Planning a truly unforgettable meeting in St. Louis has become even easier — and the visit more fun — as several exciting new elements recently opened at the historic St. Louis Union Station.
Once the largest passenger rail terminal in the country, Union Station, a National Historic Landmark, is now an exciting lodging and meeting destination, with St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton.
Union Station has added six new attractions that are sure to engage and entertain guests for meetings, events, and leisure travel.
- St. Louis Aquarium, a one-of-a-kind, two-story aquarium that lets visitors enter via a 3-D, virtual-reality train honoring Union Station’s railroad past.
- St. Louis Wheel, a 200-foot-high observation wheel with 42 climate-controlled gondolas.
- A Ropes Course with 45 obstacles three stories up.
- A carousel featuring 30 whimsical animals and themed chariots.
- An 18-hole miniature golf course.
- An interactive Mirror Maze, reimagined from an iconic 1904 World’s Fair attraction.
Union Station has also added three new restaurants, a free-admission River Park with splash and play areas, and a Train Park, a landscaped outdoor space for concerts.
“The biggest highlight is the St. Louis Aquarium,” said Todd Hotaling, vice president of marketing for Lodging Hospitality Management, the station’s owner.
The 120,000-square-foot aquarium houses 13,000 aquatic animals from freshwater and marine environments around the world.
“Imagine planning a reception or meeting with a shark tank for a backdrop,” Hotaling said. “Very few places in the world that can say that.”
Unlike a Ferris wheel with open-air compartments, St. Louis Wheel seats visitors in Swiss-made, enclosed gondolas for a comfortable trip to the top in any weather. A VIP gondola has glass floors, leather bucket seats, and other amenities. At the top, riders are able to see 20 miles away.
Union Station is a spectacular meeting venue with 567 hotel rooms and 130,000 square feet of space, and planners find it perfect for events of all sizes.
“We’ve had a lot of great feedback from new-to-St.-Louis associations who had never been to the city before and hosted their events within Union Station,” Hotaling said. “It’s been great for them, because everything they need — amenities, space, restaurants — it’s all right here at Union Station.”
Grand Hall, the station’s majestic lobby, is a great venue for events, Hotaling said. “That’s in addition to the nightly light shows we do” — 15 different 3-D light shows can be projected onto the ceiling.
The Midway, a large convention area for booths, can accommodate up to 2,000 people, Hotaling said.
Midway East, the platform where passengers said farewell to loved ones as they boarded their trains, is open convention space as well. An additional 10,000 square feet of space is being added there and will have a view of the otter exhibit.
“We’ve added three playful, mischievous otters, and on the other side, we have Shark Canyon, with more than 60 sharks and rays,” Hotaling said. “That space is perfect for really fun events.”
New outdoor space “adds another element for meeting planners, where they could also do an outdoor event with entertainment, food, beverage — really, whatever they need — out back,” Hotaling said. “Groups are able to add things for their attendees to do between sessions or after hours. They could get on the St. Louis Wheel, play 18 holes of miniature golf, and enjoy new restaurants.”
Union Station’s location is ideal for group meetings. It’s just a few blocks from the America’s Center Convention complex and great downtown restaurants and entertainment options, including St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch experience.
Also nearby: St. Louis’ world-class zoo, science center, and art museum, as well as the Missouri History Museum and City Museum, a warehouse of interactive play for all ages.
To learn more about all St. Louis has to offer and to start planning your next meeting, visit explorestlouis.com today.