Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Grant's Farm

Last summer, while Ben and Emily were in Hawaii, Kerry and I took Katie to Grant's Farm in St Louis.  I got sidetracked with information overload and never finished this post.  Fortunately, I had uploaded all the photos and written headers for them with the basic details of the day.  It was when I was trying to pad it with additional details scrounged from the internet that I frizzled myself wondering how much to include in a blog post.  Just recently, I was looking back through blog posts and found six or seven that I started but never finished.  This is one of those:

Something you just don't expect to find in the middle of a city as big as St Louis is a 281-acre farm with a wildlife preserve, an acrobatic elephant, Clydesdales, a llama (which can end up figuring prominently in your visit), a mini-zoo,  and some of the best bratwursts to ever meet a pretzel bun.

But that's what you'll find at Grant's Farm - named for Ulysses S Grant who at one time owned and farmed a portion of the land.  It originally belonged to the family of his wife, Julia Dent Grant, and her father gave them 80-acres of it as a wedding gift.  It was later owned by the Busch family (of Budweiser fame, not of presidential fame - different spelling you know) and their 6,300 square-foot mansion is still on the property.  You can get a glimpse of it through the trees if you ride the tram.  My understanding is that Grant's Farm is now owned by InBev who conducted a hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch in 2008.

(Okay, I'll confess, this is the point where I got hung up and never got this post up.  I was looking around on the internet trying to find out the history of the mansion and came upon a tale of murder, mystery and mayhem which took up so much time and twirled my brain around until I just never made it back to finish writing this until now.  And I'm not going to tell you either, go look it up.  It should be a novel, or a made-for-tv movie.)

It's really quite pretty and peaceful.  You'll see some great views while riding the tram.


Hardscrabble - the farm the Grants built and lived in briefly.

The fence is actually made of bayonets from old rifles.  Some of them still have the sights on the end.

You can pay to get a baby bottle to feed the goats.


The goats are like little contortionists when it comes to getting to that bottle!

The goats will also screech like they're being murdered if you try to take the bottle away to share it with a different goat.  Just trust me on this one - pick one goat and stick with it until the bottle is empty.


There's a carousel, which we didn't try because our kids are not little enough to think it's cool.


Wallabies



Tortoises.  Tortai?

Little German village where we got the best bratwurst I've ever had in my life.

Of course, we had the *ahem* diet plate of bratwurst on pretzel buns with fries and German potato salad.  I'd skip the potato salad next time.  It was good, but this was way too much food.  But don't miss out on those brats.  I'm not kidding.

This particular llama sneezed (not spit - sneezed right in Kerry's face).  Kerry was not pleased, but Katie and I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Kerry had to run immediately to a bathroom to wash his face. He still said he smelled like llama butt all day.

There is also a building where you can see all the old Budweiser wagons.


And awards that the Clydesdales have won.

There is an elephant show - my favorite.  I don't know when I started to love elephants so much (real ones, I don't want to start collecting elephant figurines) but I do.  They fascinate me.  This one could balance a treat on his trunk before eating it!


And he walked on a balance beam!


We went to an exotic animal show.  This pig rolled out a red carpet.

A roller skating parrot.


Owl.

A rat on the head of an audience member who did not know he was volunteering for this!


The best part was that the smell of horses in a stable completely overshadowed the smell of llama butt!




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