St Louis Attractions St Louis Zoo Ronald Mcdonald Science Center

St Louis, Missouri offers a wide array of activities and entertainment for families.  It does not matter if you’re a seasoned veteran of the city or a tourist, there will be lots of things to keep you busy and smiling. The following guide includes economic attractions that will meet any budget, as well as some pricey venues that you might want to include on a family outing. 

Take a tour of the Soulard Farmer’s market. This is free to enter and will keep you and the entire family busy for a few hours. Should you live here, this is a great source for fresh vegetables and other produce. From experience, the later you go in the day the better the bargains get. A crate of bananas has been known to sell for 3.00 at the end of the day.  Produce, meats, fish, crafts, and local dining are all offered in this location which operates year round. Children will enjoy letting loose some pent up energy on the playground outside the indoor market. 

Visit the famous Clydesdale horses at Grants farm. There is a slight parking fee when visiting this location but the attractions are free of charge.  This park is open to the public all summer. During the fall and winter they set up special event times and decorate according to the holiday season. Ride a train through the farm and see all the beautiful animals. The train will stop in what is called the Petting Zoo area. Hop off and pay a few quarters if you want to feed the baby goats a bottle. They also sell dry feed for the adult goats and children love wandering through the goat pen and interacting with them.   Beware they like to chew! When you’re done feeding the goats be sure to check out one of the animal shows.  There are usually three different shows with various animals running each day on a schedule. Stroll through the park and look at all the sights. Don’t forget to stop at the Beer Garden where adults can sample the brewery of Busch with free drinks. There is a limit of two so no worries about becoming too inebriated. The Clydesdale stalls can also be found in the beer garden, however, during the summer you are more likely to find them in the training areas performing a show or exercising. 

Ride an elevator up in one of attractions throughout the years- the Arch. The elevator up is referred to as the tram due to the special architecture and its unique design. Once at the top you can look out and experience a breathtaking view of the City. There is a fee for each individual with this attraction. 

Families with small children can’t miss the Ronald McDonald Magic House. There are fees for each individual; however until age two, children are free with paying adults.  Parents will enjoy being kids again and enjoying the playful house as much as their children.  Adults may participate as much as they like.  Children can stretch their imagination and enjoy all sorts of inventive play activity’s and toys. The perfect way to fill a rainy day! Set up with a pretend restaurant, the children can cook and wait on you, a pretend store where they can learn the value of purchasing carefully, water play, indoor gym equipment, and much, much more await you and your child exploring this home. 

Another budget wise attraction is the St Louis Science Center. There is a small parking fee but admission is free. They also have an IMAX theatre and some special exhibits do charge fees. However, if you are on a budget do not feel like you have to spend money to enjoy your time in this multi level building. There is a ton of things to learn, explore, and interact with that are completely free of charge. Walk across a bridge and use radar guns to see how fast the unaware travelers below are going. Build a bridge or arch on your own with your family! Visit a floor of optical illusions, learn about recycling and put your body to the health test in the various rooms and exhibits. Life size dinosaur exhibits bring to life the history of the dinosaur. Toddlers and small children will enjoy how most exhibits are designed hands on. Parents will enjoy taking part in this experience and playing themselves with many of the exhibits. 

A popular and economic attraction is the St Louis Zoo. It covers a wide array of animals and has been in the national news with births and news of their animals. There have been famous animal babies birthed in this zoo, some who remain as part of the enjoyment. There are indoor houses of birds, animals, insects, and reptiles. There are outdoor exhibits and paid attraction shows. The paid attractions are again optional and by no means dictate the amount of fun you can have at no cost. For the truly cost effective trip there are a few tips to make your trip even more fun without extra costs. When planning a trip to the zoo plan to arrive right at opening time for the day. In doing so, you will find several off street parking spots available at no charge. Also by being at the zoo within the first hour it is open you will be able to go straight to the Children’s area. This is normally a paid event, but the first hour you can walk into it for free and stay as long as you like. So if you are watching your pennies on your family vacation this is a great way to experience this attraction. 

Museums of all sorts and variety exist in the city of St Louis. Some are free admission, others charge for admission. Some also offer separate paid exhibits. There is a children’s museum, a transportation museum, an art museum and many others. If you are in St Louis on a Sunday wondering what to do with the family, the art museum offers family fun on Sundays. Every Sunday there is a new theme and the families may find themselves watching a theatrical performance by a local troupe, painting, drawing, or building a project. This is provided free of charge and each activity comes with instructions and some history on the art element being used that day. A great way to encourage those little artists!  The staff also encourages parents to get involved and help or make their own projects beside the children.

Six Flags St Louis is also in the area but does charge individual fees. Enjoy the water park during the summer hours as part of your admission cost. In the fall they offer a haunted October festival inside the theme park. Featuring rides like Batman, the Ninja, Mr. Freeze, and more recently added the Superman. This park is truly a good time had by all. 

Yogi Bear Campgrounds are located right next to the theme park so why not plan a family camping trip at the same time as the park? Family friendly campgrounds Yogi offers many family activities and each week in the summer they have a theme with special activities planned for that week. 

Missouri Botanical Gardens are a popular family attraction. They also charge an entrance fee. Families stroll through the gardens and enjoy the beauty of nature.  There are play areas and rest areas all around the grounds. It also offers biodomes featuring duplicated conditions of rainforest’s. So it also makes for a great educational opportunity. 

The downtown area is great for walking around and exploring during the daytime.  Experience the feel of the river and the various shopping and dining establishments. There is a landing that is famous and you will be able to see gambling riverboats in the water. You can take in the view of the city and the river up close then walk around a block and dine in one of the famous downtown restaurants. 

Depending upon the time of year, there are many seasonal opportunities for families to take advantage of. During the summer the downtown area will host free concerts and fireworks. Many weekends downtown has a festival of some sort to experience various cultures or eat great food. During the holidays there are several lights strung throughout the city.  In addition there is a paid light attraction by Six Flags and across the river into Illinois is a Shrine of Lights hosted by the Catholic Church.  

During Christmas, St Charles holds a festival on weekends. You stroll through the streets of the historical downtown district and learn bits about its history while enjoying the sights and smells of the season. Volunteers dressed in historical costumes will carol and talk with you about the events. This is a very pleasant way to spend a winter evening. 

These highlights are just a start to the places that can be enjoyed by families in St Louis. There are certainly many more places to see and things to do than could be mentioned in just one article. By following this guide and enjoying the things on this list, you may even encounter other ideas.  The possibilities for vacation fun are endless in St Louis.