St. Louis Aquarium and St. Louis Wheel Re-Opening Today!!!

If you haven’t seen the news then here’s to some good news! The aquarium and the wheel down in Union Station is re-opening today!!!

Of course there are a few guidelines to be aware of when arriving. Check out the press release below!

The Aquarium reopens at 9 a.m. and the St. Louis Wheel reopens at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 8.

CHANGES: Guests will notice a variety of new animals and activities at the reopened St. Louis Aquarium, including “Annie,” a four-year-old Tamandua, or Lesser Anteater. Other new animals include Zebra Sharks and Bonnethead Sharks, one of the smaller Hammerheads.

A new Dive Show will take place three times a day — at 11 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. — in the Shark Canyon exhibit. Guests will be able to ask questions of the Aquarium’s divers who will be wearing special communications masks during the 20-minute shows.

Colorful murals also have been added to wall spaces throughout the Aquarium.

DETAILS: The indoor and outdoor attractions at St. Louis Union Station will reopen on June 8, 2020 after receiving clearance from the City of St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS AQUARIUM: The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will resume regular hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

New physical distancing protocols will be in place along with enhanced sanitation measures and extensive team member training to ensure the health and safety of guests and workers.
 
The St. Louis Aquarium and other St. Louis Union Station attractions have been closed in accordance with Missouri and St. Louis City COVID-19 regulations. 

Aquarium Ticketing Changes: All guests, including annual pass holders, will be required to reserve timed tickets in advance to keep within City of St. Louis regulations for significantly reduced capacity in the Aquarium.
 
Advance reservations will guarantee guests’ admission on the day of their visit. No tickets will be available for same day visits at the ticket counter and no guests will be admitted to the Aquarium prior to their reservation time. 

Guests who are feeling unwell on the day of their visit can contact the Aquarium and have their tickets exchanged for another date.
 
Aquarium Safety Protocols Added: The health and safety of guests and team members is the highest priority of the St. Louis Aquarium and St. Louis Union Station. Enhanced safety and sanitizing procedures have been enacted for the Aquarium reopening, including:

— All team members will wear masks and guests over the age of 9 are required to wear masks at the direction of the St. Louis City Department of Health. Guests with pre-existing health conditions unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are exempt. Guests may remove or lower their masks when they are able to stay six feet or more away from others or when eating or drinking.

— A one-way flow has been established through the Aquarium to help with social distancing. 

— The Aquarium is maintaining its existing high standards of cleanliness and all high-touch surfaces such as windows, doors, railings, restrooms, and elevators will be cleaned continuously by the Aquarium’s Clean Team. Hard surfaces will be sanitized throughout the attraction, lobby and restrooms continuously. 

— Additional hand sanitizer stations will be found throughout the Aquarium including at the entry, exit and in the restrooms.

–Employees will be screened daily to verify that they do not have fevers or other COVID-19 symptoms. Guests will walk through an infrared scanner at the entrance to verify their temperatures and will take a survey to confirm their health. Those with temperatures of more than 100 degrees will be asked to return on another day.

— Guest services associates will refer guests to signs listing COVID-19 symptoms to verify that everyone in their party is symptom free.

–Floor decals have been added throughout the queue lines and inside the aquarium to help guests maintain six feet of separation from others. At touch pools and interactive areas, guests can step up and enjoy the experience when floor decal spaces are open.

— The Aquarium’s touch pools, Otter Chat and animal presentations will continue to be available along with a new dive show at Shark Canyon. 

— For now, the Fish ID touchscreens, Scavenger Hunt touchscreens, the Train Experience and the Virtual Reality Sandbox are not available due to their high touch nature and the difficulty in maintaining adequate social distancing during their use. 

— No cash payments will be accepted at attractions and restaurants throughout St. Louis Union Station; all major credit cards will be accepted.
 
St. Louis Ropes Course and Mirror Maze: The indoor attractions at Union Station also will reopen on June 8. Queue markers will help guests at the St. Louis Ropes Course and the Mirror Maze maintain their distance from each other to at least six feet. Gloves will be offered to guests and the areas will be continuously sanitized throughout the day.

More Information: Guests will finds an FAQ at www.stlouisaquarium.com and can ask questions by emailing info@stlouisaquarium.com

Follow the St. Louis Aquarium on social media @aquariumstl.

UNION STATION RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL: The Aquarium gift shop and Wheel retail kiosk will be open but will limit the number of guests allowed inside at any time. Guests will be asked to touch only what they intend to purchase. 

No cash payments will be accepted at this time. Plexiglass barriers have been erected to separate guests and team members at Aquarium gift shop checkout counters. 

Restaurants Trainshed and 1894 Cafe also will reopen to the public at reduced capacity and with enhanced sanitizing and health checks for regular hours on June 8. 

Soda Fountain reopened at reduced capacity and with added sanitizing, health checks and social distancing on May 18, 2020. 

THE ST. LOUIS WHEEL: The St. Louis Wheel at Union Station also reopens to the public on Monday, June 8, 2020.

With physical distancing protocols, enhanced sanitizing and extensive team member training in place, the St. Louis Wheel will welcome riders with a resumption of regular hours, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. 

The Wheel has been closed in accordance with Missouri and St. Louis City COVID-19 regulations. 

Wheel Safety Protocols Added: The health and safety of guests and team members is the highest priority of the St. Louis Wheel and St. Louis Union Station. Enhanced safety and sanitizing procedures have been enacted for the Wheel Park reopening, including:

— Team members will wear masks and guests are encouraged to do the same. 

— Employees will be screened daily to verify that they do not have fevers or other COVID-19 symptoms. 

— Guests will take a survey to confirm their health.

— Signs in the Wheel Park will list COVID-19 symptoms and guests also will be asked to confirm their health statuses in person. 

— Pavement markers will placed to guide guests to stay at least six feet apart to maintain social distancing. 

— Gondola loading and unloading cycles will be spaced to allow physical distancing between guests and between cleaning cycles. 

— The Wheel’s gondolas will be sanitized between groups. Clean Team members will continuously sanitize surfaces on and around the Wheel, in the Wheel Park and at the other attractions. 

— All team members will be required to wash and sanitize their hands frequently. Hand sanitizing stations will be in place throughout the Wheel Park.

UNION STATION’S OUTDOOR ATTRACTIONS: The Mini-Golf course and St. Louis Carousel in the Wheel Park at Union Station also will open for guests on June 8, 2020. 

Golf equipment will be cleaned between guest uses. Signs will be placed to remind guests to continue social distancing. Entry to the golf course will be regulated to keep the appropriate number of players on the course. Golf pencils and scoring pads will be disposable. 

At the Carousel, queue lines are marked to allow for social distancing. Attendants will use visual checks from a distance to ensure safety compliance and verbal instructions will be given from a distance to explain how to properly fasten the seat belt. Chaperones will be required to fasten the lap belts of younger guests and assist them off and on to the carousel animals. Each animal will be thoroughly disinfected after each use and the amount of riders will be limited to allow for proper social distancing and spacing.

The Wheel Park playground will not be open at this time.

Tables in the Wheel Park and chairs surrounding the Union Station Lake will be spaced to allow for proper social distancing. The Lake Fire and Light Show will resume on June 8.

More information is available at www.thestlouiswheel.com.

Mad Science Virtual STL Summer Camps!!!

It’s that time of year again, when schools are out and summer starts peeking it’s head out from behind the Arch. With school ending this year in a dramatic fashion all across the region, I have started to see exciting new opportunities pop up for kids to still have fun and participate in fun and engaging programs from the safety of their living rooms.

This summer your children can participate in some very exciting virtual summer camps provided by Mad Science STL!

During the month of June Mad Science STL is offering 4 different virtual summer camps. The camps run 3 hours each day for 5 days. A total of 1-1.5 hours is spent on an active Zoom call, but that time is not consecutive.

The time on zoom call will be spent watching experiments, learning about different science concepts, listening to instructions, and discussing what your children think and what they’ve learned.

The time off the zoom call is spent doing the activities and experiments. The majority of materials are provided by Mad Science, parents can choose to either pick up materials from our office or have them delivered/mailed for $7.50! A bargain if you ask me!!!

Other materials parents will need to provide are fairly commonplace materials such as a cup, a book, or a piece of paper. While campers are working on their activities, the Mad Scientist will be available to chat and provide clarification as needed.

Mad Science STL is offering 4 different Virtual Camps for the Month of June. Space Alien Traveler, Rocketry, and Secret Agent Lab are open to rising K-5th graders. Our 4th camp is Mad Inventors and is open to rising 2nd-5th grades.

For most campers, they should be able to participate independently, but for Rocketry, Kindergarteners and 1st graders will need help from a parent or older sibling. 

A little more about the different camps…

Space Alien Travelers June 1st-5th: Take on the role of a space alien visiting earth for the first time. Find out about how earth’s sports work. Explore the animals and nature on earth. Learn how humans communicate with secret messages. Discover how earthlings can protect their planet. Finally, it’s time to take off into space to return home as we explore space!

In this camp, campers will explore nature, physics, space, and secret messages. All of the experiments and activities will relate back to the campers being Aliens, exploring the mysteries of Earth.

A young mad scientist waiting to see what happens!

Rocketry Camp: June 8th-12th Your child’s in for an action-packed week focused entirely on rockets and the physics of rocket flight! After learning the model rocket safety code, campers will build different types of rockets and watch exciting rocket launches. We recommend this camp for children entering 2nd – 5th grade; however, children entering kindergarten and 1st grade will enjoy it as well with a little more help from a grownup at home. Note: If you wish to for your child to launch their own rockets (with adult supervision), you will need to purchase a launch kit from an online source or hobby shop. All fueled launches during camp will be virtual.

Campers will learn about different parts of rockets. They’ll also learn about NASA and how launched rockets are recovered. (K-1 campers will need help from a parent or older sibling)

Secret Agent Lab June 15th-19th: Ever dream of becoming a secret agent? We’ll start with the basics: Campers will get their very own spy glasses! Step into the shoes of a detective as you uncover the science involved in evidence gathering and analysis! Figure out the science of forensics in a hands-on look at crime scenes! Become a super spy and learn clever ways of performing tasks as we take a hands-on investigation of the science that spies use!

Campers will create secret message, find clues, gather evidence, and learn all about spy technology.

Mad Inventors June 22nd-26th: Creative Contraption Warning! This is a camp designed by you–the Inventor! Each day you’ll be given a series of challenges which must be overcome using basic materials, simple machines, tips from the world of famous inventors, and the most important thing of all–your mind. With a little bit of ingenuity, you’ll construct catapults and forts and then lay siege, fabricate a winning design and assemble a working light saber. While Thomas Edison said invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, this camp is 100% fun!

Campers will create duct tape castles to defend, explore hovercrafts, and learn about all different types of flight. This camp is full of creativity!

Be sure to sign up today with Mad Science STL as spaces are filling up quickly! Check out their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere for more info and to see some amazing photos, projects, and interviews!

DIY Decorations For Your Teenager’s Bedroom

Are your teenage kids getting restless at home? Are you struggling to find activities that can keep them engaged? How about helping them to decorate their bedroom?  They are probably tired of staring at drab bedroom walls.

There are many DIY projects that you can involve your teenage kids in, but none will grab their interest and keep them involved like a project that will make their bedroom look super awesome. With the ideas below, you can quickly transform your teen’s bedroom from a boring room to a fabulous retreat.

Decorative Door Patterns

Your teen’s door doesn’t have to look as dull as the rest of the doors in your home. Make their door standout using washi tape. There are dozens of patterns you can create using washi tape. You can try to mimic another pattern inside the bedroom, or go for something unique. With a little creativity, you can both create something colorful or vintage depending on your kid’s taste.

Get Creative With String Lights

String lights are not just for Christmastime. There are a lot of things you can do with them. Create several sagging horizontal lines on the wall using string lights, then use cloth pegs to hang pictures on them. You can also use colored cupcake dressers to dress the string lights, then hang the lights around the bedroom.

Colorful String Art

With different colored strings, nails, and wallboard, you can create some stylish string art. First, write or print out the name or shape you want on the board. The name can be of a favorite musician or sports star. Set the nails where the letter markings are and then use the colored thread to form the design.

Geometric Wall Art

To add a creative statement in your room, try doing some artistic work. Take some colorful art papers and cut a large number of stretched triangles. Apply some glue on the back of the triangles, and then stick them on a white paper while trying to make a sun pattern. You can stick the artwork on a wall or on a frame.

Tie-Dyed Pillowcase

Take a white pillowcase and wet it. Fold the case using the accordion style. Take some rubber bands and wrap them around the folded case every few inches. Place the pillowcase on top of a plastic paper to protect the surface, wear gloves, and spray the prepared tie-dye of your favorite color between the rubber bands.

Make sure you leaving some white space between the areas you spray. Wrap in plastic for 8 hours, then cut the rubber bands and unfold. Rinse the excess dye, dry it, and stuff your pillow in the case and now it’s ready to use. Apart from cool beddings, remember your kids need to sleep comfortably. To improve their sleep quality, consider upgrading their mattress.

Stenciled Rug

If the rug looks boring, how about sprucing it up? All you need is a stylish stencil patter. Place your rug on a flat surface, pick one corner of the rug, and line your stencil on it. Mix fabric medium with paint and apply it on the stencil carefully using a paint roller or stencil brush.

If your rug is dark, use a bright-colored paint. Make sure you press the paint into the rug properly. After painting one section, lift the stencil, match up the edges, and repeat the procedure until you decorate the entire rug.

Book Planters

Do you have a kid who is an avid reader? Take a big book that isn’t being used and smear its edges with wood glue. If you want a deep planter area, you can use two books. Just use glue to hold them together. Mark the cutting area with a pencil and use a craft knife to slice through the pages.

Once you are done cutting, take a plastic bag and place it in the hole. You can use glue to hold it in. The plastic will prevent water from seeping into the book and damaging it. Add soil, place the plant, and water it. Use an indoor plant like a peace lily or rubber tree.

Leather Strap Hanging Shelf

If your kid’s room seems to be running out of space, you can help them design a DIY hanging shelf. You need leather straps, a hand drill, and a piece of wood to make the shelf. Cut two pieces of the strap to the desired length and create two screw holes on the edges of each strap. Create a loop with the leather strips, and attach them to the wall using the holes. Finally, place the shelf through the loops and ensure it is level.

Re-use Party Cups

Do you have some party cups around your home? You can use them to bring a bit of order and style to a room. Use different colored cups to store pencils, pens, markers, paintbrushes, and colored pencils. 

Final Thoughts

You don’t need expensive improvements to make your teenager’s bedroom to look and feel cool. With just a little creativity, you can brighten up your teen’s room, make it feel bigger and amazing. Use the ideas above to transform your kid’s room.

3 Fun Video Games To Play With Your Kids

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Those of you that are regulars on my blog will know how I feel about video games and gaming. I think they generally get a bad rep from lots of parents, usually because people don’t seem to understand the concept of gaming or how beneficial it can potentially be. 

So, I think it’s a good idea to encourage your kids to game – as long as they do so responsibly. It can be a very healthy hobby, and it’s also a chance for you to get closer to your kids. There are loads of enjoyable video games that you and your children can play together. Some of these are unique to the video game world, while others bring classic board games to life. If you’re looking to pass the time at home, here are the best games to try:

Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games

Mario and Sonic have teamed up for multiple games celebrating the various Olympics over the years. If you have a Nintendo Switch, then this is an excellent game to buy for the whole family to enjoy. You and your kids can compete against one another in a series of Olympic sports using popular characters from the Mario and Sonic universes. It’s a fairly active game as well, and can get wildly competitive! All ages can enjoy it, and it could be worth buying a Switch for this game alone. 

Scrabble

Yes, the classic board game has made it to the video game real on both Xbox and Playstation. The fun thing about this game is that it encourages your kids to practice their spelling and to learn new words. If they struggle, then you can easily use a word finder tool online to help them out. What I love most about Scrabble on the video game platform is that your kids are way more likely to play it than the original board game! It just seems much cooler to them. Plus, there are some extra features to keep everyone entertained as well. 

Overcooked

Lastly, we have a wonderful cooking-based game that the whole family will fall in love with. I’ve seen parents who have never cared for video games suddenly become engrossed in this one! The premise of Overcooked is easy to understand – you’re in a kitchen and you have to fulfill all the food orders. The instructions and controls are simple for children under 8 to follow, so everyone can get involved. It can get really frantic and exceptionally entertaining. It’s available across multiple platforms, but the Nintendo Switch version might be the best because you can use motion controls and get more people involved. 

There you have it: three excellent family games for you and your kids to play. I’ve linked videos to all the gameplay trailers, so you can see more about the games themselves. The moral of the story is that gaming can be a brilliant family activity. Instead of viewing video games as something that pushes the family apart, look at them as a hobby that can bring you all together!