We arrived at the Historic Kirkwood Train Station just in time to watch the arrival of Amtrak's River Runner at 9:44 a.m. (learn more about Amtrak stops at Kirkwood Station online). With shrieks of "too-toos!" Michael watched with joy as the westbound train arrived at the station. Seeing the conductor help passengers get on and off the train was thrilling, too. Volunteers operate the Kirkwood Station, and Michael had the opportunity to meet the station operator. A friendly man, he brought Michael his very own paperboard conductor hat.
The conductor hollered "All Aboard," and as the train chugged away, Michael noticed a shiny ball on the other side of the tracks, just north of Kirkwood City Hall. We were off to get a closer look. Turns out, the ball was a monument to former Kirkwood Mayor Robert G. Reim. The park also includes memorials for servicemen and women who died in war and Kirkwood officials killed in 2008. Military pride runs deep in our family, and I enjoyed telling Michael about the importance of service. Of course, being 2, Michael was more interested in waving at the Metro bus and work trucks that zoomed along Kirkwood Road.
A bit hungry and in need of a place to change a diaper, we wandered to the Kirkwood Farmers' Market where we met CJ Sanders, owner of CJ's Plants and Produce. Sanders was selling locally grown strawberries and asparagus. We bought a quart of fresh strawberries, and Sanders told us to be sure to return when the weather was warmer to see his bullfrog tadpoles, which he displays outside his booth.
We crossed Argonne Drive and did a little window shopping at Christopher's and OK Hatchery and Feed Store. We also popped into The Craft Caboose, where young kids can drop-in to create their own crafts. Michael enjoyed exploring the store, including the private supply room, while I talked to owner Sharon Crnko.
We concluded our exploration of Argonne Drive at Kirkwood Park, just a half-mile west of Kirkwood Train Station. With its sand and water play areas, climbing structures and swings, the young childrens play area never disappoints. The park literally has every feature imaginable: a sprayground, walking trails, softball fields, Walker Lake, a theater, an aquatic center, an ice rink, an amphitheater and more. We easily could have spent hours exploring this park, however our next destination wasn't on Argonne Drive; it was back home for a big nap.
About Meandering with Michael
Let me introduce you to Michael, the unofficial ambassador of St. Louis Sprout. Like most toddlers, Michael meanders. He roams about until something catches his eye, and then, he's off to explore. In "Meandering with Michael" I follow Michael through the region to learn more about the things that catch his attention. We start with a map or pictures of different things or places. He points to something, and we're off to explore. Let's meander...
Caricature by Share Faerber.