It’s been a few week since our most recent visit home, and I have been working on compiling my list of top places to visit! I grew up about 30 minutes outside of St. Louis, Missouri on the Illinois side of the Mississippi. My mom worked in St. Louis so before I started kindergarten I went to preschool in Chesterfield, MO. In my town, you pretty much had to go to St. Louis to do anything. So I have a lot of experience with what’s fun in St. Louis. On our most recent trip to St. Louis, we didn’t get to visit all of our favorite spots, but we got a few in!
Does anything beat a good hockey game? I’m not sure there is a better sport in my opinion. (Good thing we moved to Alaska.) Seriously though, who doesn’t like to watch a good fight on the ice? We went to many Blues games before Jasper was born. We never got the chance to bring Jasper to a Blues game before moving away from the area. However, we plan to on a future visit!
For more information about the St. Louis Blues or attending a Blues game visit: www.nhl.com/blues.
While in high school, some people went to sports or art summer camps. I went to archeology camp! A fact that my husband still pokes fun at. I love history and Cahokia Mounds is a great location to experience history first hand!
Present day Cahokia Mounds is located around 20 minutes outside of St. Louis. In fact, at one time 25 mounds could be found in what is now the St. Louis city limits. Sadly these mounds have since been destroyed. Between 1830-1870 nearly all of the mounds near the city limits of St. Louis were demolished by city developers. Some of the destroyed mounds even included grave sights. Luckily on the Illinois side there are many remaining mounds!
Cahokia Mounds is the “most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico.” I have always enjoyed learning about the significance of the different mounds. The two most notable being Monks Mound and Mound 72. Monks mound is a 10-story mound, the largest mound north of Mexico. Mound 72 is the burial sight of a man, laid to rest on over 20,000 marine-shell beads that were placed in the image of a falcon. In addition, this same mound was the resting place for 250 other people, more than half are believed to be sacrifices.
Cahokia Mounds is free to enter! However, there is suggested donation amounts for the size and age of your party.
For more information about Cahokia Mounds, visit their website at: www.cahokiamounds.org.
St. Louis is a baseball town! The Cardinals have won the world series 11 times to date! We may have lived on the Illinois side of the river, but those who live in Southern Illinois are mostly Cardinals fans (Cubs – Gag). I have been to countless Cardinals games. My in-laws had season tickets for a good many years, in addition to my husband worked at the stadium throughout college. Again, Jasper hasn’t yet experienced a Cardinals game. However, I am sure he will in the future!
For more information about the St. Louis Cardinals or attending a Cardinals game visit: www.mlb.com/cardinals.
Growing up my friends and I thought the Delmar Loop was the height of cool. The stores are funky and fun. The people are colorful. In addition there are some good restaurants. Blueberry Hill is probably the most famous restaurant there. However, I always loved to go to Fitz’s where you can watch them bottle their own root beer while you eat your lunch! Though it’s not only found in St. Louis, I would never say no to going to The Melting Pot. In addition, you can find the St. Louis Walk of Fame here!
For more information about the Delmar Loop visit: www.visittheloop.com.
Eckert’s Farms are a great place for you-pick fruits and vegetables! Not to mention, there are three locations to chose from! Who doesn’t like to go out into a giant field of strawberries and pick your own? In addition they have a country store, a restaurant, and often offer live entertainment.
Jasper really enjoyed Eckert’s the last time we visited. His favorite part was eating the strawberries right from the field! It was on my list of things to do during our last visit home. However, nothing was ready to be picked besides (if I remember correctly) asparagus! I LOVE most fruits and veggies. However, I loath asparagus. So sadly we did not visit on this trip.
For more information about the Delmar Loop visit: www.eckerts.com.
Forest Park is an OVER 1300 acre park located within St. Louis. The 1904 Worlds Fair, Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, and 1904 Summer Olympics were all held in Forest Park.
Some of the other places on this list are located within Forest Park. However, Forest Park itself is a beautiful destination. Here you can find beautiful gardens, waterfalls and walking paths. In addition amazing locations such as the Steinburg Ice Rink, the Jewel Box, the Boathouse, a Golf Course, Fishing areas, and the World’s Fair Pavilion can all be found here.
For more information about Forest Park visit: www.forestparkforever.org.
This farm was once owned by former United States President, Ulysses S Grant. It is now owned by the Bush family who previously owned the Anheuser- Bush Brewing Company. Grants Farm is an animal reserve. At the farm you can visit buffalo, eagles, camels, donkeys, elephants, goats, kangaroos, peacocks, the Budweiser Clydesdales, in addition to many others! Whether you want to feed baby goats, see the clidesdailes, or pet a camel, Grants Farm is the place for you!
This location is free to enter. However, there is a $13 parking fee.
For more information about Grants Farm visit: www.grantsfarm.com.
The Missouri Botanical Gardens is also known as Shaw’s Garden. Found in 1859, it is one of the oldest botanical gardens within the United States. Here you can find 79 acres of beautiful gardens including a hedge maze, koi pond, and children’s garden. The koi pond has been one of my favorite things here as long as I can remember. It is so much fun to watch the enormous fish swim below while you throw them food! The children’s garden is a great place for the kids to run free, equipped with an amazing playground and a fun splash pad!
If you visit the Missouri Botanical Gardens during the winter, the Garden Glow is a great event to attend! We always visit the Garden Glow if we are in town during this time of year!
For more information about the Missouri Botanical Gardens visit: www.missouribotanicalgarden.org.
Felling the need to visit some cats, dogs or hogs? Want to go on a wagon ride? At Purina Farms you can do it all! Here you can visit a multi-level cat house. Visit with sheep, horses, chickens, pigs and rabbits in the baby animal petting area. You can even milk a cow! Don’t miss the dog shows where you can watch the dogs complete amazing jumps right in front of you! There is even a hayloft play area!
For more information about Purina Farm visit: www.purina.com.
If you are a thrill seeker don’t miss Six Flags St. Louis! Six Flags has a great mixture of children’s attractions, such as the Bugs Bunny Fort Fun, and Thrill Rides, like their classic Screamin’ Eagle or the awesome BATMAN: The Ride! And don’t forget about the water rides at the Six Flag’s water park, Hurricane Harbor!
For more information about Six Flags St. Louis visit: www.sixflags.com/stlouis.
This is one of my top suggestions if you are visiting St. Louis! The City Museum is truly a playground for “children of all ages.” The former International Shoe building has been turned into a 600,000 square foot playground of your dreams!
The City Museum holds special meaning for my husband and I. My husband proposed to me at the top of the ferris wheel on the roof of The City Museum. (That’s right! There is a ferris wheel on the roof!) In addition, every inch of this place is decorated in something new and beautiful! When I say this is a playground fit for adults, I mean it. There is even a bar located on the first level, and on Fridays the museum is open until midnight!
If I haven’t sold the City Museum to you yet let me list off some of it’s best attractions: the five-story slide, the TEN-STORY slide, the world’s largest pair of underwear, two airplanes, a school bus (hanging off the roof), a 30-foot ferris wheel, plus many more AMAZING things!
However, I do have two cautions I must inform you of. First, please dress appropriately. When I say playground, I really mean it. I suggest tennis shoes and jeans. You do not want bare knees for this location. Second, I caution you bringing very small children here. We have yet to bring Jasper. If your child isn’t old enough to understand how to establish a meeting place if you are separated, they are probably too young to visit The City Museum. Even with other adults, I feel there is a 75% chance your group will get separated. However, I am excited to tell you that The City Museum has plans in the works for a Toddler Town! Once this new area is open we will be dashing to take Jasper to The City Museum!
For more information about the St. Louis City Museum visit: www.citymuseum.org.
If you are wanting to catch a show while visiting St. Louis, this is the place to go! The Fox Theater, also known as The Fabulous Fox was opened in 1929 by William Fox. It was originally a movie theater, but now primarily shows Broadway shows and concerts. Growing up I went to a number of amazing shows at the Fox Theater including Spamalot, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and The Wizard of Oz!
For more information about The Fabulous Fox visit: www.fabulousfox.com.
As a kid (and still as an adult) The Magic House was amazing! This children’s museum is always at the top of my list when I think of things to do with kids in St. Louis. The Magic House opened in 1979 and initially was only 5,500 square feet. However, now the museum has grown to 55,000 square feet! Here you can find a bubble room, a three story slide, an AMAZING children’s village, an electrically charger ball (that makes your hair stand on end), a three-story bean stalk (for climbing), and so much more!
You better believe we took Jasper to The Magic House on our most recent visit home! In addition, when I asked my nephew what one thing he wanted to make sure to do with us, he chose The Magic House. It is at the top of every St. Louis area child’s list, whether they are two or ten!
For more information about The Magic House visit: www.magichouse.org.
The Fox is not the only place to catch a show in St. Louis! The St. Louis Muny, which opened in 1917 is America’s Oldest and Largest outdoor theater. The Muny season runs only from mid-June through mid-August. I have seen many great shows here such as Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, and The Adams Family.
For every show the Muny offers 1,500 free seats located at the back of the theater! These seats are available on a first come first serve basis.
For more information about The Muny visit: www.muny.org.
If you are feeling like a scenic drive, take The Great River road to see the Piasa Bird (pronounced Pie-a-saw) in Alton, Illinois. Again, I LOVED history growing up and still do. The Piasa Bird is only a mural on the rocks, but I was always excited to go visit it as a child. In addition, The Great River road is beautiful and always a treat to drive down.
The name, The Piasa means “the bird that devours men” or “bird of the evil spirit.” The Piasa Bird is a Native American dragon that is depicted in a mural on the bluffs above the Mississippi River. The Piasa Bird was first recorded by Marquette and Joliet in 1673 during their well known journey down the Mississippi River.
The Legend of the Piasa Bird can be found here: www.piasabirds.com.
For more information about the Piasa Bird visit: www.roadsideamerica.com.
If your looking for an afternoon away from the humidity of St. Louis summer, these two FREE attraction within forest park should be on your list!
Growing up, what I always loved to see at the St. Louis Art Museum was the mummy! I just thought it was the coolest thing! Found in 1879 this museum is one of the United States’ principle Art Museums. The St. Louis Art Museum houses ancient masterpieces, paintings, sculptures and cultural objects from around the world.
The Missouri History Museum is a great place to visit on a hot day. They have 175,000 artifacts on sight. Though we have not visited with Jasper yet, I have read they have a History Clubhouse where children can explore iconic St. Louis building, be a steamboat pilot, play as if they lived at Cahokia Mounds, and much more!
For more information about the St. Louis Art Museum visit: www.slam.org.
For more information about the Missouri History Museum visit: www.mohistory.org.
The Gateway to the West, the St. Louis Arch is one of the most easily recognizable US landmarks. The creation of the St. Louis Arch celebrates westward expansion in the United States. Completed in 1965, it is the world’s tallest arch, standing as wide as it is tall, at 630 feet. To get to the top of the St. Louis Arch you take a tram ride to a small viewing deck with windows that provide great views of the surrounding city and Mississippi River below. The St. Louis Arch, the icon of the city and a must visit if you are in the area!
For more information about the St. Louis Arch visit: www.gatewayarch.com.
I still remember my first visit to The Science Center. I had to of been under five years old. I remember walking in and seeing moving life size dinosaurs tearing each other apart. I was terrified and wanted to leave. While I was a scaredy-cat as a child, Jasper is not. We did not get the chance to visit the Science Center on our most recent trip home, but I have been there in recent years with the daycare I worked with before moving to Alaska. We will be visiting in the future. Jasper will LOVE the dinosaurs and he will love even more the kids dino excavation area that is now located next to the dinosaurs. There is much to do here for children of all ages including science demonstrations, a discovery room, a bridge that passes over the highway, an OMNIMAX theater, and a planetarium!
General admission is free to the St. Louis Science Center!
For more information about the St. Louis Science Center visit: www.slsc.org.
In addition to many past awards the St. Louis Zoo just placed at the very top of the USA TODAY 2018 TOP 10 Best Zoo’s list! Additionally, the Sea Lion Sound exhibit is at the top of the USA TODAY 2018 Best Zoo Exhibit list! Let me tell you, this is a fun exhibit! You get to walk under clear tunnels allowing you to look up into the swimming area of the sea lion enclosure as sea lions swim around you and play with you through the glass!
However, there is much much more to the St. Louis Zoo than the sea lions. The zoo features over 600 species of animals. Some of my favorite exhibits besides the sea lions include the polar bear, the penguins and the giraffes. If you are lucky enough to go on a day where the Antelope House is open you can get up and personal with some giraffes as well as the other animals that live there!
The St. Louis Zoo is free to enter!
For more information about the St. Louis Zoo visit: www.stlzoo.org.
Have you ever wanted to climb on a turtles back? Now is your chance! It may not be a real turtle. However, these are almost better! Some of the turtle statues measure 40 feet in length! In addition there is a large snake that is attempting to eat the nearby overpass! This park was built in 1996 and I have been coming to this park since I was a child. Jasper began climbing on the turtles shortly after he started to walk!
For more information about the Turtle Park visit: www.forestparkstatues.org.