St. Louis has plenty of places to explore with kids. From indoor museums to outdoor parks, you can easily fill a wonderful weekend as a family in this vibrant city in Missouri.

    St. Louis has some of the most exciting attractions for kids in the country, with museums offering both fun and educational displays. There's also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, from petting animals to exploring nature. There's no shortage of things to do in St. Louis for the whole family as you'll see below.

    1

    The Gateway Arch

    Ride the tram to the top of the city’s most iconic attraction

    • Families
    • History
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    The Gateway Arch is a 630-ft monument in the middle of downtown St. Louis, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The huge steel arch is iconic, holding the record for being the tallest manmade monument in the western hemisphere.

    The arch offers several activities that will thrill the kids. You'll find an interactive museum that traces a 200-year history across 6 exhibitions. Perhaps the most exciting activity, however, is the tram ride that takes you to the top of the arch. The views across the city from 63 storeys high are breathtaking. It’s a good idea to pre-book your tickets for the tram online, as it can be sold out in advance on busy days.

    Location: 11 N 4th St #1810, St. Louis, MO 63102, USA

    Open: May–September: daily from 8am to 10pm. November–April: daily from 9am to 6pm

    Phone: +1 877-982-1410

    Map
    2

    Citygarden Sculpture Park

    A great place to relax with the whole family

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    Citygarden Sculpture Park is a green space in the middle of downtown St. Louis. From interactive art displays to perfectly manicured gardens and fountains, it's a beautiful oasis to enjoy a break from exploring the city's attractions.

    On hot days, it’s especially popular with children, as the shallow pools and waterfalls are safe to splash around and cool off in. You’ll also find several food trucks offering snacks and drinks, so you can have a picnic while the kids play.

    Location: 801 Market St, St. Louis, MO 63101, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 314-241-3337

    Map

    photo by Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    St. Louis Aquarium

    Explore the underwater world’s beautiful creatures

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    The St. Louis Aquarium occupies the former mall area of St. Louis Union Station. You can take a journey through the underwater world that the kids will love at this extensive museum. From freshwater rivers to the depths of the ocean, you can explore more than 13,000 animals from alligator snapping turtles to zebra sharks.

    The walkways are surrounded by glass enclosures, where the whole family can gaze at the different animals swimming in all directions. There are also guided tours available if you want to have a more personalised experience.

    Location: 201 S 18th St, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm, Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 314-923-3900

    Map

    photo by Retrodells (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    The St. Louis Wheel

    Get an incredible panorama of the city

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    The St. Louis Wheel is a 200-ft-tall observation Ferris wheel just outside the Union Station complex. It's a relatively modern addition to the St. Louis city skyline. The landmark is especially popular at night and around sunset, so line up early to ensure you get a seat at the right time.

    The Ferris wheel is perfectly safe for the whole family, with 42 fully enclosed and climate-controlled compartments, which can be enjoyed year-round. A standard ride includes 3 to 4 rotations within 15 minutes, allowing you to slowly take in the view of the whole city.

    Location: 201 S 18th St, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 314-923-3960

    Map

    photo by Retrodells (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    Saint Louis Science Center

    Make science fun with a day at this interactive museum

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    The Saint Louis Science Center is an interactive learning centre just outside Forest Park, west of St. Louis city centre. The complex makes science fun for people of all ages, with more than 700 impressive exhibits.

    Kids will enjoy most of the displays, which cover everything from dinosaurs to aviation to the environment. However, The Discovery Room is curated especially for kids aged 1 to 8. General admission is free, which covers a wide variety of exhibitions, with only certain special displays and the IMAX theatre being ticketed.

    Location: 5050 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 4.30 pm (open until 5.30 pm in summer)

    Phone: +1 314-289-4400

    Map

    photo by AfricanGeo (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Missouri Botanical Garden

    An expansive garden with attractions for the whole family

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    The Missouri Botanical Garden is a 79-acre park southwest of downtown St. Louis. It's unsurprisingly one of the best places to take the whole family in the city, with numerous gardens and areas to explore.

    The Children's Garden is a 2-acre area with kid-sized buildings, a wetland, treehouse, caves and more. Another popular part of the garden is the Climatron, a geodesic dome conservatory with an indoor tropical rainforest. There’s an admission fee for adults but children 12 and younger can get in free.

    Location: 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 314-577-5100

    Map
    7

    The Magic House

    Plan a day trip to this children's museum in Kirkwood

    • Families

    The Magic House is a children’s museum and educational centre located 15 miles west of St. Louis city centre. Often ranked as one of the best attractions for children in the USA, it’s a must-visit on any family trip to the city.

    There are hundreds of hands-on exhibitions for pre-schoolers up to teens. It’s a truly educational experience with diverse activities such as fixing cars, climbing treehouses, playing musical instruments, and testing gravity. Active kids might enjoy the Jack and the Beanstalk Climber, which lets them climb up and down 3 full floors.

    Location: 516 S Kirkwood Rd, St. Louis, MO 63122, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 11 am to 5.30 pm, Friday from 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +1 314-822-8900

    Map
    8

    Grant’s Farm

    Tour this historical farm and its exotic animals

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    Grant’s Farm is the 281-acre ancestral home of the Busch family. It operates as a petting farm in the summer months and for special events such as Halloween and the winter festival. Each visit begins with a narrated tram ride for 15 minutes to the middle of the property.

    The farm is home to more than 900 animals and there are various enclosures where you can view elephants, kangaroos, lemurs, and camels. Kids particularly enjoy the feeding and petting stalls with baby goats. Basic admission is free but extra activities are ticketed.

    Location: 10501 Gravois Rd, St. Louis, MO 63123, USA

    Open: Summer: Saturday–Thursday from 9 am to 5.30 pm, Friday from 9 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 314-577-2626

    Map

    photo by Katherine Johnson (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    Myseum

    Let your kids have all the fun at this interactive science museum

    • Families

    Myseum is an interactive science centre for children situated around 20 miles west of St. Louis. The complex is excellent for kids under 12 years old, offering more than 30 diverse exhibitions.

    It's a museum and fun indoor playground, with educational exhibits on archaeology and physics, as well as jumping castles and slides. There are designated areas for toddlers and older kids to keep them all entertained. Myseum is a popular place to host kids’ birthday parties. It’s often crowded on weekends, so plan your visit in advance.

    Location: 283 Lamp and Lantern Village, Town and Country, MO 63017, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 10 am to 5.30 pm, Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +1 636-220-7930

    Map
    10

    Six Flags St. Louis

    A thrilling day out for the whole family

    • Families

    Six Flags St. Louis is a huge amusement park just a half-hour’s drive west of downtown St. Louis. This vast complex makes for a great day out for the family, with high-speed roller coasters, kids rides, and water slides.

    It’s most well-known for its 9 rollercoasters, which spans a total of 22,700 ft of tracks. If you have little kids in tow, then you can head for Bugs Bunny National Park, a section with designated rides for kids. The waterpark section is most popular in the summer, offering everything from gentle rafting adventures to high-speed slides.

    Location: 4900 Six Flags Rd, Eureka, MO 63025, USA

    Phone: +1 636-938-5300

    Map

    photo by Jeremy Thompson (CC BY 2.0) modified

    11

    City Museum

    Play and wander through this interactive art playground

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    • History
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    City Museum is a repurposed century-old shoelace warehouse – part playground, part art project – located a few blocks north of Union Station. Local artists have repurposed old industrial pieces to build an indoor 'theme park' of sorts, with miles of bridges, tunnels, aeroplanes, and castles for all ages to explore.

    The museum is a never-ending web of hallways, so make sure to agree on a meeting place ahead of time. Highlights include the exhilarating 10-storey spiral slide, the spooky Museum Caves, and the towering outdoor castle turrets. 

    Location: 750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm, Friday–Saturday from 9 am to 12 am, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 314-231-2489

    Map

    photo by Jon DeJong (CC BY 2.0) modified

    12

    Forest Park

    Spend a day exploring one of the nation’s great urban parks

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    • Couples
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    Forest Park is an excellent escape from the bustling city life, situated 20-minutes west of downtown St. Louis. The 1,300-acre park is the beating heart of the city, housing a multitude of museums, a zoo, a golf course, an outdoor amphitheatre, and miles of walking paths.

    Take a stroll through the park to admire the art-deco designed Jewel Box and the scenic Pagoda Lake. It’s a good idea to pack a picnic, as you can lounge on Art Hill before making your way to the St. Louis Art Museum, where you can check out a constant rotation of internationally recognised exhibits. For some family fun, you can check out life on the African savannah with lions and zebras at the St Louis Zoo, which is home to over 19,000 wild animals. The park is open year-round – sledging is a popular pastime during winter.

    Location: 5595 Grand Dr, St. Louis, MO 63112, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 314-367-7275

    Map
    Elisha Donkin | Contributing Writer

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