Hey guys! The boys had a few extra days off from school over President’s Day weekend, so we took full advantage and headed to St. Louis for an extended weekend trip! Shockingly, I have not been to St. Louis since I had kids, so that’s at least 10 years ago. I have been hearing so many great things about how many kid-friendly attractions there are, so we headed out to see what we could accomplish, despite the freezing cold temps!
We stayed at the Drury Inn & Suites in Forest Park, and it was the perfect location! Centrally located to everything we wanted to do. It’s minutes away from the St. Louis Zoo and the Science Center, and only about a 12 minute drive to downtown. Drury also has several hotel locations in the St. Louis area including downtown (right next to the Gateway Arch) and Union Station. Save 15% on your next Drury reservation with code: HAPPY
The Drury is a great family-friendly place to stay because they offer FREE breakfast, which includes a buffet full of choices like biscuits and gravy, homemade waffles, pastries, and more! They also offer a FREE 5:30 Kickback where they serve snacks like nachos, hot dogs, salad, and other hot food such as meatballs, pasta, chili etc. And the best part about the 5:30 kickback is each adult gets 3 FREE adult beverages! That’s wine, beer, and cocktails! Heck yes.
In addition to all of that, they serve FREE popcorn and sodas every afternoon. My kids were in HEAVEN! Beckham actually started crying our last night there because he was going to miss the breakfast so much!
Our first stop was the City Museum, which was like no other museum I have ever been to. The entire thing is created out of recycled materials and it was very interesting how they incorporated so many eclectic pieces.
If I had to choose one way to describe the majority of what the City Museum has to offer it would be crawling through caves and using your children! ha! There were TONS of tunnels, caves, slides, etc. Oh, and stairs. Lots of stairs, especially if you want to slide down the 5 or 10 story slide!
My kids enjoyed the museum, but we didn’t spend near as much time there as I anticipated. The temperature was in the single digits that day, so the outdoor area was closed. It looked like a lot of fun and would probably have doubled our play time there had we come on a warmer day.
St. Louis Science Center
Kansas Citians, if you have a Union Station membership, you can get discounts/free parking at the St. Louis Science Center. Check participating museums HERE. Admission to the Science Center is free, but a few of the attractions require a ticket. You can check for discounts on attractions HERE.
We spent a couple of hours exploring thinks like dinosaurs, electricity, and gravity, among others. My kids love this kind of stuff, so they had no problem finding exhibits they were interested in.
One of the unique things we enjoyed was the Mind Ball game. The headband reads your brainwaves and makes the ball move towards the person who is the most relaxed.
I always tell Chase to take deep breaths when he gets upset…he took deep breaths while doing this game and he won!
My kids also spent quite a lot of time playing with these balls that are maneuvered by air hoses. Exhibits like this that are really engaging for my boys inspire me to create something similar at home, but then it would probably collect dust! ha!
I initially thought the Magic House, located in Kirkwood, might be a little too juvenile for my boys, especially Chase (10), but they ended up having a great time and found plenty to keep them occupied!
We ended up staying there for 4 hours and only left because everyone was starving!
There was SO much to do there, but none of it has to do with “magic”. Not knowing much about the Magic House prior to arriving, we all assumed it would be centered around magic tricks and illusions but it’s really just a giant play center for kids with tons of great educational, STEM, and real life play experiences. You can get a BOGO 1/2 off discount HERE.
The recently renovated Union Station is definitely worth the trip! They have several fun attractions and also an old fashioned soda fountain restaurant with the most delicious looking drinks and milkshakes!
Each attraction is sold a la carte, or you can purchase a Super Six Ticket which allows admission into all six attractions. These include the Ferris Wheel, Mirror Maze, Ropes Course, Aquarium, Miniature Golf, and Carousel. Definitely purchase your tickets online to ensure you get a reserved time at the aquarium, because those tickets sell out quickly.
The Mirror maze is great for all ages. Once we finished, both of my boys wanted to immediately do it again.
The ropes course was surprisingly fun for all of us too! I knew Chase (10) would love it, but I wasn’t so sure about Beckham (5). There is a mini course for children under 48″, or small kiddos can go on the big course with an adult.
With multiple levels, countless rope creations, and 2 zip lines we were definitely entertained for the full 30 minute time allowance.
Union Station also offers a Fire and Ice show, which you can view for free every half hour from 5-9pm. They also offer a free 3D light show in the Grand Hall (which is beautiful by the way).
The Aquarium Conservation and Education Center is also free. The kids had fun coloring a fish and then scanning it and watching it swim across the screen!
Visiting the iconic Arch and taking a ride to the top were both on my St Louis trip bucket list. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Missouri for this long and I’ve never been to the Arch! Well, I got to check it off my list!
Having not ever been to the Arch, I was just expecting an elevator type of ride to the top, but there was an entire museum at the base of the Arch that you can view for free! You do need to purchase a ticket to ride to the top of the Arch (I’d recommend purchasing online because they sell out).
Claustrophobics beware because you have to climb though a small door to sit inside a 5 seater pod, which then gets pulled up a tram system to the top (it’s about a 4 minute ride).
At the top, there are lots of people waiting to see the view from these tiny windows. Then, when you have had your fill, you climb back into the tiny pod and head back down. It was a cool experience, but my claustrophobic/acrophobic husband wasn’t a huge fan! ha!
At the top of the Arch, you are 630 feet in the air. Beckham said the people down below us looked like walking candy dots. You can check for discounted tickets HERE.
St. Louis Zoo
Admission to the zoo is free, so if you have the chance you should definitely check it out, even if it’s just a short time. The layout of the zoo is really great because it’s not too spread out for little legs to walk, but you still get to see so many different animals.
It was a little drizzly the day we went, but we were still able to see the majority of the animals.
Although admission is free, there are some exhibits and shows that have a fee. It pays to be an early bird at the STL Zoo because you can get free admission to the children’s petting zoo, carousel, and Stingray Cove during the first hour the zoo is open!
St. Louis has so many great restaurants, so I hesitated even writing about where we ate because I am sure there are so many other amazing places. But, I can just share what we were able to cram into our long weekend along with other recommendations we didn’t have time for.
In Forest Park (where the Drury, Zoo, Art and History Museums are located) you can get some amazing authentic Italian food on the Hill. Zia’s was recommended for families with kids. We ate at Bartolino’s Osteria, which is connected to the Drury and it was delish! We also ate at The Boathouse, and while the atmosphere was really cool because it sits on a lake, so the patio is waterside, the food was lacking. I believe you can rent paddle boats and canoes and even feed the fish too…so this seems like a fun place for warmer weather. We went for dinner in the winter, so we didn’t attempt any of these. We also hit up the famous Ted Drew’s for frozen custard and it did not disappoint, even though it was freezing outside!
In Kirkwood (where The Magic House is located), we ate at Billy G’s and I would go back there in a heartbeat! We ate a late lunch, arriving at the restaurant at 2:45 on a Sunday afternoon and the place was PACKED. The menu was large with a ton of variety, including macro friendly options, and the pizza looked heavenly. Kirkwood is such a cute, walkable town with shops and restaurants to explore if you have the time. There’s a Sugar Shack next to Billy G’s and a Frozen Custard hut across the street.
Other recommendations in Kirkwood include: Dewey’s Pizza (where you can watch the chefs toss the dough and assemble the pizzas), The Mellow Mushroom, and Amigos.
If you explore St. Louis and use any of these suggestions, be sure to tag me on social media! I’d love to see how your family likes STL!