Category Archives: St. Louis

The McDonald’s Riverboat

I grew up in the 1980’s, living in Southern Illinois and we would visit St. Louis on a pretty regular basis, often to either take in Cardinals baseball game, visit the zoo or spend a day at Grant’s Farm. But I have to admit, one of my favorite attractions in that wonderful town was the McDonald’s Riverboat.  After all, I was probably eight years old, I was legally required to love McDonald’s and what eight year old kid could pass up a floating McDonald’s? I don’t know the numbers but I would bet it would be zero.

Though it is sad to admit, I am pretty sure I only had the chance to eat their twice, somewhere around 1983 or 1984. I do remember vividly dropping the Astronik from my Happy Meal into the Mississippi River below. I didn’t cry, I didn’t even get sad. It just seemed kind of cool. While it was the same food served at every other McDonald’s in United States,  it just seemed better eating it while sitting on the deck of a floating McDonald’s. After all, most fast food is pretty much the same – there are only so many things you can do with hamburger patties and ketchup, but you have to admit, McDonald’s really stepped it up by serving it on a damn riverboat.


The St. Louis McDonald’s Riverboat was a landmark but finally time caught up to it and the world no longer needed a floating McDonald’s. And a little other known fact – it really wasn’t a riverboat. It was just a barge that had a riverbaot shaped McDonald’s built on top of it. But For reasons I am not sure of, and probably wouldn’t agree with anyway, the powers that be decided it was time to shut the place down. I have no real idea of what happened to the place but chances are it was dismantled and sold for scrap. A sad ending for a place that made a lot of kids excited but a victory for parents who couldn’t stand the though of eating one more Big Mac. I miss the place but I still continue on…

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