Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Things to do in the Lou!



















Free things:


1. Creve Coeur Lake- Lovely trails to stroll and 4 playgrounds as well (2 with splash pads- Currently under construction)

2. Powder Valley Nature Reserve- Great visitor center all about nature and 3 trails of varying difficulty to walk. A good indoor place to play.

3. Laumeier Sculpture Park- Great place to stroll around on a lovely day. You can do the scavenger hunt as well from the visitor’s center.

4. Zoo- Free but parking in the lot is $15. We always park up by the art museum in the free lot. 

5. The Art museum has free family art on Sundays from 1- 4. (on hold- covid)

6. History museum- History clubhouse is amazing. A great indoor place to play.

7. Go to an orchard- Eckerts has great free kid’s areas (picking fruit will cost you). There are other free orchards like Thies, Stuckmeyers, Hermans, Thierbach, and Braeutigams with outdoor playgrounds.

8. Science Center- Discovery room is awesome and it’s $5 for 45 mins of play (under 1 is free) plus a $3.50 service fee. 

9. Lone Elk Park/World Bird Sanctuary- WBS is a great place to let the kids run free. Due to Covid the WBS is no longer free, it's $8 per car)

10. Citygarden downtown- Beautiful park filled with sculptures, pop jets, and wading pools for the hot summer months.  

11. Purina Farms- Great place to take the kids to see animals and a dog show.

12. Contemporary Art Museum- Free stroller tours every month with a craft. Stroller Tours are designed for art lovers and their children 2 and under. Play Dates feature artist-led activities and interactive performances, recommended for ages 2 to 5. Check their calendar for dates.

13. Mastodon Park- Great place to walk around and learn about mastodons.

14. Elephant Rocks/ Johnson Shut-ins- a bit of a drive but a very cool place to explore. 

15. Mall play area- South county, West county, Chesterfield, Mid Rivers, and the Galleria

16. All libraries have story time and fun events, check their websites for dates and times. There are the following library systems in St. Louis: St. Louis Public Library (city), St. Louis County Library, St. Louis Municipal Library Consortium,  St. Charles Library, and Jefferson County Library

17. Fly a kite and/or picnic on Art Hill.

18. Kid-friendly restaurant- Hartford Coffee Co, McDonald's, or Chick-Fil-A, has kids' areas and toys for the kids.

19. Kangaroo Kids- Has an indoor play area for the kids and lots of great used clothing and baby gear, plus parenting events and playgroups.

20. Go play in a creek or play in a splash pad.

21. St. Louis Live Steamers has free train rides in Union Mo. They are currently building the new tracks and hope to be open in 2023. 

22. Ride bikes or go hiking at one of the many trails around town.

23. There are free children's concerts in Tower Grove Park every summer.

24. Jewish Community Center- both locations offer free open play. Check their calendars for current dates and times.

25. Tour the Old Courthouse downtown. Tours are 30-45 mins long. (Currently under construction)

26. Visit the National Great Rivers Museum in Alton. They give free tours of the loc and dam. Nearby is the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower (not free but very cool). Make a day trip to the area! Lots to do in Alton.

27. Start Geocaching! It's free, addicting, and a very fun thing to do with littles!

28. Go to a pet store and look at the animals.

29. Visit Suson Park to see the animals and play on the playground.

30. Many retail stores offer book readings and activities- Lego Store, Barnes & Noble, Novel Neighbor, Pottery Barn Kids, Betty's Books, Little Readers, etc. Check their websites for current dates and times. 

31. Tour the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate factory, Sammy Soaps, Vat19, Herbaria, or Billy Goat Chip Co. for an educational factory tour. 

32. Home Depot and Buchheit have free kids workshops where they build things for free but spots go fast. Must preregister online. 

33. The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles has a family fun day some Sundays- tons of free crafts for kids.

34. Skateboard at a skate park.

35. Visit a nature classroom.

36. Free monthly storytime called Tuesday Tails at the APA.

37. Willoughby Farm in Collinsville- Amazing place to visit, highly recommend!

38. The Prologue Room at Boeing- Free self-guided tours to the public during the summer months of June, July, and August from 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday. FREE It's in building 100 at the corner of McDonnell Blvd and Airport Rd, adjacent to Lambert airport.

39. Turtle Playground next to Forest Park.

40. Temple Tots at United Hebrew- Free playgroup open to all for kids under 5 during the school year. 

41. Children’s Garden Club- Free program put on by the St. Louis County Parks Dept. The Children’s Garden Club is designed to educate, as well as bring delight in gardening and horticulture with projects they start themselves and take home to continue to grow and enjoy. All meetings are at 9:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month (except July and September) – at different locations throughout St. Louis City and County.

42. Tour the Wildlife Rescue Center and see rescued animals and go on a nature hike to learn about the habitat the animals live in. Another option is the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic in High Ridge. 

43. Explore a new playground.

44. IKEA Småland- Free supervised children's play area. If your child is between 37" to 54" and potty trained, he or she is welcome to play in Småland for 60 minutes while you shop.

45. Ride a trolley! The St. Charles trolley is free.

46. Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union has free events several times a year where you can interact with the farm animals.

47. Go check out a Discovery Zone at the library. Currently, there are 3 libraries with these amazing free play areas, Daniel Boone Ellisville, Florissant Valley, and Meramec Valley Fenton (also deserving honorable mention is Thornhill in Maryland Heights and the Kirkwood library) 

48. The Minifig Shop- Lego resale shop in Kirkwood where you can play with bricks, or buy new or used Lego.

49. Visit Bigfoot, the original Monster Truck at the shop in Pacific.

50. Ride bikes at the Eureka Mountain Bike Park or at Kinetic Park which has the largest pump track in the nation. 

51. Check out the amazing Nature Playscape in Forest Park.

52. Frisco Train Store- Awesome store where the kids can play with train tables for free. But please donate or buy something to keep this wonderful store in business!

53. Shakespeare In the Park- Every summer in June in Forest Park by the Art Museum and Zoo in Shakespeare's Glen. 

54.Simple Positive Play- An indoor play space in Ferguson, and it's totally free! 



  Things that cost:


1. Meramec Caverns- They have a zip line, cave tours, canoes, riverboat tours, panning for gold, a restaurant, and more.

2. Wabash, Frisco, and Pacific Railway- $4 a person (under 3 free) - Cute little train that takes you on a scenic 30 min ride through Wildwood. 

3. Grant’s Farm- Technically free but parking is $15 a car

4. Butterfly House- Admission is FREE on the first Tues of every month from 9-11.

5. Botanical Garden- Their kid’s area is amazing, and it’s free to get in every Sat before noon. Otherwise $6 for adults, kids free under 12. The admission for the kid’s area is an additional $5 for nonmembers for kids 3-12. Also, the discovery room in the Climatron is amazing (Brookings Interpretive Center)

6. National Museum of Transportation - Their Creation Station is an hour of fun in a room filled with transportation-themed toys.

7. City Museum- Tons of things to do there, including enchanted caves and slides, a rooftop Ferris wheel, toddler town, skate park, tiny train railroad, and more. 

8. Bob Kramer’s Marionettes- They do a puppet show and show the kids how the puppets are made. 

9. Magic House- Lots to see and do here $12 a person age 1 and up.

10. Cahokia Mounds- Technically free but they ask for a $7 donation for adults and $2 for kids. Great museum to learn about the native people who used to live here. Closed for 2022 due to renovations. 

11. The Arch- The Gateway Arch National Park under the arch is free to wander around in, to go to the top costs. 

12. Tour the Compton Hill Water Tower- Views of the city are amazing, one of the very few water towers left in the country. It’s old though and there are lots of steps.

13. Paddleboats in Forest Park and have lunch at the boathouse.  They also have kayaks and canoes.

14. Raging Rivers water park in Grafton- Go after 3 pm and get a discount. There are 9 different water areas to enjoy including one for little guys.

15. Bowling- Lots of places are free during the summer, just rent the shoes.

16. COCA or Craft Alliance- They offer kids' classes and special events.

17. Kirkwood Discovery Room- In the Kirkwood Early Childcare center, they have open play for $5 for the first child, $3 for each additional child, and it is so worth it. They have every toy under the sun plus sensory bins and craft time. For kids birth to age 5. Run by parents as teachers, they only take checks, no cash or credit cards. (Currently closed due to Covid)

18. Open gym- So many places in town have open gyms including Hi NRG, Little Gym, Miss Kelly's, Olympia, Barron, Team Central, YMCA, Gymstars, All American,  St. Louis Gym Center, and some rec centers. A great way for little ones to burn energy!

19. Myseum- Part magic house, part science center in Town & Country. It’s big with lots to do including a huge slide where you can clock your speed, dig for dinosaur bones, and more. No time limit is a bonus.

20. Ride the Carousel in Faust Park- $2, kids under 1 are free. Faust Park has a historic village that is great for photo ops, and a great playground. Sometimes they have ride and play for $8 which gets you unlimited rides and the toy room for 2 hrs. Check their schedule for dates and times.

21. Incredible Pizza Co/Chuck E Cheese- Lots of games and food here. Like Dave and Busters but on a smaller scale. For older children, there are laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars and glow mini-golf, mini-bowling, and various other arcade-type games.

22. Movies- Several theatres offer free or cheap kids' movies and don’t frown on the kids being loud.  The different chains are AMC, Marcus Theatres, B & B Theatres, and Regal Entertainment Group.

23. Six Flags- Not cheap but they have a toddler area and includes admission to Hurricane Harbor.

24. Dream Play Recreation- A swingset store that has 12 huge swingsets for the kids to play on and trampolines and basketball. (Rainbow Swingset superstore was the same thing but is out of business) (Currently closed due to Covid)

25. Bounce places- Monkey Joes, and BounceU

26. Go to tot time or swimming at a pool, it's usually cheap for kids under 5 to play in the baby area. Indoor pools in the winter are great too!

27. Airplane museum in Maryland Heights at Creve Coeur Airport.

28. The Sports Academy in Glen Carbon- has a great indoor playhouse for $4.

29. Playtime Party Center in Wentzville- Family fun center with fun for everyone.

30. Check out Ballpark Village, where you can visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, or partake of several different dining and entertainment experiences.

31. Big Joel's Safari in Wright City- it's worth the drive! My kids love feeding all the animals. You can get a lot closer to them than you can at the zoo. There's also Critter Lane down south in Valles Mines, MO. Both are almost identical.

32. Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum- Cahokia, IL

33. Swing-A-Round Fun Town- bumper boats, indoor playground, mini-golf, arcade, and more! St. Charles and Fenton locations.

34. Tour Busch Stadium. Adults $20, kids $16, and 3 and under are free. Not including parking.

35. Take a riverboat cruise. The Becky Thatcher and the Tom Sawyer give one-hour sightseeing cruises daily. Prices change by the day but they're roughly adults $20, kids $10, under 3 free. Check their calendar for exact daily rates.

36. The Endangered Wolf Center offers tours and messy playdates. Check with them for schedules/fees.

37. Take a cooking class with the kids- Dierbergs, Eckerts, Kitchen Conservatory, ABC chefs, L'ecole Culinaire, Sweetology, and more.

38. Go to a model train show http://mvns.railfan.net/othersho.htm

39. We Rock The Spectrum inclusive indoor gym.

40. Upper Limits- Indoor rock climbing.

41. Go Ape! Zipline and treetop adventure.

42. Roller Skating/ice skating is fun for school-aged kids.

43. Amp Up Action Park- Go-karts, upper ropes course, laser tag, virtual reality, and more.

44. Kokomo Joe's in St. Peters. Indoor party center with various activities and a game room.

45. The Pointe Activity Center has a sportwall system, dance dance revolution, Wii, and a climbing wall. 

46. Sky Zone indoor trampoline park.

47. Edwardsville Childen's Museum.- Adorable place for kids 8 and under to play!

48. Dave & Buster's- Huge arcade with restaurant

49. Rockin' Jump- indoor trampoline park

50. Edison's Entertainment Complex- family fun center in Belleville, IL

51. HealthWorks Kids' Museum- Unique museum dedicated to health and the human body.

52. Victory Raceway indoor go-cart raceway.

53. Paint Ball

54. Go get a sweet treat! Whether it's custard, ice cream, cupcakes, snow cones, or donuts, there are plenty of places in town to sample.

55. Escape the room

56. Kindermusik or any music class

57. Play Mini Golf.

58. The Neutral Zone arcade in Chesterfield Mall.

59. Check out a family fun center.

60. Riverside Wildlife Center- Located in Stanton, MO- Riverside is a popular destination for families and school children. It's a business dedicated to educating people about animals of all kinds. They have lions, tigers, gators, and lots more. Located nearby is the Wild Animal Adventure Park

61. Shaw Nature Reserve- The cost is $5 and their outdoor classroom is amazing.

62. Chess Hall of Fame- has toddler time every Tues (currently on hold).

63. Defy (formerly Flying Spider)- indoor trampoline park.

64. St. Louis Symphony - The family concerts are a great activity for kids and they can experience different instruments at the instrument playground.

65. St. Louis National Blues Museum- a non-profit organization that explores the Blues and celebrates the genre as the foundation of all modern American music.

66. Circus Flora every June in Grand Center.

67. Adrenaline Zone/ Demolition Ball- indoor complex with a laser tag arena, hockey-style bumper car games & a neon-lit snack bar.

68. Challenger Learning Center- Provides simulated space missions, science education, and team-building programs. Programs are available for students, educators, corporations, scouts, community groups, and the general public.

69. Sweet & Sassy in West County Mall- Salon that also has fun events.

70. Paint pottery at one of the many places in town.

71. Michael's offers inexpensive craft classes or buy supplies and craft at home.

72. Snow skiing, boarding, tubing, or zip-lining at Hidden Valley.

73. Grandma's Playroom- Wonderful playspace for toddlers. Best for kids under 8. 

74. Urban Fort - Perfect place for kids under 8.

75. Cactus Pete's in Imperial- smaller family fun center with laser tag, bounce house, and arcade.

76. Ultimate Ninjas- Gym in Chesterfield that has open play, camps, classes, and parties.

77. Urban Air- Indoor adventure park with trampolines, playground, bumper cars, ropes, ninja course, and more.

78. Play Street Museum- Very cute play place for kids 8 and under, with open play during the week, as well as parties and special events on the weekends.

79. Knockerball Smash- Bubble soccer in Chesterfield Mall for ages 3 and up.

80. Altitude Indoor trampoline park- Standard trampoline park- others include Defy (Flying Spider), Sky Zone, Rockin' Jump, and Urban Air

81. Gentle Barn- Located in Dittmer this barn wants to teach people kindness and compassion to animals, each other, and our planet.

82. Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary- You can see tigers at this animal rescue located in Ste. Genevieve MO.

83. Mauhaus Cat Cafe- You can relax and pet cats here, get some coffee or light snacks as well. Reservations are requested. $10/adult, $5 age 12 and under- no more than 2 children per adult. Other cat cafes include Whisker Station, Cheshire Grin, and Cat Heaven Cafe.

84. Made- the Magic House's satellite location is a kid-focused maker space in the heart of the City of St. Louis, children ages 6 to 14 will have a truly unique experience as they become makers, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs.

85. See a movie at the only drive-in left in the area- Skyview Drive-In

86. Faimount Park- Located in Collinsville IL they have races every 20 mins and the bets are cheap, as are the food and drinks. Plus they serve cheap alcohol. Kids will love picking horses and watching the races.

87. Adventure Loft in Columbia IL- In the Power Haus complex. Children ages 1 through 5 will bounce, climb, ride and slide and play in a space designed just for them, no big kids allowed! Visit us Thursday through Sunday, relax have a cup of coffee on the house, and watch your little ones have the time of their life.

88. Tour the AB Brewery.

89. See a show at the MUNY, America's largest and oldest outdoor amphitheater (summer only).

90. Visit the Aquarium and the other attractions at Union Station (carousel, mini-golf, mirror maze, the Wheel, and ropes course).

91. The Selfie Room or Selfie WRLD STL- Come here if you want to get a lot of cool photos with fun, whimsical backdrops. 

92. Pinspiration- Get messy and craft here. 

93. Main Event- Family fun center with activities including laser tag, bowling, VR, mini-golf, gravity ropes, escape rooms, and more. 

94. Ryze Adventure Park- 4-story outdoor obstacle course and mini-golf course. 

95. 9 Mile Garden- Go grab some food and let the kids run wild on the astroturf. They frequently have holiday events, movie nights, and concerts as well. 

96. Build-A-Bear Adventure- Introducing Build-A-Bear Adventure: our newest concept is the ultimate party destination in the St. Louis area! This all-new event space includes a Workshop, Bakeshop, Fun Zone arcade room in addition to both private party experiences and exciting group events.

97. Blossom Play Cafe- Blossom Play Cafe was created to foster community among young families while providing outlets of creative play. It is a unique combination of a coffeehouse for parents, a state-of-the-art imaginative play area for young children & a premier party venue.

98. Long Row Lavender Farm- family-operated lavender farm, gift shop, and café in Wright City.

99. Daniel Boone's Home- Located in Defiance, this historic home offers many events and tours and brings the 1800s to life. 

100. Enchanted Playroom- new indoor play place in O'Fallon

101. Pirate Pete's- new playroom in Pevely


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