Best Place to People-Watch

Jefferson Barracks Park

"Just to hear these guys say things like, "You know, it didn't really matter how we felt about Patton. All that mattered was that the Germans were terrified of him' -- it's just an unbelievable experience," says JoAnn Keller, one of nearly seventy volunteers who began staffing the two museums in Jefferson Barracks Park this past spring when the facilities were in danger of closing. Sure, there's an archery range, disc-golf course and a ton o' picnic shelters amid the park's 426 acres, but the real place to people-watch -- and -listen -- is at any of the WWII-associated events held within the park's boundaries. No matter how you feel about our nation's foreign policy, the Barracks'll offer perspective. It was a training base from 1826 until 1946, and the site of the first successful parachute jump in 1912. Battle of the Bulge veterans gather here annually. But you might want to come visit soon. "These folks are all getting up into their eighties," notes Keller, "and if people don't record their stories now, they're going to be lost."
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