Visiting St. Louis: 5 Fun Things To Do With The Family!

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, home of the famous Gateway Arch and many other spectacular attractions, is also one of the best cities along the Mississippi River to visit when traveling with family. One reason is that the city has more free major tourist attractions than any other city in the country outside Washington, D.C. But, many families enjoy their stay in St. Louis because of the variety of family-friendly activities and attractions.

If you are planning a trip to St. Louis, keep in mind that visitors pay nothing to visit the art museum, the history museum, the science center, and the zoo, all of which offer great opportunities for learning and fun. There are also attractions that are worth paying for to give your family and you a great St. Louis experience such as restaurants, sports games, and excursions like laser tag arenas and adventure parks. Whether your family is into sight-seeing and the outdoors or checking out the zoos and interactive centers, here are five fun family-friendly places to visit next time you’re in St. Louis.

Sullivan’s Supper Club

Saint Louis Zoo will fascinate family members of all ages, and general admission is completely free, making it a great stop on a family vacation. Being one of the only free zoos in the nation, St. Louis Zoo is the most-visited attraction in the region, attracting 3 million visitors annually. The zoo is home to roughly 12,000 animals, and the best way to see them all is to take a day to check out each exhibit with your family. Casually take the zoo on at your own pace, or share the experience of going behind the scenes at the zoo by scheduling a tour and learn what it’s like to be a zookeeper including seeing the animals up close and personal.

With 90 acres of animal exhibits, attractions, shopping, and dining for you and your family to enjoy, a trip to St. Louis Zoo will make for a memorable vacation for your kids and a great opportunity to spend some time together. Enhance your trip by participating in one of the many zoo programs including their Private Family Night Hikes or Safari Walking Tours, which are perfect for adding a personal touch to your visit, but do have admission fees. However you choose to spend your time at the zoo, it guarantees a great day for your entire family and a perfect excursion for a family vacation.

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St. Louis is full of beautiful city parks and gardens, and visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden, a family-friendly attraction, is a great way to experience the best of them all. The garden takes visitors over 79 acres of horticultural display that has been perfected and cared for since 1859. Known as an oasis in the city, the garden is a wonderful place to enjoy the beauty of nature with family and take a break from the city bustle.

If you plan to explore the Missouri Botanical Garden, some of the most outstanding displays that you won’t want to miss are the Chinese Garden, English Woodland Garden, Ottoman Garden, and Victorian District. If you’re traveling with young children, the garden also offers the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden, which is an interactive area for kids to learn about botany and 19th-century history. The Missouri Botanical Garden is also part of a family of attractions, so if you can’t get enough of the fun you can venture out of the city limits to visit The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, located in Chesterfield’s Faust Park, and the 2400-acre Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, Missouri.

The Trempealeau Hotel Logo

While St. Louis offers history, interactive experiences, and adventure, one of the most popular local and tourist spots is Forest Park. Covering 1,300 acres, Forest Park truly is St. Louis’s best spot to enjoy a variety of relaxing activities. Seeming to go for miles and miles, the park is large enough to accommodate museums and cultural venues, outdoor attractions, sports grounds, and recreational facilities just waiting for your family to explore.

Maybe you want to see some of the history of the region, if so you can visit the Musicians Memorial and Fountain, check out the St. Louis Art Museum, or walk around to see the other various statues and memorials. If you’re looking to relax for a few hours, there are plenty of quiet places to picnic and read, as well as the Dual Path system for walking. Your family might want to get out and play for a while, and with an archery range, racquetball, handball, and tennis courts, and soccer and baseball fields, Forest Park is the place to go. There is no shortage of opportunities for fun at the park, which is why it is one of the top places to visit with your family in St. Louis.

4. River Cafe

St. Louis is also home to many museums and interactive centers, including the St. Louis Science Center. Priding itself as a place to connect with curiosity, the Science Center is a free attraction where everyone can discover and learn together. It is also the perfect place to visit with your family to learn about the wonders of science through amazing interactive experiences and featured galleries. You never know what you might find at the Science Center, which will ensure a fun day of discovery and excitement for you and your family.

Out of the hundreds of interactive experiences your family might have, a few popular ones include testing the laws of physics in live Amazing Science Demonstrations, visiting a life-sized animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex, viewing the night sky uninterrupted by city lights, or building a replica of the Gateway Arch. The Center also features interesting exhibits throughout the year, such as their Mummies of the World: The Exhibition, featuring 40 real human and animal mummies and 85 rare artifacts from across the globe. Topping it all off with interactive discovery rooms, various simulators, and virtual reality experiences, your family will have a blast learning and exploring St. Louis Science Center.

5. Hungry Point Bar & Grill

Family time is great in general, but on a 200 feet tall observation wheel ride, it is even better. A ride on The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station will allow your family and you to sit back and relax as the St. Louis Skyline and the city pass by below.

The St. Louis Wheel 15 minutes rides within a fully enclosed, climate-controlled gondola that can seat up to six adults. You and your family will take three to four rotations high over the city of St. Louis and have a birds-eye view of everything below. The ride is most exciting at night when the wheel is all lit up in various colors and patterns, and the whole city is shining after the sun goes down. After your ride on the wheel, you can check out the other attractions at Union Station such as St. Louis Aquarium, the Carousel, and the Ropes Course, or stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants nearby.

Content Writer and Social Media Coordinator. I paint, listen to music, and play with my dogs a lot. When I’m not doing all that, I love to read and try new things.

Maeve Miller

Writer, River Travel Magazine