Summer vacation in St. Louis can mean a lot of hot, humid, lazy days. But it also means fun in the sun, eating funnel cakes and drinking ice-cold slurpees at your favorite outdoor attractions. Here are the ones your kids hope you’ll put on the agenda.
Saint Louis Zoo
One Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
If you haven’t been to the zoo recently, you haven’t been to the zoo. So much has been added, expanded and updated in the past few years. Admission is still free, although an increasing number of specific exhibits now have an admission fee. Don’t miss the new baby elephant at the River’s Edge, or the play areas and fountains inside the Children’s Zoo. TIP: Come to the zoo when it first opens and head to the Children’s Zoo first. Children’s Zoo admission, normally $4 per person for everyone over the age of two, is free during the first hour the Zoo is open. Once inside, you can enjoy the exhibits as long as you like.
St. Louis, MO 63123
Grant’s Farm is one of the Lou’s most universally loved spaces. The ancestral home of the Bush Family and farmed at one time by Ulysses S. Grant, this historic location is now a giant petting zoo and menagerie. Everyone who grew up in St. Louis remembers petting and feeding the baby goats and seeing the glorious Clydesdale horses up close for the first time. You can also see the Grant Cabin, which he built mostly with his own hands, sample Anheuser Busch products in the Bauernhof or take in an elephant show or other animal encounter.
148 Taum Sauk Trail
Middle Brook, MO 63650
Another shared favorite memory of most St. Louis kids is spending a day at nature’s waterpark, Johnson’s Shut-Ins. The rock formations in this state park provide waterfalls, pools and other wet play places. Bring a cooler with plenty of water and snacks, water shoes for everyone and life rafts for the younger set. You can camp, swim, ride horses, hike or picnic on the grounds. Dogs are allowed in the park, but not in the shut-ins themselves. If you’re interested in backpacking or hiking, stop by Taum Sauk Mountain on your way down. Taum Sauk is the highest peak in the state of Missouri.
Related: Top Circus Experiences In St. Louis
Six Flags St. Louis
4900 Six Flags Road
Eureka, MO 63025
(636) 938-5300 x397
Want to get your kids really excited? Offer them a day at Six Flags! The park offers rides, shows, games, concerts and a full waterpark just an hour outside the city. Keep your eyes open for discounts and coupons. Local grocery chains, soft drink cans, radio stations and newspapers frequently offer deals on admission. The Boomerang is this year’s sizzling new ride. It’s an orange and green steel coaster with corkscrews, two half-loops and a full loop. The Boomerang is the ninth coaster in the park.
100 Palisades Parkway
Grafton, IL 62037
When the summer sun is beating down and that sprinkler in the front yard is no longer doing the trick, it’s time for a waterpark. Raging Rivers, located on the scenic riverbluff road just outside Grafton, IL, is the place to cool off. Wave pools, waterslides, river floats and waterplay areas will keep the whole family cool and busy.
Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.