Going to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game? Here are 10 fun things to do in St. Louis.

On Tuesday, July 14, the St. Louis Cardinals and their new ballpark Busch Stadium will host the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, with the must-watch Home Run Derby taking place the night before. Thousands of people from around the country will be flocking to St. Louis to see the festivities, but many of them will know the city for only two things, baseball and beer. And really, what else is there?

Well, plenty. Here’s a look at ten fun things to do in St. Louis when you’re not catching Albert Pujols’ home run balls.

10. Imo’s Pizza Serving up thin-crust, St. Louis-style pizza, Imo’s has been the city’s choice for pie for 45 years. Sure, many non-St. Louisans scoff at Imo’s use of provel cheese instead of mozzarella (sample review: “Provel is just wrong and it doesn’t belong anywhere near a pizza crust”), but you haven’t visited St. Louis until you’ve eaten at Imo’s.

9. The St. Louis Art Museum Located in the heart of Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum is home to one of the nation’s most underrated collections of art, with works by the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and Gauguin. The best part? Admission is free.

8. The Missouri Botanical Garden
The oldest botanical garden in the United States and a National Historic Landmark, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a relaxing, beautiful oasis located in south St. Louis. Don’t miss the Butterfly House, the Japanese walking garden called Seiwa-en, and the Climatron, which simulates the climate of a tropical rainforest.

7. The Gateway Arch Like a Parisian who makes a point to avoid the Eiffel Tower, I’ve been a St. Louis resident most of my life yet I’ve never been to the top of the Arch. The most well-known feature of the St. Louis skyline, the Arch was completed in 1965 to celebrate St. Louis’ status as a “Gateway to the West,” and it stands 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide. The trip to the top is (supposedly) not for the claustrophobic, but it no doubt affords a great view of the city and its surroundings.

6. Anheuser-Busch Brewery Take a free tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery and you’ll be able to check out the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, learn more than you ever wanted to know about hops and beechwood aging, and sample a glass or two of the product. Located in the historic Soulard neighborhood downtown.

5. Laclede’s Landing Cobblestone streets and converted warehouses give this riverfront food, drink, and entertainment district a truly unique feel. The St. Louis Fish Market is the place to go in St. Louis for seafood, The Big Bang is a spirited piano bar, and Morgan Street Brewery is a college hangout with great microbrews. Laclede’s Landing is within walking distance of Busch Stadium and the Arch.

4. Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard Don’t let the long lines deter you: They move quickly and they’re a small price to pay for St. Louis’ most well-known custard stand, notoriously packed after every Cardinals home game. Allow me to recommend the Cardinal Sin, a “sinfully” good cherry-chocolate-and-custard treat, or a Concrete, made of frozen custard so thick you could pave a driveway with it. Go here for locations.

3. St. Louis Zoo Dating all the way back to the 1904 World’s Fair, the St. Louis Zoo is one of the best free zoos in the country. You can get up close and personal with penguins and puffins, see elephants and cheetahs at the River’s Edge, and take a ride aboard the Zooline Railroad. A great, affordable destination for the whole family.

2. Fast Eddie’s Bon Air Just a 30-minute drive from downtown St. Louis, Fast Eddie’s of Alton, Illinois, proudly proclaims itself “the best bar in the Midwest, maybe even the world.” An exaggeration? Sure, but not by much. Cheap beer, 99-cent half-pound burgers, 29-cent peel-and-eat shrimp, and a huge new outdoor patio make Fast Eddie’s the place to go in the St. Louis area if you want to kick back for some cold suds and good grub.

Be sure to check out the pair of shoes once worn by the late Robert Wadlow, the 8’11” Alton native who is still known as the tallest man ever to live. (Note: You must be 21 or over to enter Fast Eddie’s.)

1. The City Museum The 600,000 square-foot museum is an “eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects.” It’s what Willy Wonka would have built if he hadn’t been so obsessed with candy.

You can crawl through an airplane fuselage in the playground, create your own art in Art City, and take a ride on one of several massive slides. One TripAdvisor reviewer sums the place up best: “Unsafe? Perhaps. Fun? Most Definitely.”

More airline employees with sticky fingers

Did you lose a bag at Philadelphia International Airport? Well, there may be a reason. An American Airlines baggage crew chief was arrested and charged with stealing clothes from the luggage he handled. The game appears to have been: (1) steal the clothes, (2) return them to a department store and (3) don’t get caught.

That last one’s the hard part.

A passenger on Flight 892 from Dallas to Philly noticed four articles of clothing missing – with a total value of $550. It was easy to reach that amount; the tags were still on the items. Later, the clothing, which was purchased at a Nordstrom in Dallas, was taken to a local Nordstrom.

If it seems to easy … well, handcuffs are there to tell you that it is.

This is just the latest instance busted up by police. A TSA official was fired from his job in Philly for lifting passenger belongings, and a theft ring in St. Louis was discovered – after around 900 items were alleged to have been stolen.

Another week, another ring of luggage thieves busted

Theft from airport baggage is becoming such a common thing, that pretty soon we’ll be reporting on the airports that have not yet been in the news for having a theft ring busted.

This week, it’s St. Louis airport that made headlines with the roundup of six baggage handlers and two of their friends who had been helping themselves to our belongings. The baggage handlers worked for a handling firm hired by Delta Airlines.

Their stash consisted of the kind of stuff you’d expect thieves to be after; DVD’s, GPS devices, mobile phones, iPods and even two handguns. According to police records, the thieves stuffed the stolen items in jackets and backpacks.

If you traveled through Lambert International Airport on Delta Airlines, and believe you may have been a victim of these crooks, you can contact a police hotline at (314) 890-1822. The police will need specific information on how to determine that the item belongs to you.

All this of course raises the question how on earth these people can get away with stealing items for such a long stretch of time (15 months). It is clear that the focus of airport security needs to be expanded from passengers, to everyone working at the airport.

It is great the our nation is being protected from nasty terrorists, but if gangs of thieves can steal guns from checked luggage, the whole concept really does need some work. Most electronics stores do not allow staff to bring any kind of gadgets into, or out of the store, which is how things should work at the airports too.