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St. Louis Museum Offers Thrills, Chills, and Lawsuits

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the everything-fun-is-dangerous dept.

Education 140

theodp writes "Despite the whiff of danger, or perhaps because of it, the WSJ reports that the City Museum is one of St. Louis's most popular attractions. Housed in a 10-story brick building, the City Museum shows none of the restraint or quiet typical of most museums. It boasts a five-story jungle gym with two real-life jets kids can climb on, an enclosed Monster Slide that drops riders the length of three staircases, and a rooftop Ferris wheel. Sure, there are the occasional severed fingers and skull fractures, but museum founder Bob Cassilly contends that it is as safe as it can be without being a bore. 'They [lawyers] are taking the fun out of life,' says Cassilly, adding that 'when you have millions of people do something, something's going to happen no matter what you do.'"

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Scary indeed! (4, Informative)

JDSalinger (911918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075456)

I have climbed through their jungle gym and I must say it is quite scary. You definitely feel right on the edge of safe. Yet it stands out like no other "museum" I've been to. As such, it is quite provocative and truly unique, but contains minimal content and only satiates perhaps an hour of curiosity.

Re:Scary indeed! (5, Interesting)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075576)

I have climbed through their jungle gym and I must say it is quite scary. You definitely feel right on the edge of safe. Yet it stands out like no other "museum" I've been to. As such, it is quite provocative and truly unique, but contains minimal content and only satiates perhaps an hour of curiosity.

"...only satiates perhaps an hour of curiosity" Only an hour??? I went there with a group of friends as a senior in college and it was the most fun I've had in my adult life! We spent about 6 hours running, climbing, sliding, jumping, and generally laughing like children. It's one of the few places where there are no rules to be followed, and the whole point is to remember what it was like to climb on everything.

Re:Scary indeed! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32075926)

The joy police (liberals) and their goons the trial lawyers have been notified. As a nagging bitch nannyist lefty, I assure you you won't get away with this.

Re:Scary indeed! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076172)

As a real extremely liberal far edge leftie, I reply to your statement with; "Eat a turd ya troll."

Re:Scary indeed! (-1, Offtopic)

stillnotelf (1476907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076556)

You aren't supposed to feel the trolls! Turds count as food...

Re:Scary indeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076572)

Then we know you're not a real leftie, because eating a turd would be bad for you, like trans fats, and you would believe that people shouldn't be permitted to eat what they want.

Re:Scary indeed! (1)

skam240 (789197) | more than 4 years ago | (#32079054)

Name calling is awesome! It's like being in Junior High again!

We know you're not a real righty because you know how to spell words! Plus, you're a faggot!

This is great!

Re:Scary indeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32079308)

"Faggot" is not a politically correct term. Please surrender your Communist Party of America membership card at the nearest party facility. (Which is basically any government office, with our current leadership.) Your membership has been revoked for speaking unapproved thoughts. Bad comrade!

Re:Scary indeed! (2, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076032)

Anybody remember when "personal responsibility" meant something?

"Waah, I paid admission, then went down a slide and didn't pay attention to what I was doing and injured myself so I'm suing you for $$$."

Kill all the lawyers. First step towards reclaiming society. Second step: reclaim the jury system so it's no longer twelve retards who think the defendant has unlimited funds and "can afford" to just pay out in Lawsuit Lotto.

Re:Scary indeed! (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076528)

Kill all the lawyers.

That's great advice; tyrants love it when you throw out the rule of law.

Re:Scary indeed! (4, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077056)

Lawyers ARE the tyrants these days. We basically live in a lawyerocracy; look how many corrupt lawyers there are in congress, the white house, etc... it's gotten to the point where the few honest lawyers will actually tell you that NOBODY KNOWS how many possible federal crimes there are - you can't go two steps without theoretically breaking the law somehow.

The phrase "they're always guilty of something"? The lawyers made it so.

Re:Scary indeed! (1)

Sebastien_Bailard (1034810) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078786)

"This anti-lawyer screed brought to you by British Petroleum."

What rule of law?? (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32079384)

The rules are rigged and the game is rigged! BEWARE of any buzzwords that the political parties frequently SHARE - it means those are the best polled phrases to win you over the quickest from a broad political spectrum. It does not speak to the truth of the statement only that it is highly effective of robbing your thought by evoking emotions and conditioned beliefs they wish to exploit.

Legal terrorism is the game and the ones with the most "gunmen" tend to win the battle or by the threat; it is a "civilized" version of the wild west out there. Your odds are about as bad as your rifle is against the hired gunmen except now you have less options in the fight. We can do much better when opposing government; so I must concede that we've made a tiny bit of progress overall.

The lawyers have been destroying law for profit and promotion for a long time. The society has been going along with it as well, being sold on shallow reasoning and marketing slogans. Zero Tolerance is popular today; it should be laughably stupid (because it is.) So, then we regress into that mentality not necessarily due to actual support by politicians or the public but because that is the bill of goods people are sold under a brand name slogan (and lacking depth;) then later, it comes back as pressure for the politician to actually compromise and give people symbolic follow through while neither side really actually wants it. This is especially true when political enemies try to undermine or hijack symbols for their own use so even effective implementations (or lack there of) must be symbolically attacked. Again, not for the good of society or principle but for the GAME - and naturally, delivered behind a poker face.

The GAMING / HACKING of the society is ultimately to blame; the lack of applied of common sense is how foolishness slips bye and this finds its way increasingly into the legal system (which does partially reflect society) so we have judges and lawyers who go by the letter of the law allowing simplistic hacks that they can see but are unable to act against due to false principals emerging as a result of societal rot.

Re:Scary indeed! (1)

_peter (54875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076120)

Seconded. I could spend more than an hour just on the multi-story spiral slide and in the grotto surrounding it.

Not to mention the stuff they host -- a children's circus, corner shoelace maker/store, papermaking and glassblowing exhibits. And at night, live music, or the outdoor firepits w/ marshmallows provided. One of the upper floors has been converted into condos. I still dream about living on top of that festival.

My only bad experience there was checking out their petting zoo / aquatic exhibit. Some of those animals seemed just this side of mis-treated.

Re:Scary indeed! (1)

Grim Beefer (946632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076224)

The aquarium is actually a separate business that co-occupies the space with the City Museum, as is the thrift store. That's why you have to pay a separate admission price to get into the aquarium, and you actually don't have to pay any admission if you say you're just going to the thrift store...

Re:Scary indeed! (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078046)

City Museum is one of the reasons I'd glad to live in St. Louis. Growing up in the Midwest, visits to "fun" places like New Jersey's Action Park [wikipedia.org] weren't possible. We had to settle for quarry jumping [youtube.com] and lawn darts [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Scary indeed! (4, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076094)

You definitely feel right on the edge of safe. Yet it stands out like no other "museum" I've been to.

Feels right on the edge of being called a "museum" too. Sounds more like an amusement park.

I guess the question is, is it an awesome museum or crappy amusement park?

Re:Scary indeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076106)

...it is quite provocative and truly unique, but contains minimal content and only satiates perhaps an hour of curiosity.

Actually, the museum also maintains a large collection of turn-of-the-century architectural highlights from the city (exterior facade work and sculptures, interior hardware (windows, knobs, etc.)), an extensive (if somewhat haphazard) aquarium and zoo, a glass blowing studio, and more. It is much more than a mere playground, although that part is certainly the obvious focal point of the development process. I have spent hours there on multiple occasions and have not gone wanting for more....

Slashdotted? (2, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075470)

It appears to be slashdotted. Service Unavailable. I guess the web administrator is in the jungle gym...

Re:Slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32075556)

Both links working for me.

LINK: (1)

deathplaybanjo (1735092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075972)

It appears to be slashdotted. Service Unavailable. I guess the web administrator is in the jungle gym...

after a quick googling: http://www.citymuseum.org/3D.html [citymuseum.org] (have fun with quicktime)

Kids? (3, Informative)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075530)

It boasts a five-story jungle gym with two real-life jets kids can climb on, an enclosed Monster Slide that drops riders the length of three staircases, and a rooftop Ferris wheel.

Kids? Every time I've been there there has been a significant percentage of 20-somethings in addition to the little ones.

Re:Kids? (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075572)

They're kids on the inside

Re:Kids? (2, Funny)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075890)

They're kids on the inside

Possibly drunk on the inside, as well. :P

Re:Kids? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077978)

Possibly drunk on the inside, as well. :P

It's in St. Louis, that goes without saying.

Re:Kids? (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077434)

They're kids on the inside

That's not right. I don't mean to preach, but if they're pregnant, they should not be climbing such obstacles.

Re:Kids? (1)

222 (551054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077684)

Kids on the inside, but very, very happy to have that grown up ID when visiting the bar for another round of beers!

This is seriously one of my favorite places ever = )

Re:Kids? (2, Informative)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075638)

Kids? Every time I've been there there has been a significant percentage of 20-somethings in addition to the little ones.

The museum requires [citymuseum.org] that all children are accompanied by an adult, and groups of kids must have adults in at least a 1:6 adult to child ratio. Also, it sounds like it would be fun for adults as well :-D

Re:Kids? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075700)

must have adults in at least a 1:6 adult to child ratio

That sounds like an excellent compromise for allowing the kids to have reasonably safe large dose of fun.

I'll admit having 30 kids from your class running around on a playground with only one teacher supervising is probably getting a little unmanageable. 6:1 is probably a bit cagey though but isn't outrageous.

Re:Kids? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075884)

Probably depends a bit on the 20-somethings that show up without kids to 'play' themselves to provide a bit of on the spot supervision.

Re:Kids? (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075772)

It is. They offer alcohol sales on most all of the floors and they're open quite late. It's a fun night to get drunk and stumble around the caves.

Re:Kids? (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076930)

Also, it sounds like it would be fun for adults as well :-D

Oh it definitely is, the phrase just made it sound like it was exclusively for kids-which it really isn't :)

Re:Kids? (1)

jfoobar (1421233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075878)

Try 30-somethings. I was 37 when I went and had quite a lot of fun climbing on stuff. Rebar is a bit tough on the knees though.

AWESOME (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075680)

SOOO tired of "oh noes Little Timmy is gonna bump his knee on that, need more padding!" parents.

Quit taking the fun out of being a kid. Having fun as a kid is inherently a little risky. All these nuts trying to apply "five 9's" to public safety on playgrounds need to go live in a bubble somewhere and stay out of everyone else's lives.

The day they try to take trees out of the park because a kid may climb them and fall and get hurt, I'm gonna flip out.

Re:AWESOME (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075768)

I couldn't agree more. I would have loved this as a kid. Hell it would probably be fun now. I don't see why people get so worried, it's probably a lot safer than playing most sports, or other types of play that kids typically engage in: dodge ball, riding bikes, rollerblading, skateboarding, ice skating, base ball, etc etc.

Re:AWESOME (2, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076324)

> The day they try to take trees out of the park because a kid may climb them and fall and get hurt, I'm gonna flip out.

Have you noticed that playground equipment is virtually nowhere to be found anymore?

Re:AWESOME (1)

thepike (1781582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076558)

Around me, there's still a lot of playground equipment, but not the fun stuff I played on when I was a kid. We used to have these awesome giant wooden play castle things with ropes to climb and bridges and monkey bars and all that. They've all been replaced with the colorful plastic/metal things that aren't nearly as fun and don't allow the same kind of adventure or number of ways to play. Also gone: merry-go-rounds, see-saws, cargo nets etc and anything more than about 10 feet tall. And all the woodchips have been replaced by an unidentified foam-rubber sort of material covering the ground. It's terrible.

Sure, some of my friends broke their arms falling off the monkey bars, and I lost a tooth once (luckily one of my last baby teeth) but we loved them. People should let their kids go outside and get dirty/get hurt. It'll make them healthier and happier in the long run.

But instead one person sued and won a ridiculous sum of money, then other followed suit and now it's not worth the insurance premiums to let kids have a little fun.

Re:AWESOME (3, Interesting)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076764)

Marry-go-rounds were awesome. I remember this one thing that was a pole that was about 20 feet tall and it had a metal ring about 6' in diameter at the top. Attached to the ring were lengths of chain with a tire at the end. The whole thing would spin. You would get 3 kids on 3 of the tires and them spin it as fast as you could. Then the person doing the spinning would get on the tire, and the inertia from the 3 other people would send you FLYING. My brother ALMOST got flung off of it into a nearby trampoline.

We also used to have large swings where the top bar would be ~25-30 feet off the ground so you could swing really high. Now you are lucky to find a swing that is taller than 12'.

Re:AWESOME (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077292)

I almost forgot about barf buckets! [swingset.com] The one that was near my house was had a solid frame so it was a little more comfortable, but would collect puke!

Re:AWESOME (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077616)

Also gone: merry-go-rounds, see-saws, cargo nets etc and anything more than about 10 feet tall. And all the woodchips have been replaced by an unidentified foam-rubber sort of material covering the ground. It's terrible.

In Andrew Brown Park, in Coppell, TX there is "Kid Kountry" which is wooden equipment with woodchips on the ground. A great playground, with a tire suspended from a chain, climbing nets, etc.

But even that doesn't have a merry-go-round. Coincidentally, my wife commented on their absence from all the playgrounds we've seen, a few days ago. When did they disappear?

Re:AWESOME (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077932)

I can't remember where I read it -- some website about freedom for children to play etc -- but pretty much every playground in the UK has that rubber stuff installed after one child died in the 1980s. It's really expensive, and the author had estimated that it hadn't saved any lives, but if the money had been spent elsewhere (road safety, police, various options) it would have been a lot more useful.

There's still a decent amount of playground equipment around here, and it seems the same as when I was a child, but that was only the 1990s anyway.

Sometimes people go a bit too far though... [youtube.com]

Re:AWESOME (5, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076896)

I remember people falling out of jungle gyms and breaking their arms as a kid. It's not great, but it happens. There was a woman at my college who fell backwards walking around the campus, hit her head just wrong on the cement, and died. I broken an arm riding a bike, and nearly shattered my hip rollerblading. My sister broke a finger running through the house. A friend destroyed most of the cartilidge in his back playing football. By comparison, hopping a fence, sticking your fingers into a giant rotating drum, and having them severed is just dumb.

Really, the question isn't "are there injuries?" Put a drinking fountain in a park, and given enough time and people someone is going to trip and break their teeth on it. The question is "how frequently are the injuries?" Are the injuries more frequent than other activities in life? They've had 3.5 million in attendance since 2005, and 24 known incidents that spawned a lawsuit. That's 150k people through for every known injury. Or, looked at another way, assuming each trip is 8 hours long, that's 1 injury for every 50,000 days of living. That's 1 lawsuit-worthy injury per 136 years of life.

I'd want to investigate this park specifically to see what steps they are and aren't taking to keep the play areas safe. But the numbers above just don't look bad to me.

Re:AWESOME (1)

nameer (706715) | more than 4 years ago | (#32079432)

You can compare it to say, childbirth in the US, which has a Maternal Death rate of 11 per 100,000 births. It's a safe museum.

Re:AWESOME (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077810)

I work in a museum of sorts, with most of it being outside. Lots of school groups visit, and I'm always disappointed when I see a group of children wearing mini high-visibility jackets. I'm even more disappointed when I see some wearing helmets for walking round (essentially) a park.

Re:AWESOME (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078532)

I see some wearing helmets for walking round

You're talking normal kids, not "specials" ? that's just crazy

I say "don't childproof the world, worldproof the child", but that's not the point I was trying to deliver...

To: the guy who only spent an hour in the museum. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32075702)

I've been there twice each time for 3-4 hours. I recommended it to some friends. They spent 45 minutes. The reason why. Because they are boring. They did absolutely no exploring. So didn't even find over half of the place. You have to EXPLORE. You want to know what they do at barbecues and parties. Sit and played x-box with a blank look on their face and grunted occasionally when they noticed you were talking to them. This is in no way aimed at the guy who said he was only there for an hour. Actually wait. Yes it is.

Two dozen out of how many? (4, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075734)

Two dozen injuries out of 3.5 million people since 2005. That means over 99.999% are fine. I'll take those odds. Besides I've been there, nothings wrong, isn't anymore dangerous than any children's playground.

Re:Two dozen out of how many? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075872)

Two dozen lawsuits is not the same as two dozen injuries. If you figure 99% of injuries aren't going to be severe enough to warrant a lawsuit and some x% of people are going to respect what the museum is doing and not file a lawsuit even when they could the numbers don't look as good. Not that I disagree with you, need to stop taking the fun out of childhood, else we'll have a whole generation who never really grow up into proper adults.

Re:Two dozen out of how many? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076044)

else we'll have a whole generation who never really grow up into proper adults

Too late.

Re:Two dozen out of how many? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076734)

...else we'll have a whole generation who never really grow up into proper adults.

That's already happened. Thanks helicopter parents! [psychologytoday.com]

Re:Two dozen out of how many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076592)

Eh, these has been a lot more injuries then that. Most people just don't report them. I jacked my back up zooming down a tunnel slide there. It took me about a year before it was totally right again. The slide is a dark tunnel that literally goes into a 90-degree turn. You go zooming down and then ram straight into a wall. I think they have since taken that one out!

The place is pretty awesome, though. And I agree if you took the danger out.. it wouldn't be nearly as fun. I hope it stays as it is.

Re:Two dozen out of how many? (2, Insightful)

tniermann (1394985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077370)

I've been there numerous times with my kids. It seems safer than most places because it appears much more dangerous than it actuality and the kid's natural fear instinct works just fine. It is a much better than the inverse of actually dangerous but appearing safe (driving in the car to get there)

This is how it really should be (5, Insightful)

cwills (200262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075744)

More power to the Museum and it's director.

I just wish that the US population would get over the general reaction to anything is to sue someone.

If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid. Q - "Q Who" Star Trek the Next Generation

One of my favorite quotes.

Re:This is how it really should be (3, Insightful)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076306)

If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed.

I would, but according to this [nationmaster.com] that might not be a good idea since 300 people strangle themselves in bed every year in the US.

Re:This is how it really should be (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076466)

As a Slashdotter this might not be an obvious though, but have you considered them having been in bed with someone else? ^^

Re:This is how it really should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076314)

I just wish that the US population would get over the general reaction to anything is to sue someone.

and you have to remember, the judges are the ones that let the lawsuits happen in the first place. Try these in Europe, and most would never make it into the system. The judge would tell you to pay better attention and stop wasting his/her time.

Re:This is how it really should be (1)

bartwol (117819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078262)

the judges are the ones that let the lawsuits happen in the first place. Try these in Europe, and most would never make it into the system

I would hope that the reason for that being the case in Europe, as in the U.S., is not that judges decided what lawsuits should be allowed, but that laws delineate the terms under which judges allow lawsuits. Citing judges for being responsible for lawsuits is like citing referees for responsible for people playing sports.

Re:This is how it really should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32077360)

This is the type of conservatism that I can really get behind. Giving the parents and patrons the ability to decide and be responsible...

Very Unique Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32075794)

This is one of my favorite destinations in St. Louis. I have been in San Francisco for 10 years and traveled extensively, and it stands out as amazingly unique. A night of hanging out the the museum and drinking a nice Schafly's beer is pretty great even for this Dad with 2 little girls.

The City Museum... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32075826)

is awesome. If you think you can climb or crawl to a spot, you probably can.

My mother, age 71, manages to get around just fine with my nieces and nephews. It may take her a little longer to follow the kids, but she always has her eye on them. The place is so big, I doubt I'd let less than a ten year old run around by himself.

Playgrounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32075906)

You obviously haven't been to a child's play ground in awhile. I remember when they were filled with sheet metal equipment you could burn yourself on in the summer sun and the ground was covered with sharp-as-razors gravel. Typical kid's park now has wussy plastic equipment with shredded tires on the ground. Bah!

The City Museum is awesome. I can't wait to take my nephew. I'll probably have more fun than he will!

Re:Playgrounds (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076000)

The playground merry-go-rounds are all gone. No longer can you sit on the edge as your sadistic friend spins it around faster and faster, trapped unless you dare to take a leap unto the asphalt or gravel.

And no longer can you spin it around round faster and faster as your masochistic friends all sit, trapped and unable to flee unless they take a daring leap unto the asphalt or gravel.

Merry go rounds -- bringing sadists and masochists together for generations.

Re:Playgrounds (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076232)

I used to love those "vomit machines".

Curse those Darwin Award candidates for taking them away!

Re:Playgrounds (1)

allawalla (1030240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076490)

We still have one in my little town outside of Austin, TX! - Not sure if my son is willing to get on it again though.

Re:Playgrounds (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076776)

They are still around, I've seen them on plenty of playgrounds in Oregon. I use them to demonstrate the principle of conservation of angular momentum, by organizing groups of kids to lean as far out as they can while I push as fast as I can to get it going, then see how it speeds up as everybody moves to the center, and slows back down again when everybody moves back to the outside. It's not just fun, it's Physics! (And yes, I was fully aware that some of the really young children (e.g. 4 year old) participating in this experiment might have gotten hurt. But I didn't care.)

Re:Playgrounds (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076380)

Gravel? When I was in elementary school the entire playground was covered in asphalt. Flying off the merry go round meant losing a good chunk of your skin as you slid across it, and yet we still all hung on to the very edge for dear life.

Those metal slides were also far superior to the plastic ones with the steel rivets that they have now. The slides today are basically static electricity collecting devices with the occasional steel discharge point to make sure kids get plenty of static shocks on the way down.

Re:Playgrounds (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076832)

When I was in school (in Alaska), the entire playground was covered in snow! Parkas and 3 foot deep snow make for great Rugby games! After school, we used to climb trees and jump off into snow. This became a problem once as a broken branch hidden under the snow penetrated my boot when I landed, but fortunately didn't do much damage to me.

Re:Playgrounds (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077152)

The only advantage of plastic slides is during the winter. Plastic slides + snow = basically a frictionless surface. Metal seems to provide a higher degree of friction in cold weather, though that could just be my impression.

Obviously, some physics thesis is waiting to be written on this.

Re:Playgrounds (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076546)

Typical kid's park now has wussy plastic equipment with shredded tires on the ground. Bah!

Actually, I'm all for the shredded tires. The more padded the ground, the more risks you can take on the playground and still be able to come back to play the next day!

I mean, jumping off a swingset at it's very highest point is great fun, unless you break your ankle the very first time you do it. When I was a kid you had all the equipment but it was usually on sand. I was very glad it was sand and not asphalt when I would try to go down the slide standing up and invariably slip near the end!

It's the same reason today that I'm glad the floor of the rock gym is padded, and when I'm climbing real cliffs I use a rope (or a crash pad when bouldering)

It's cus climbing around -- and maybe getting scraped up in the process -- is fun. Road rash or broken limbs are not fun. :P

Re:Playgrounds (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32079006)

But they are evidence that fun has occurred.

Danger (5, Insightful)

TheTick21 (143167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075946)

I have spent way too much time in this wonderland and I must say that with proper adult supervision the danger is minimal compared to the kinds of stuff we did as kids. We used to leave in the morning and come back when the streetlights came on, build treehouses with exposed nails and rotting wood, jump down from said treehouses with nothing but a pile of leaves to catch us.

This place has its share of dangers, but wow. Worth it and then some. If ever there was a place that took all my favorite childhood memories and tried to stuff them into one building it would be this one.

"We have a huge liability policy." (2, Interesting)

ryrw (810868) | more than 4 years ago | (#32075956)

I met Bob Cassily a few years in St. Louis (where I've lived for 5 years) and I asked him how they deal with lawsuits. He answered: "We have a huge liability policy." Having been there at least half a dozen times, I have to agree that it can be dangerous—if you're stupid. Yes, you can climb over the railing and onto the airplane wing where you might fall 5 stories onto the parking lot. But if you're dumb enough to climb over the railing, then maybe you're doing us all a favor by removing your genes from society. If you've ever seen this place in real life, you'll have to agree that it's just so incredible that it should be kept just as it is. It is absolutely astonishing!

Re:"We have a huge liability policy." (0, Troll)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077820)

So how about the woman in the article who slid down the slide too fast, and broke bones after crashing into a wall across from the slide? What did she do wrong? Dip herself in lubricant before sliding?

Re:"We have a huge liability policy." (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32079874)

So how about the woman in the article who slid down the slide too fast, and broke bones after crashing into a wall across from the slide? What did she do wrong?

When I was a kid, we used to stick out our feet and use our sneakers to slow down on a slide. That's also how you could stop half-way and have your friends pile into you trying to dislodge you. Was this slide that the woman was on six or seven feet wide so that she couldn't do the same thing to slow down?

Just use common sense (5, Interesting)

Grim Beefer (946632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076002)

I've been to the City Museum several times, and I must say there is really no other place like it on earth. If anyone finds the museum lacking in content, I'd have to say that you're missing the point. The CM is all about interaction; you're not meant to just see everything in the plain sense, you're meant to climb, explore, and seek out the little hidden places tucked away all over the place. Almost everything about the place is entirely free-form, and that's part of the thrill. If you find that the place only satisfies curiosity for about an hour, well then I bet you're probably a pretty boring person that's way too grown up for their own good.

Meanwhile, it's so refreshing to see a place disregard all of the idiot tags we're so used to seeing everyday. Given that 99.999% of the population doesn't need to be told not to do stupid things, it's really that tiny fraction of people that makes everything always suck. The ones that make you wonder who the fuck would be stupid enough to eat the silicate pellet packs you find in new shoes, but also have the ability to read. The only place remotely similar to the CM where I live is so padded, safe, and banal by comparison. Yes, there is the risk of getting hurt in the CM, but the same thing is often true of places kids play. Even a simple jungle gym can result in a broken bone (as it did with me in the 3rd grade), but the point is to not generate boring people by sacrificing a fun life for complete and utter safety. Learning how to deal with potentially dangerous environments, yet still enjoy yourself, should be a crucial part of any kids upbringing. You have to use common sense to NOT INTENTIONALLY PUT YOUR FINGERS OR BODY IN A GIGANTIC MOVING METAL DEVICE. You shouldn't need a sign explaining why this is a bad idea. Nowhere in the CM will you find spots where good old fashioned common sense will keep you from getting hurt, and at the very least are no more risky that other theme parks/playgrounds.

Re:Just use common sense (1)

BenGL (810895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077870)

You have to use common sense to NOT INTENTIONALLY PUT YOUR FINGERS OR BODY IN A GIGANTIC MOVING METAL DEVICE.

Funny personal story about this: a few years ago, I decided to test the safety features of an automatic sliding door by sticking my fingers where I shouldn't have. Luckily I did not lose any finger, but I got some ugly scars to tell the tale.

I clearly remember my reasoning: it seemed dangerous, but it was in a public place. So of course, there was a safety interlock or something, because of our litigation-happy society. I just couldn't see it. As it turned out, there wasn't any. Ouch.

I didn't sue, though...

I submit this as anecdotal evidence that the current trend towards idiot-proofing can KILL common sense.

One of the best places anywhere... (3, Interesting)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076018)

I'm the parent of 3 youngsters, and we go there all the time. Without a doubt it is one of the most engaging and fun places to take a kid in St. Louis. My kids play to exhaustion every time they go. As a matter of fact, so do I. We always comment (or hear people around us commenting) on how amazing it is that, considering the risk, they have the sort of place where nothing is off limits, and if you can get to it, you can go and climb on it and play on it. Is there danger? Yes, but you can drown in a bucket of water if you try hard enough, and the fun more than outweighs any problems.

I'm just amazed by how little the WSJ article actually said about the place, seeing as how they only mentioned 1/10 of the things you can do there. And they were incorrect about the big slide. It's actually about 9 stories tall, going from the 10th floor to the 1st. Bah, the state of journalism.

Anyway, cool place. Visit if you can.

Re:One of the best places anywhere... (1)

FutureDomain (1073116) | more than 4 years ago | (#32079310)

And they were incorrect about the big slide. It's actually about 9 stories tall, going from the 10th floor to the 1st.

They were probably thinking of the "big" slide in the main entrance, the 9 story slide is buried deep in the caves where stuffy journalists aren't likely to go.

This place is amazing. I went with a bunch of my college student friends and we had a blast. Getting lost in the caves, finding yet another secret passage, and pummeling kids with bouncy balls (and them pummeling us right back) was incredible. The next time I visit St. Louis, I'm going back there.

Best. Museum. Experience. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076040)

I'm 43 and take my nephews there whenever I find myself in St Louis. I think I enjoy it more than they do. Definitely one of the most funky, fun, wondrous and creative spots on this planet. It's like a Disney/Tim Burton/42nd Street mashup really. Just watch your kids like a responsible guardian.

slashdotters from STL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076158)

i got all your usernames, just from this post.

Superb place to visit (with pics) (5, Informative)

PGillingwater (72739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076226)

I want to add myself to the list of fans of this admirable place....

Here's a set of photos of the St. Louis Museum [facebook.com] I took earlier this year.

The experience of climbing the spiral staircase, while listening to live music from the massive pipe organ was almost surreal...

Interesting Dynamics (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076236)

Everything has warning signs, so people are used to assuming things are safe unless posted otherwise. The city museum is slightly different. You have to assume (slightly) dangerous. If your kid can't handle a Steep slide, don't let them on it.

It took me a while to grasp the concept, let go and have fun. I have hit my head, I have almost gotten stuck, but that is why it is a Must See for any guest that visits St. Louis.

+1 for the museum (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076270)

I love the city museum. Shame on anyone who would sue. Take some risk, go have fun and accept what you get when you come out of there: sweat, nicks, bumps and bruises.

If you want a "safe" playground go play at McDonalds.

Re:+1 for the museum (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32079014)

Has anybody every been to a McDonald's playground that didn't have a pervasive odor of urine? Safe from falling and getting hurt, maybe. Safe from infectious diseases, definitely not!

City Museum (1)

XaviorPenguin (789745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076276)

I have been there numerous times to the City Museum. In my opinion, if you don't walk out of there with at least a bruise or two, you didn't play hard enough. There are rules, yes but the rest is common sense. It seems to me that these individuals that had gotten hurt didn't have any to begin with and decided to start suing.

City Museum in St. Louis is a safe place, again, you have to have common sense.

About the Alcohol part...that is only served outside in a little shack of sorts. It isn't served inside at all. Yes the little shack outside connects to the inside but there is a bouncer or two that states that you cannot go beyond a certain point with your drinks. ID's are checked to verify your age.

Museum is open late on Friday and Saturday until 1AM, that is the latest they stay open.

In cooler months, they have a fire pit inside the jungle gym of sorts where people gather to not only get warm but occasionally, roast marshmallows and have smores. The fire was maintained by an adult not of the City Museum, but an adult with common sense.

The City Museum in St. Louis is a great experience time and time again. Every time I go, I always find something new I had not seen before. I enjoy going there and will be returning again toward the end of this month for a birthday party so I cannot wait.

when i was a kid (1)

nj_peeps (1780942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076356)

I seem to remember when I was a kid bumps, scraps, scratches and the like were part o growing up. My parents never sued if I fell out of my neighbors tree, and cut my arm. This just seems to be the continuing trend of "you didn't tell me it could be dangous, then it's your fault, pay me" I saw a while back that a fishing lure manufacture had to put a warning label on the package saying "harmful if swallowed" not because of the sharp hooks (as if sharp hooks aren't enough of a deterrent), but because it contained a small amount of lead. Look at how power tools have changed over the years to make them "safer" yet more difficult to use, all so that then you put your fingers in blade while it's on, the manufacture isn't liable of you being a dumbass.

Re:when i was a kid (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077012)

One of my youngest boys was screwing around on the front end of a cart (the best place to ride) when he got off, took a few steps ahead, then turned around and split his lip on the cart. "That's life" was my perspective. I asked for a gauze pad and some ice. The store staff were helpful. Of course, there was a report to fill out. I assured them we didn't plan to sue (after all, it was our son who was screwing around and hurt himself).

Fast forward a few weeks. We started getting calls from the store's investigative PR and/or legal teams. Each time they called, they offered us a settlement for the harm caused to our son. Time and again we explained how it happened, but they kept making offers. Only after about six weeks did the calls finally stop. I was just shocked at how quickly they wanted to throw money at us, just because of fear over lawsuits.

Re:when i was a kid (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078566)

Your verbal assurance at the store wasn't enough to give them proof you'd never sue, and as long as there was a chance you'd sue, there was a chance it would cost them a cartload more than the sum they were offering you.

I'm actually somewhat puzzled that they didn't have you sign a hold-harmless agreement after one of those phone calls. Though I'm also heartened that they didn't lead with a demand that you sign a hold-harmless before making the offers.

Have you met Bob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076468)

I have. I have even spent time with him talking about the museum, and what drives him.

Without a doubt, Bob is either bat $#!t crazy, or the greatest genius I have ever met. Depending on the day, different amounts of each.

City Museum is the only entity in St Louis to have made the transition from a non-profit, to a for-profit.

Its the only museum I have ever seen where they hand out flashlights and then turn out the lights at 10pm.

Its the only museum I have ever seen where they have books set out next to comfy places to sit and read.

This is the only museum I have ever seen where they hide works, and only those that climb to the right places are rewarded with a glimpse.

This is the only museum I have ever seen where all of the exhibitors are truly passionate about what they show, and what they teach.

This is the only museum I have ever seen where they have programs for at-risk kids run right in the building (everydaycircus.net)

And this is the only museum I have ever seen where they have to herd teenagers out by the hundreds at closing just about every night.

  So the place is only about half as dangerous as a school playground. so what? Any way you look at it, bob is doing something right in that place. Some how he has built a place people love to go - and love to learn. Perhaps our public schools could learn a thing or two from him.

Re:Have you met Bob? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078600)

This is the only museum I have ever seen where they hide works, and only those that climb to the right places are rewarded with a glimpse.

Ever been geocaching? [geocaching.com]

One of the MUST SEE places in STL (2, Informative)

jdharm (1667825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076590)

I lived in STL for 5 great years and took many, many visitors there. Every one of them was taken aback by the price of admission when they got there and every one was exhausted and saying it was totally worth every penny when they left.

Not only is the place a great playground for kids and adults alike, but some of the examples of architecture and industry that is displayed and incorporated into the Museum is beautiful and amazing to anyone who is into that kind of thing. The terracotta architectural pieces are totally rad.

One of the coolest 'exhibits' in the CM is "Caves". Nine stories of concrete and steel, molded into caves to explore. Walk along and see a hole in the wall...crawl in and see where it goes. Some spaces were tight enough to scare me, some passages went down and I found myself crawling through a rebar tunnel on a ceiling 20ft above people on the floor. There's a couple spiral slides that drop down through 4 or 5 stories. And the last time I went there was an automatic pipe organ that seemed to fill every spare inch of space in the building pumping out circus music, along with a bank of robotic percussion instruments behind some steel grate.

If you go to STL for any reason and you are between the ages of 1 and 101, you have to go. You won't be disappointed.

110 Percent Awesome (2, Insightful)

gcanyon (458998) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076688)

I've been to the City Museum several times, and it is an incredible place. They have an aquarium, a pipe organ, caves, a circus school, a ten-story slide, a bank vault door, and a hall of insects, and that's just scratching the surface. Here is a collection of pictures I took: http://gcanyon.posterous.com/st-louis-is-amazing [posterous.com] and a few more: http://gcanyon.posterous.com/more-pictures-from-the-city-museum-in-st-loui [posterous.com]

It's definitely true that this place leans more towards fun than safe: if you don't have bruises, you haven't seen the museum. But common sense will keep you from most harm, a

He's not done yet. (3, Informative)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076714)

There's an old industrial site north of downtown that Casilly wants to turn into a water park with the same ethos. It's stuck in permit hell, but I'll continue to hold out hope.

Not for the timid (2, Informative)

codepigeon (1202896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076952)

I have been to the CM a couple times. It is definately a lot of fun. One word of caution though, there are some places there (that i found while trying to keep up with my son) that can trigger claustrophobia.
I have to agree with others that it is a must see.

Re:Not for the timid (2, Funny)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078822)

One word of caution though, there are some places there (that i found while trying to keep up with my son) that can trigger claustrophobia.

That is a good educational experience right there. Most people don't normally get to see what claustrophobia is like until they go crawling around in caves.

Kill the Lawyers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32077108)

They [lawyers] are taking the fun out of life,' says Cassilly

Wasn't lawyer-sacrificing the comment -of-the-day yesterday, as well?

Must go to the City Museum! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32077122)

If you are ever in St. Louis, the City Museum is a must see. For anyone thinking about going, I think it is $10-15 for a day pass and you can come and go as you please. We used to go to the museum around 6, go to one of the 50 bars within a couple blocks and then come back hammered.

Fair warning - most of the safety equipment is made for little kids, not drunk adults. I wound up inside of a fish tank last time we went....

Also Hosts Good Shows (1)

Jhyrryl (208418) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077516)

I went there to see Fishbone [wikipedia.org] . Combining a show with playing in the exhibits and having a few drinks makes for a really good time.

Oh man (1)

galadriel (42210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078652)

I have got to get to this place.

I've been to St. Louis. Why didn't anyone ever TELL me??

Love the City Museum (1)

neonleonb (723406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32078870)

Yeah, it was great, but I always wondered how they avoided lawsuits. I hope the law doesn't get it shut down--it's just wonderful!

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