar cookies and melting chocolate for turtles, one of my friends mentioned that she appreciated these articles. “Thanks,” I told her. “It’s a subject that I felt God really wanted me to write about. The next article in the series is a bear, though. It’s about ways to make singleness worse. You know, more painful and less fulfilling. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in that area and I know many others have, too. But I’m having trouble putting it to words. It’s why I haven’t posted in a while.”

She nodded. “Then I’ll be praying that God gives you the right words to say.” So, here’s to Elli. Thanks for providing some much-needed spiritual backing to help me get this article (and the one I posted last Friday) online!

  1. Read romance novels and watch romantic films. The most common way I know of to make singleness worse is to watch a chick flick or read a Harlequin romance. If you’re like most girls (or one of those not-so-uncommon guys), you enjoy a good romantic comedy now and again. Know why? It’s because of that wonderful, warm, fluffy buzz that it leaves you. Like you could fly… or have the “courage” to kiss your crush next time you see him.

 So, what’s the problem with euphoria? Well, it’s just an emotional high that temporarily fills the boyfriend-sized hole in your life and leaves you with false ideas of what true love looks like. However, there’s another reaction you could have to a romantic comedy—it reminds you of everything you don’t have and plunges you into that black hole of discontentment. After all, the boy and the girl had each other by the end of the story. But you… hmm. Maybe we should leave that one alone.

The problem with emotional highs (and lows) is that God desires the Christian life to be free to “run the course of [God’s] commandments” without anything that could “so easily ensnares us”. We are called to set God first in our lives, which means we set nothing above Him in any way.

Are romantic comedies a form of idolatry then? Perhaps. But I would have an easier time believing that it’s gluttony. Contrary to popular belief, gluttony is not necessarily connected with going to the buffet line for the fourth time. It has everything to do with filling holes in your life with not-God things: allowing personal desires enslave you until fulfilling God’s call on your life becomes less important than fulfilling your wants. (for more on this, check out C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, chapter 17).

So getting back to the main point, the best way to answer the romantic comedy desire is to find new forms of entertainment, like books and movies that don’t have romance (or at least keeps it as a subplot). Next time your friends come over to do something fun, play a board game instead of watching a movie. But what if all your friends want to watch 13 Going on 30? Simple: just quietly and graciously excuse yourself when steamy scenes affect you emotionally and find some other distraction. After all, just because your friends want to watch a chick flick doesn’t mean that your spirit has to bear the consequence.

  1. Grab the first (or the next) person that comes along. He likes you. You know it. Everyone knows it. He’s a nice and cute, attends church, and your heart is starting to flutter a bit when you see him. Granted, he has a few quirks (okay, okay, there are red flags. Large, waving, and crimson as blood), but no one’s perfect right? Besides, what if no one else expresses interest… ever? Do you really want to be known as a prude? Certainly being married to someone is better than being single the rest of your life… right?

WRONG! Nor am I just saying this because I’m trying to make excuses for my singleness. I’ve spoken to people who went into marriage with the attitude of “the way I feel about him is more important than our lack of compatibility.” They often end up viewing their marriage as the biggest regret of their life. Any of them would say that getting married for the wrong reasons never pays off. Ever. Many get divorced. The rest have lackluster marriages, void of the blessedness and joy that should characterize the relationship between husband and wife. My mom has this quote by H. Jackson Brown hanging by her computer: “Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of all your happiness or misery.” Know what you’re looking for in a spouse and do not settle. Ninety percent is too high a percentile to squander on an inferior relationship.

  1. Decide that if you have feelings that won’t go away, he must be the one. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told, “I prayed that if he’s not the one, that God would just take away my feelings for him. But I still like him! It must be a sign.”

If only it were that easy. See, in the Bible, the signs that God gives are nearly or absolutely impossible to achieve by human standards (unlike feelings sticking around, which–speaking from experience–are so easy to maintain). Think about Gideon. God actually gave him multiple signs that the call on his life was real (Gideon’s sacrifice miraculously caught fire in Judges 6:17-21, then the whole thing with the fleeces in verses 36-40, and then the Lord let Gideon hear about a Midianite soldier’s dream in 7:13-14). Nor is this an unique case. Throughout Scripture, when God tells His servants something specific, it is accompanied by signs and collaboration from independent witnesses.

 Question: how does that translate to your crush?

Answer: Remember that human emotions are supposed to be the caboose. Not the engine.

I like listening to sermons. The last few months, I have been enthralled with Dr. Phil Kaiser’s (of Dominion Covenant Presbyterian Church) series about Revelation. In his sermon, Can First Love Be Regained? He puts it this way:

I was told to transform my mind with the means of grace, and that my mind and spirit were the engine of the train. The will was the next car back, the coal cabin.
And the caboose was the emotions. If you get the train engine going, and the
will determinedly keeps stocking the furnace with coal, will the emotions
follow along? Of course they will – they are the caboose. And I will hasten to
say that the caboose is not the only component of love. The whole train is
that love. The whole train of mind, will, and emotions is that agape love. It is
a self-sacrificial love that runs the train even when it is tired; even when it
doesn’t feel like it. That’s true love. And it is a blessing that the caboose of
emotions tags along, but it tags along because of the first deeds. The first
deeds are the stoking of the fire of the steam engine of the train. And a
healthy love has mind, will, and emotions engaged. It has the engine, the
coal car, and the caboose.

Although Dr. Kaiser was speaking about the Christian’s relationship with Jesus, I think the concept applies here. (After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be an allegory of Christ’s relationship with the Church?)

As I was writing this article, my sister pointed out that the real issue behind the question about your crush is discovering the will of God. So the real question should be, how do we discover that? I can’t pretend to be an expert. Discovering God’s will is such an incredible part of the Christian life that sermons and books have been written about it. I can claim neither the wisdom or the knowledge to direct others. But in my meager experience, I’ve found that when I give myself over to transforming “my mind with the means of grace,” as Dr. Kaiser put it, God reveals His will in His own way and time.

So what should we do with those overwhelming feelings and desires? The hardest thing possible. Conquer them. Take every thought captive and surrender each to the dominion of Christ. This leads to stronger faith and obedience, which is better by far and the best protection possible against the common pitfalls of singleness.

January 5, 2018
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Singleness… 3 Attitudes That Make It Worse

Ever heard the name Pete Rose? He was a pro baseball player and manager from 1963 to 1989 and he should have made it into the Hall of Fame. He was a switch hitter, the all-time MLB leader in hits, games played, at-bats, singles, and outs. He also won several awards: Rookie of the Year Award, three World Series rings, three batting titles, one MVP, and two Golden Gloves. Oh yeah, and he made 17 All-Star appearances in five unequaled positions.

So why doesn’t his name appear in the Hall of Fame? Because he failed to protect himself against a common temptation in the leagues. In 1989, he was accused of (and much later admitted to) illegally gambling for and against the Reds, the team he was managing at the time. Rose was, therefore, deemed permanently ineligible to associate professionally with the MLB, which effectively barred him from joining the elite of baseball.

As singles, we have a holy opportunity to live honorably and courageously in a difficult season of life. Although many attempt to, few succeed in living gracefully because like Pete Rose, they fail to protect themselves against common pitfalls that accompany the single years. So, let’s explore three common attitudes that will make your singleness worse.

  1. Lower your standards for Mister/Miss Mystery. The longer your singleness lasts, the more tempting it is to wonder, “Am I not married yet because I’m being too picky?” For some people that may be the case, like a woman I spoke to once who said that she wouldn’t marry a man who couldn’t dance well. At the time—and since—I have hoped that she wouldn’t miss out because of an overwhelming desire for regular dates to the local dance studio.

So, how do you know whether or not you have poor standards for “the one”? Several years ago, I was challenged to write down everything I was looking for in a husband. Surprisingly, the exercise encompassed more than I ever thought it would. First, I wrote down traits as they came to mind, then reorganized the list according to importance, beginning with “godliness” and ending with “a good sense of humor.” The next step was probably the most eye-opening. I searched the Scriptures to find concrete attributes of each trait I (I started in Proverbs, then used a concordance for the rest). Here’s a sample:

  • Stubborn
    • Knows what he believes and sticks to it—even when faced with temptation and persecution (Acts 5:29)
    • Is a man of his word, even when it hurts him (Psalms 15:4)
  • Humble
    • Can argue (and lose) gracefully (Proverbs 10:31, 14:3)
    • Can admit his faults, weaknesses, and mistakes (2 Chronicles 7:14)
    • Isn’t afraid to ask for help (Proverbs 11:27)
    • Has a teachable spirit (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Lastly, I gave this list to a couple people I highly respect who had strong marriages and asked them to give me feedback. From that, I made revisions.

Not long after that, a coworker started acting strangely. He was always eager to talk with me and seemed to develop an interest in my hobbies. He genuinely complimented me and I caught him watching me more than once. Other coworkers started noticing, too. From the comments I heard in the break room, I knew it wouldn’t be long before he asked me out. I wasn’t exactly attracted, but I figured I could make an effort to meet him half-way. Who knew what could develop with time? Then I pulled out the list. He had a good, steady job; was hardworking, intelligent, and funny. But the more important attributes—like godliness, leadership, and humility—he had not. When he pulled me aside a couple weeks later, I had to decline. He was not the type of man I could pursue marriage with, so I could not in good conscience pursue a temporary relationship with him.

  1. Let the happiness of your married/dating friends lead to bitterness I like Facebook. However, there are times that I really wish I hadn’t checked my home page. One morning, the first post was one of my best friends gushing about her two-year-old and the baby moving in her womb. That was really cute and I responded with a thumbs-up, despite a slight twinge of jealousy. A few posts later, a friend announced that she was in a relationship. Good for her! But still… ouch. Scrolling down a bit, pictures of my cousin and his wife filled the screen. Their love is so obvious with all that kissing, hugging, and snuggling. By this point, my heart is twinging, but I’m not so upset that I can’t appreciate their happiness. I held down the like button until it gave me more options and clicked on the heart. A couple minute later, I saw a picture of a beautiful ring. One of my college roommates was engaged.

By this point, my heart was twinging and my gut was clenching. But, I deal with these kinds of reactions all the time. When I catch them early, they’re easy to conquer by just deciding it’s not going to affect me. My resolve lasted until I saw a picture of a gorgeous baby boy on his birth day. The twinging turned to throbbing. The clenching turned rock hard. Cynicism had wrapped its claws around me. I knew from experience that the longer I harbored it, the worse it would become. I got off my phone, praying, “Please, can it be my turn soon?” Reminding myself of God’s faithfulness and resolving to trust Him with the timing (for the second time in about five minutes), I walked away from my phone… only to witness my sister joyously greeting her boyfriend at the door. It wasn’t even 8:30 in the morning, and I had lost count of the number of times I had been slapped by my singleness.

We singles know. Aching loneliness is so common and the littlest things make it worse. So how do we combat bitterness? Well, first, we need to be completely surrendered to the Lord. Whatever He says in His Word and whatever He allows in His sovereignty should be met with the spirit of Mary: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (and yes, it’s much easier said than done).

Here’s a more concrete way of treating it: think about what you do have instead of what you don’t. Think: “What joys, blessings, and pleasures has God given me?” Begin with the Biblical promises (like “I will never leave you nor forsake you”). Don’t stop until you’ve included the singleness perks, like being able to take the afternoon off to have some me-time (whether that’s being holed up in your room reading a book or going to the mall). Find ways to remind yourself of them frequently, especially when you’re feeling down. And of course, beg the Holy Spirit for peace. When peace and contentment are combined, they form a brilliant, strong wall that repels bitterness unlike any other weapon I’ve seen.

  1. Indulge in the emotional “Rapunzel Syndrome.” Did you know that Shrek was turned into a musical? Surprisingly, it was fairly good. But, entertainment reviews aside, Fiona (the heroine) has a solo that I think captures the idea of the “Rapunzel Syndrome” quite well. Check out the clip:

We all know girls like this. Girls who proverbially sit at their window singing Jesse McCartney and Taylor Swift, watching chick flicks, and wishing for her prince to come. Okay, we all act like those girls more or less. (Guys, just admit it. You do it too. You just use different methods to cope).

Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have these longings. On the contrary, God designed us to long for love and marriage. Jim Elliot said, “Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.” When we let our longings turn into obsession, we go from natural and healthy to sin. Like everything, desires have to remain submitted to the lordship of Christ.

In Galatians, Paul admonishes, “Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due time you will receive a harvest if you do not give up.” Sage advice, even for the 21st century single adult. God calls us to “[fix] our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NASB), trusting that in God’s timing, we will receive all the blessings God has intended for us.

January 1, 2018
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The St. Louis Vacation, pt. 5: Southwest

There’s one more part of St. Louis to highlight, and that’s the southwest. Just like the rest of the area, there are several places that your family will thoroughly enjoy visiting!

#1: Grant’s Farm

Grant’s Farm is one of St. Louis’ most popular sites, and for good reason! As a prime example of agri-tourism, they have enough to keep your family busy for hours. Take a ride on a camel, or let your kids ride a pony. Bottle feed baby goats and visit Deer Park, where you can see all sorts of rare animals from North American Bison to European Black Buck Antelope. Whatever you do, you won’t want to miss the incredible shows! These informative, exhilarating demonstrations teach about the incredible creatures on the property.

When you get tired, take a spin on the carousel or visit the cabin where Ulysses S. Grant stayed when he worked at the farm. This is also the home of the Budweiser Clydesdales, so take a tour to meet them and figure out everything that makes them so special, besides being featured on the cutest Christmas beer commercials.

However you spend your time on the farm, it will be time well spent!

#2: The Magic House

The Magic House is another fun, hands-on museum that is designed to ignite your kids’ curiosity, creativity, and problem solving abilities. In a day and age when imagination isn’t quite as plentiful in younger generations, there has never been a greater need for a place like this. Your younger kids can learn from different displays about static electricity and the science behind music. Your older kids will be enthralled by a room dedicated to forensics where they can solve a mystery while studying fingerprints, crawl through duct work to spy on suspects, and discover secret passageways. There are also temporary exhibits that you’ll definitely want to check out. There are so many displays and exhibits intended for children of all ages, making this another place where you can spend several hours and it feels like minutes. Admission is $10 per person.

#3: World Bird Sanctuary

If you like wildlife, and specifically like birds, you really need to check out World Bird Sanctuary. They have over 200 species, and have special displays on birds of prey from all over the world, featuring owls, falcons, and hawks. But they also have exotic birds, like parrots, and other birds from around the world, like an Egyptian Vulture! Their mission is to preserve animals, especially endangered birds, in their natural environment, and they do so quite skillfully, but they don’t feature birds only. You can also view an impressive display of snakes, insects from Madagascar, and mammals like armadillos and bats. This is a great way to expose your kids to the natural world in a safe and educational setting.

#4: Broemmelsiek Park Stargazing

Although this one is a bit of a drive from St. Louis, your family will definitely have to check out is Broemmelsiek Park’s Friday Night Star Gazing, which is hosted on every Friday evening throughout the year, weather permitting. Using complex telescopes as well as the naked eye, participants can view the night sky like never before. This free program is run by trained facilitators who will point out specific constellations and other cosmic features that will make you appreciate the wonder and majesty of our universe just before hitting the hay.

Details: Starts at dusk. Location: Broemmelsiek Park Main Entrance (1615 Schwede Rd., Wentzville, MO 63385)

#5: Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad Association

The WF&P Railroad is one of the top family attraction in the Greater St. Louis area. Located in Glencoe, MO, this attraction’s purpose is to keep the history of steam trains alive and well. This park has several ride-able model trains… and they aren’t like the cutesy kid-sized cars disguised as trains that you’ll find in your local mall. These actually require tracks and truly run on steam. Mom and dad can ride them too! Each ride, which last about 30 minutes, costs only $4 and travels along the beautiful Meramec River. However, they’re only open on Sundays from 11 AM – 4:15 PM.

#6: Six Flags

There are very few people in the world who don’t like amusement parks at all. There’s just something about all the rides, the energy, and the constantly available carny food that’s attractive to the modern American mindset.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the best attraction, Hurricane Harbor which is a massive water park. For those in your family who prefer the adrenaline rush, check out the Tornado, where you can ride down a 132 ft. (40.2 m) long funnel, or the Dive Bomber, which is a 5-story slide that is practically a free-fall! But that’s not the end of the ride! After that, you have some serious twists and turns to reckon with before hitting the pool at the bottom. But, if you prefer saner rides, check out the Hurricane Bay wave pool or the Surf Rider, a simulator that can give you a taste of what surfing the waves really feels like!

 

This post originally appeared on Daring Penguin Travel Blog, published January 10, 2016. It was part of a larger article, 30+ Places to Check Out in St. Louis.

December 11, 2017
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The St. Louis Vacation, pt. 4: Forest Park

Forest Park, located fifteen minutes due west of downtown St. Louis, was the location of the 1904 World’s Fair. Ever since, the St. Louis Park District has been adding tourist attractions to the grounds. Besides the museums and zoo, it is also home to hiking trails, monuments, natural highlights, indoor/outdoor recreational centers, and landmarks. Any honest tourist would admit that there’s enough to do here to keep a family busy for many days.

#1: The St. Louis Art Museum

If you want to get exposed to worldwide, local, and ancient art, but don’t want to drive all the way to the Smithsonians in Washington D.C., then drop by the St. Louis Art Museum. This incredible place has over a dozen permanent collections, boasting over 30,000 works! Take the Ancient Egyptian Collection, for instance. This display highlights hieroglyphics, explains the mummification process, and even has a real sarcophagus! Or, if you prefer the art of war, check out the Arms and Armor display, which has suits of armor and weapons from the 15th through the 18th centuries. Maybe you’d like to see art from around the world, like African headdresses, weapons from the South Pacific, and pottery from Asia, and other exhibits that hail from literally every continent on earth. These are just a few of the permanent displays in this three-story building.

Nor are all the collections indoors! The Grace Taylor Broughton Sculpture Garden is a beautiful array of outside artwork. There’s enough to do here to keep an art or history lover busy all day; but if you just want to do something different to de-stress for a couple of hours, this is a classy way to do it. Tickets are recommended, but admission is free.

#2: The Missouri History Museum

Much like an art museum, the Missouri History Museum is a great way to spend the last couple of hours of the day. They have some fascinating permanent exhibits about St. Louis through the ages, the Spirit of St. Louis (an airplane that Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris in 1919) and the 1904 World’s Fair.

Another permanent display is the History Clubhouse. This section of the museum is dedicated to instilling the love of learning, history, and museums inside children and their families. Please keep in mind that viewing the History Clubhouse is free, but requires a ticket to enter.

If you’re still around in the evening, check out Twilight Tuesday, a seasonal outdoor concert series that takes place on the front lawn of the museum. The public is more than welcome to come out with lawn chairs, drinks, and bug repellent to enjoy the lineup under the St. Louis sunset.

#3: The St. Louis Science Center

The Science Museum is an interactive playground that features anything that could be remotely considered scientific. The best thing is, your kids will have so much fun that they won’t even realize that they’re learning! They have entire rooms dedicated to forensics, technology, DNA, and agriculture. Children of all ages can explore the environment and ecology exhibits. Watch your child’s eyes widen in wonder as they feel what an earthquake feels like, watch a simulator create a tornado, or dig out dinosaur bones in the paleontology display.

Every hour, there are science demonstrations on the lower level with incredible themes like “Creepy Chemistry” and “Boiling Hot… Boiling Cold.” You’ll definitely want to pace yourself, however, because it’s very easy to spend all day here and not really want to leave at closing time.

Then again, why not make your visit a weekend trip? The Science Center and Drury Hotels has a package deal to make your stay that much more affordable and enjoyable.

#4: The St. Louis Zoo

If you like animals, you need to check out the St. Louis Zoo. Although general admission is free, there are some attractions that require purchased tickets to enjoy, such as the sea lion show, zooline train, and the conservation carousel.

Enter by the north entrance, so you will see Living World first. This center is a marvelous welcome/information center where you can get a good overview of the park and plan your visit. And while you’re there, look through the Insectarium, which offers a good look at some spectacular bees, bugs (behind glass of course), and butterflies. Also in the Discovery Center is a display of some of the rare, smaller creatures, like naked mole rats, meerkats, and tree kangaroos. But that’s only the beginning. Throughout the zoo’s 89 acres, there are literally thousands of critters, and more are arriving all the time!

If by the end of your visit, your kids are singing the Gayla Peevey’s classic song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” or inserting some other animal into the lyrics like “baby tiger” or “dolphin,” stop by one of the gift shops, which are located at different places around the zoo.

#5: The Muny

Enjoy a good theater production? Check out the Muny, one of the finest outdoor theaters in the world! They host all sorts of fun, locally and nationally cast musicals, ranging in style from The Little Mermaid to Gypsy and Legally Blonde. Check out their season schedules to determine which show you want to see and to get tickets!

 

This post originally appeared on Daring Penguin Travel Blog, published January 10, 2016. It was part of a larger article, 30+ Places to Check Out in St. Louis.