Soak up the vibrant city of St. Louis, Missouri. Situated along the Mississippi River, the city blends its rich history with modern, bustling city attractions, including world-class museums, awe-inspiring sculptures, and even spectacular natural spaces. Book a stay at one of many unforgettable St. Louis vacation rentals today. At St. Louis, you and your family can easily stay close to all the action, making it easy to immerse yourselves in this energetic city. Here are the top 11 kid-friendly things to do in St. Louis.
1. Visit the Zoo
With over 17,000 animals calling it home, the St. Louis Zoo is the perfect family destination. You’ll see black rhinos, hippos, elephants, chimpanzees, big cats, giraffes, zebras, and more at this zoo. General admission is free, although you do pay for parking unless you find a free spot on the street. Buy an Adventure Pass for each family member for access to the children’s zoo, train, carousel, 4D theater, sea lion show, and Stingrays at Caribbean Cove. The zoo sits in the popular and expansive Forest Park along with other attractions, including the Missouri History Museum, the Science Center, the St. Louis Art Museum, and a floral conservatory called the Jewel Box.
2. Explore City Museum
City Museum immerses visitors of all ages into a magical world that’s difficult to describe. The former shoe factory now houses massive slides, huge climbing structures, and other one-of-a-kind exhibits inside and on the building. The museum features nets that surround tunnels, slides, and climbing structures that connect things like an airplane and school bus. St. Louis is also home to other children’s museums that let kids engage with hands-on exhibits. If time allows, check out Magic House and Museum for more kid-friendly fun.
3. Go to the Top of the Arch
Gateway Arch dominates the St. Louis skyline, a symbol of westward expansion. Watch your kids’ eyes widen as you walk up to the arch. If your kids don’t mind heights or tight spaces, ride one of eight elevators to the top of the 625-foot-high stainless steel arch. Seeing St. Louis from the observation platform gives kids a birds-eye view of the city, and you might even see your vacation rental from the arch.
4. See Clydesdales
Leave the city behind for a few hours, and visit Grant’s Farm. Built by Ulysses S. Grant, the farm is now owned by the Busch family of Anheuser-Busch fame. The 300-acre farm serves as home to several animals, including the famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale horses. Feed animals in the petting zoo, watch animal shows and ride the carousel. A free tram carries you through the animal exhibit. Other options include camel rides, pony rides, and paddle boat rides.
5. Experience Thrill Rides
Six Flags delivers a day full of rides, shows, and attractions for all ages. Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy several gentle kids’ rides and family rides, such as the log flume, antique cars, and train. Older kids satisfy their craving for thrills on the many roller coasters. Cool off in the water park area, featuring a lazy river, kiddie area, tube slides, and speed slides.
6. Explore Transportation
Explore various modes of travel at the Museum of Transportation. The museum features an extensive collection of train cars. You can also see historic cars and other unique vehicles. Ride on a historic trolley that operates on tracks, or take a ride on the mini train. The handcar village is an ideal spot for younger kids, as they’ll enjoy moving the mini cars around with their hands.
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7. Wander Citygarden
Citygarden offers nature in the middle of the city, thanks to its beautiful outdoor art pieces dotting the lawn. The green space features several sprayers where kids can splash around and play. Unlike many art exhibits where touching is strictly prohibited, the Citygarden artwork is available to visitors touch and even climb on. Younger and older kids can find sculptures and areas of Citygarden to enjoy.
8. Take in a Game
Grab tickets to a Cardinals game if you visit St. Louis during baseball season. You can take a tour of the stadium, even if there isn’t a game that day. The beautiful stadium views capture the St. Louis skyline, including the Arch. If your family loves the team, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. Seven galleries cover the team’s history, offering lots of memorabilia for visitors to view. Interactive exhibits include a broadcast booth, where you get to call the game and a chance to hold an authentic Cardinals bat.
9. See Exotic Butterflies
The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House at the Missouri Botanical Garden houses beautiful butterflies and plants from around the world inside a gorgeous glass conservatory. Kids enjoy spotting the colorful butterflies. Outdoor butterfly gardens enhance the fun in warmer months. Climb on the 30-foot caterpillar sculpture, or snap a photo in from of the 28-foot butterfly sculpture.
10. Visit an Animal Sanctuary
View wildlife up close at one of several animal sanctuaries in the St. Louis area. The Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka offers one-hour and two-hour tours that feature the different types of wolves that call the sanctuary home. If you prefer feathered animals, stop at the World Bird Sanctuary. You can also see reptiles at the facility. Another option is Lone Elk Park, a drive-through park featuring bison, elk, deer, and other animals.
11. Check Out Historic Sites
Experience a piece of history at the Old Courthouse, the sight of key historical trials, such as the Dred Scott case. In addition to the beauty of the domed building itself, the courthouse features historical exhibits ideal for older kids. Learn more about the city with a stop at the Missouri History Museum. On some days, the museum features story time and crafts for younger kids.
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