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'Forest Park: A Walk Through History' Takes Readers Off The Beaten Track

Courtesy of Carolyn Mueller

Carolyn Mueller, a local author and zookeeper at the St. Louis Zoo, has explored the trails of Forest Park for more than a decade. While many have walked up the famous Art Hill or picnicked at Shakespeare Glen, Mueller has also taken the paths less traveled within the city’s most sprawling green space.

And with locals practicing social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, some of the spots Mueller highlights in her new book, “Forest Park: A Walk Through History,” are particularly timely. They offer a way to enjoy the park even while practicing that six-foot rule of staying apart from each other.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked to Mueller about her book and recommendations for new spots in Forest Park to visit.

During the show, Mueller suggested her favorite paths from the book, as well as sculptures to see, such as the Edward Bates sculpture and the 1.5-mile nature walk through Kennedy Forest

Other top picks, from Mueller and listeners, include: 

  • The Spanish cannon Examinador, which can be seen from the Forest Park visitor center and overlooks Lindell Boulevard.
  • The Forest Park Hatchery, a former fish culture hatchery located by Forest Park Parkway and Grand Drive.
  • Prairie Boardwalk, which runs through the Prairie Complex just north of Steinberg Skating Rink.
  • The Joie de Vivre sculpture, created by artist Jacques Lipchitz in 1927 and located by the Steinberg Skating Rink.
  • The Friedrich Jahn Memorial, a 41-foot memorial located below and to the east of Art Hill.
  • The Victorian Bridge, which features calm, tree-lined waterways and is located by the Round Lake.
  • The Successional Forest, between the World's Fair Pavilion and the Central Fields is Mueller’s “favorite seclusion place.”
  • A quiet path called the Deer Lake Savana, between the Victorian Footbridge and the Steinberg. 

Some of Mueller’s other favorites, such as the bridge to Picnic Island, are popular picks for many visitors. But she said that the park — which she pointed out is larger than New York City’s Central Park — is large enough that others can find a place less traveled. 

“I think that it's pretty cool that it is so large that you can find your little niche to hang out. It doesn't have to be overcrowded," she said.

Readers can order the book at Mueller’s website here or through this link

Producer's note: St. Louis is restricting vehicle traffic in several city parks to reduce the number of visitors and allow more space for people seeking fresh air and exercise during the stay-at-home orders. The city has ordered some streets in Forest Park closed until April 22.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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