When St. Louis’ humidity soars and the kids are tired of staying inside just for the air conditioning, it’s time for a little day trip. The city’s best spots to spend a summer day promise everything from stunning views the sparkling waters of the river from the arch to wet and wild fun at Raging Rivers. Pack up the mini van and hit the road for the best summer fun this side of the Mississippi.
Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center
5595 Grand Drive
St. Louis, MO 63112-1095
Price: free picnics, hiking, rollerblading, biking, handball and racquetball/Click here for boat rental prices
Located in midtown St. Louis, Forest Park offers 1,293 acres of summer fun. The park is simple to find: It is bordered by Lindell Boulevard, Kingshighway, Skinker and Oakland. It offers two golf courses, tennis, racquetball and handball courts, boat rentals, fishing in most of the lakes and lagoons, athletic fields, nature walks, ample areas for cycling and rollerblading, and picnic areas.
Saint Louis Zoo
One Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 781-0900/(800) 966-8877
Price: $15 parking/Click here for prices
Saint Louis Zoo is located within Forest Park, and is home to more than 19,000 animals. Zoo visitors may wander through the hilly landscape or board the Zooline Railroad to see animals in top-notch wildlife facilities. Big Cat Country features lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars in a red rock setting complete with waterfalls and caves. Be sure to stop by the bird sanctuary, reptile house, bear bluffs, and primate house for a full day of fun. Children may visit with baby animals and ride the carousel as well.
100 Palisades Pkwy.
Grafton, IL 62037
Price: $5 parking/Click here for prices
Raging Rivers Water Park is nestled in the bluffs along the Mississippi River on the Great River Road. From the wave pool, toddler area and Tree House harbor, you can see the Mississippi rolling by. Raging Rivers features four awesome slides, including the Body Flume that starts high on the bluff and speeds downward. The water park is a full-service facility, with three cafés offering burgers and hotdogs, tacos and nachos, and brats and beer.
10501 Gravois Road
St. Louis, MO 63123
Price: $12 per vehicle/$30 for buses/$40 for a season parking pass/free admission and tram rides
Grants Farm is located on 281 acres in south St. Louis County. Families will find Deere Park, the Tier Garten, Grant’s Cabin, Clydesdale stables and the Bauernhof all in one gorgeous location. Deere Park contains more than 100 species of animals, including North American bison, European black buck antelope, Asian red deer and zebra. The Tier Garten encourages kids to visit with animals, hosting shows that will please the whole family. The Clydesdale Stables offer families the opportunity to get up close with these huge and graceful horses. Families may tour the restored Grant’s Cabin, former home of President Ulysses S. Grant, or relax at the Bauernhof with complimentary beer for those 21 and older.
Walnut Street and South Memorial Drive
St. Louis, MO 63102
Click here for prices
St. Louis Gateway Arch is an amazing adventure for families. Located within the Jefferson National Memorial Expansion Park overlooking the Mississippi River, reaching the top of this famous arch in a tiny pod is a memory kids’ll keep for a lifetime. Taking the journey to the top of the Gateway Arch, visitors are 630 feet above St. Louis with a 30-mile breathtaking view of St. Louis and St. Louis County. At the top, families learn the history of the St. Louis and the building of the Arch.
Pennee Struckman is an accounting professional in St Louis, MO. She currently writes for Examiner.com on topics related to parenting teenagers and living well on a budget in St. Louis. She is also a professional financial management writer with articles and white papers published by a well-known information firm. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.