In 1904, St. Louis, MO, was the host of the celebrated Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the World’s Fair. Spanning 1,272 acres of land, it was the largest fair ever held at that time. Its fascinating attractions brought visitors from all over the world. Today, you can still see a number of remaining exhibits from the historic fair in the city. Here are 5 World’s Fair attractions that you must visit when you’re in St. Louis.
The site of the 1904 World’s Fair is mostly located in the green heart of St. Louis, which is the Forest Park. Today, the park still has a number of structures left from the fair, including the World’s Fair Pavilion, Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Grand Basin. Besides visiting these attractions, you can spend some time in the famous Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri History Museum, or the St. Louis Science Center. The park is also a great place for walking, jogging, picnicking, and relaxing.
Saint Louis Art Museum
The Palace of Fine Arts is probably the most famous landmark of the 1904 World’s Fair. It was such an iconic structure that the organizers of the fair decided to keep it as a permanent exhibit. It’s now home to the Saint Louis Art Museum, one of the most prestigious art museums in the U.S. It has a statue of Louis IX the French King at the entrance and showcases a huge collection of paintings, sculptures, ancient artworks, and cultural objects from around the world.
The castle-like Brookings Hall served as the administration building during the 1904 World’s Fair. Today, it’s the signature building on the Washington University campus. Established between 1900 and 1902, it features Collegiate Gothic architecture and numerous inscriptions on its facades. Initially called University Hall, this building was renamed Brookings Hall in 1928, after board chairman Robert Brookings.
Aviary, Saint Louis Zoo
The Aviary in the Saint Louis Zoo is housed in a large steel structure that was originally built for the 1904 World’s Fair. It was the Smithsonian Institution that ordered the construction of the then-named “Flight Cage”. After the fair, the cage served as a landmark for the zoo. It now features a boardwalk and a recreated wetland environment, as well as an interesting exhibit of local aquatic bird species.
World’s Fair Pavilion
The majestic World’s Pavilion is located on top of Government Hill. From there, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Forest Park. In 1909, the Pavilion replaced the former World’s Fair Missouri Building that stood in the same place. Having neglected the structure for decades, the authorities renovated the hill and restored it to its former glory. The prime location of the pavilion makes it a very attractive venue for weddings and fundraising events.
The 1904 World’s Fair plays an important role in shaping the history and culture of St. Louis. If you want to have a complete experience of the city, you can’t really skip these attractions.
Image by jill111, used under CCO 1.0