Here are the top best Things to do in st louis with kids voted by users and compiled by us, invite you to learn together
As beautiful as the Gateway Arch is, there are so many great family activities in St Louis. We stopped through on our east coast road trip, and I am so glad we took a few days to explore the city rather than just seeing the arch. There are so many different things to do in St. Louis for kids that are perfect for whoever you are traveling with.
Best Family Activities in St Louis
1. Watch the St. Louis Cardinals
During the summer be sure to head to the Busch Stadium to watch the St. Louis Cardinals. The season usually runs from April through the end of September. It is a great opportunity to watch some professional baseball and relax while watching the game.
We always enjoy our time at the baseball stadium.
2. Gateway Arch
From wherever you are driving in the city, you will be on lookout for the Gateway Arch National Park. The 630-foot tower is a beautiful part of the city’s skyline. It is the tallest monument in the United States and the biggest archway in the world. It is the smallest national park in the country.
I did not realize the arch was a relatively new monument -the arch finished construction in the 1960s. The tram ride to the top of the arch was closed when we visited but we can imagine the views from the top are amazing. The cost is $15 to $19 for adults and $11 to $14 for kids.
There is also a great museum with lots of interactive exhibits. The museum shows the history of Missouri and how the Arch was built. There is a $3 entrance fee but that is waived if you have an America the Beautiful Pass. There are also Ranger-guided tours available at the Gateway Arch National Park.
Your kids can also earn a junior ranger badge here. My kids get so excited when they get to earn a new badge. We try to participate in the program at each national park we visit. The Arch Junior Ranger Program is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of St. Louis, the Arch itself, and the native people in this area.
Hopefully we will be back to visit St Louis and we can ride to the top. We had a lot of fun exploring the grounds of the St. Louis Arch.
3. Six Flags St. Louis
We love visiting theme parks around the country and the Six Flags parks do not disappoint. We loved the Six Flags in Tampa so we could not wait to get back to another one..
Six Flags St. Louis is home to the Screamin’ Eagle which was once the world’s tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster. Some of the other fun roller coasters are The Boss, which has a 5,000-foot-plus circuit, and Batman: The Ride.
There are lots of rides for smaller kids at the Bugs Bunny National Park area. The Foghorn Leghorn National Park Railway will take kids on a fun train ride and the Bugs Bunny Ranger Pilots take them on a fun plane ride.
If it is a hot day, be sure to check out the Hurricane Harbor Water Park. This is one of the really fun St Louis attractions for families.
4. St. Louis Union Station
St Louis Union Station use to serve as one of the top train stations going into the West starting in the 1890s. It quickly became one of the busiest and biggest passenger train terminals in the world. The height of St Louis Union Station was during World War II.
Today, Union Station no longer is a passenger train terminal but a place to admire the beautiful architecture, grab a bite to eat, and watch the famous fire and light show. The show features a 100-foot waterfall with lights, fire and color.
There are also a bunch of different family-friendly attractions at St Louis Union Station like the St. Louis Aquarium, a Ferris wheel, a mirror maze, and a ropes course. There are so many fun family activities in St Louis at Union Station.
5. Magic House
Located just outside in St. Louis, the Magic House is a non-profit children’s museum. At the museum, there are lots of hands-on learning activities and lots of play areas. There is also an area for younger kids to enjoy, making it one of the best things to do in St. Louis for kids.
There are lots of different rooms and exhibits to enjoy as well as an outdoor area. While there is a room for younger kids, the majority of activities are geared towards kids ages 3-7. The Children’s Village is a great place for kids’ imaginations where they can do grocery shopping, serve pizza, and fix a car.
Older kids will enjoy the upstairs area. There is a 3-D printer, kaleidoscope wheel, and a treasure hunt. This is a great place for family fun in St. Louis.
6. St. Louis Wheel
The St. Louis Wheel is a 200-foot attraction with great views of the downtown St. Louis area. There are 42 gondolas that can fit eight people in them. This is a great thing to do in St. Louis if you’re looking for some great views of the St. Louis skyline and your family enjoys rides. The ride lasts about 15 minutes.
If you are looking for an education experience, you should consider booking the VIP experience. This includes a great lesson in math, engineering, and geography.
If you’re looking for other ideas of family activites in St Louis to do in this area, you can purchase a combination ticket for the miniature golf course and carousel ride. All of these attractions are near Union Station.
Myseum is one of children’s museum in St. Louis. Along with indoor play areas there are interactive exhibits that focus on science and learning skills. The dino-dig, radar slide, and magnetic ball wall are some of the highlights of the museum.
There is also a really fun area of Myseum set apart for toddlers. This is a great place to let your toddler explore the different environments and toys.
Myseum is built for kids ages two to twelve.
8. City Museum
City Museum is an old industrial warehouse that has been turned into a playground fit for kids and adults. Combine an art museum with a playground you could enjoy for hours and that is what you get at City Museum. The idea behind the museum is a museum of many cities.
There are lots of places to explore and really grow your imagination. There is a seasonal Rooftop Garden with a working 1940s Ferris wheel, a 10-story slide, 24-foot- tall praying mantis, and skipping fountains. The views of St. Louis from the top are beautiful.
Inside be sure to check out the world’s largest jungle gym. It is five stories tall and has ten-story spiral slides. If you’re looking to visit the St. Louis Missouri attractions, this one is not to be missed.
This is a highlight of the city and one of the best family activities in St. Louis. It is a good idea to wear closed-toed shoes as well as full-length pants. This is required to go through the maze of metal wire and the old airplane.
9. Saint Louis Aquarium
Also, in Union Station, the St. Louis Aquarium is one of the best family activities in St. Louis. There are so many different animals and exhibits to enjoy. There is a variety of wildlife ranging from alligators to zebra sharks.
The highlight of the aquarium is Shark Canyon. It is the largest exhibit in the aquiarum and is home to 80 sharks and rays. This is a great place to see lots of sealife in the 250,000 gallon tank. There are about 13,000 animals in the St. Louis aquarium.
Another really fun exhibit is the Deep Gallery. This exhibit shows visitors what lives in the depths of the ocean like coral, jellyfish and sea dragons.
My kids also love watching the sea otters swim and the touch tide pools in the Ocean Shore Gallery. There are lots of hands on opportunities like petting a stingray and holding a sea cucumber.
For older kids, make sure to pick up a learning program card that they can use throughout the aquarium. You can scan your card and complete all of the quizzes for a prize as you are leaving the aquarium.
10. Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
Another fun and education family friendly things to do in St. Louis for kids is the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. There are more than 1,000 butterflies in the conservatory. You can walk through the beauitful glass conservatory to see the 60 species of butterflies.
Another really fun part of the Butterfly House is you can see the steps a catepillar goes through in its journey to become a butterfly. Watching the butterflies come out of the cocoon is really neat.
You should plan on spending an hour or two at the Butterfly House.
11. Adventure Valley Zipline
If you’re looking for an afternoon of adventure, plan a visit to Adventure Valley Zipline. Along with zip lining, you can participate in paintball and airsoft. There are 10-zipline tours covering more than 1.5 miles of line.
The “super-zip” is the highlight of the ziplining tour. The line is 1,100 feet long and riders reach speeds of 40-50 miles per hour. Plus, you get a free dune buggy ride to the top of your tour.
The campus is about 30 minutes from downtown St Louis.
12. Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center
Just a few streets over from St Charles Main Street is the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center. If your kids are interested in history, this is one of the best things to do in St Louis for kids.
St. Charles was the Lewis and Clark expedition’s first campsite along the Missouri River in 1804. You can walk the banks of the river where they set off on their famous expedition west. The Lewis and Clark Boat House is home to three replicas of the boats used by the Corps of Discovery.
Free Family Activities in St. Louis
13. Laumeier Sculpture Park
If you’re looking for some fresh air, head to the Laumeier Sculpture Park. There are so many great outdoor St. Louis attractions in the city. The Park is 105 acres filled with walking paths and over 60 outdoor sculptures.
“The Way” is one of the park’s best-known pieces. It was built out of 18 salvaged steel oil tanks. It is 65 feet tall, 102 feet wide, and 100 feet deep. The girls had fun playing hide and seek around the sculpture and riding their scooters between the different art pieces.
The sculpture park was a great St Louis kids’ activity because my kids could explore to their hearts’ content.
14. Forest Park
Forest Park is the home of the famous 1904 World’s Fair. Today it is a beautiful park filled with scenic walking and biking paths. It is one of the largest parks in the United States.
Some other attractions in the park are the Jewel Box Greenhouse, a golf course and the World’s Fair Pavilion. Throughout the park there are a number of museums like the Saint Louis Art Museum as well as the Saint Louis Zoo. There are quite a few restaurants in the park if you need a bite to eat.
15. Citygarden Sculpture Park
The CityGarden Sculpture Park is a great place to visit as you are exploring the downtown area. This park is between Eights, Tenth, Market and Chestnut streets in the Gateway Mall area.
This urban sculpture park has lots of fun fountains, gardens, and 24 interactive art pieces. There is also a really fun splash pad so make sure you bring your kids’ swimming suits and towels. The park also has six rain gardens and a waterfall pool.
There are usually lots of food trucks in the area so it’s easy to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the Citygarden Park.
16. St. Louis Zoo
The best thing about the St Louis Zoo is that it is free! Trips to the zoo can add up quickly so having a free zoo is amazing. There is a fun railroad that takes visitors throughout the zoo as well as guided tours. There are some attractions in the zoo that do cost money like some shows, rides and the Children’s Zoo.
The Penguin & Puffin Coast area is a lot of fun as well as the Big Cat Country. You can also visit the Budweiser Clydesdales and take a spin on the carousel. There are over 12,000 animals in the Saint Louis Zoo.
17. Saint Louis Science Center
A visit to the Saint Louis Science Center is one of the great family activities in St. Louis that both adults and kids will enjoy. There are over 700 hands-on exhibits about weather patterns, space exploration, and animal life. When you get there, check the schedule for science experiments and live demonstrations.
Be sure to save some time to see the Planetarium shows. It is a highlight of a visit to the St. Louis Science Center. It is considered one of the nation’s leading space education facilities.
The Science Center has no general admission cost but there are charges for special attractions like specialized exhibits and theaters.
18. Old Courthouse
Next to the Gateway Arch is the Old Courthouse. It has beautiful architecture with a fascinating history.
It was the trial location for the Dred Scott case, where a slave named Dred Scott sued for his freedom at the St. Louis Courthouse. Eventually, the case ended at the Supreme Court and set the stage for the Civil War.
The Courthouse is open daily with trial reenactments and ranger-led tours. It is one of the best historic St Louis Missouri attractions. If your kids are interested in history, this is one of the best family activities in St. Louis.
19. Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden is 79 acres filled with beautiful gardens and historic buildings. It is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the United States. It was founded in 1859.
The gardens and campus are quite large so your visit will include a fair amount of walking however there is a lot to see along the way. Be sure to see the Climatron, a dome greenhouse where 1,200 species of plants are raised.
The garden also has the largest traditional Japanese garden in North America.
20. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
The Cathedral Basilica of St Louis is a beautiful house of worship. It is open to visitors daily. The ceilings are made of beautiful mosaics.
If you are interested in the history of the Basilica, be sure to visit the small museum in the basement.
21. Grant’s Farm
Grant’s Farm is the ancestral home of the Busch family and is home to more than 900 animals. Along with seeing the animals like bison, antelopes, and zebras, you can ride on the carousel, feed the animals and ride on a camel. There are also shows throughout the day so be sure to check that schedule.
Popular highlights are bottle-feeding the goats and the parakeet house. This is one of the great things to do in St Louis for kids.
There is no admission cost but there is a $15 charge for the parking lot. Grant’s Farm is open from Spring through early Fall.
22. Saint Louis Art Museum
Found in Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum is home to 34,000 works of art from Europe, Asia, and ancient Egypt. Plus, there is free admission to the museum, making it one of the best free things to do in St. Louis for kids.
There are some charges for special exhibits and activities. There is free admission to the special exhibits on Fridays.
23. Soulard Farmers Market
We love visiting the farmers’ markets during our travels and the Soulard Farmers Market is a fun one! It is one of the oldest public markets in the United States. It has been in operation since 1779.
There are a variety of sellers at the market specializing in produce, meats, and baked goods.
There is free parking for the market on 7th street, across the east side of the market. Hours for the market vary but it is open Wednesday through Saturday.
24. Lewis and Clark Hiking Trail
- Length: 8.3 miles
- Elevation Gain: 849 feet
- Route Type: Loop
- Difficulty: Moderate
This is one of the best hikes in the St. Louis area. Along the hike, you will enjoy spectacular views of the Missouri River as well as limestone cliffs.
It is a very dense forest for most of the trail. The Clark Loop is very crowded but as you find yourself on the Lewis Loop there won’t be as many people. The trails can be muddy after a rainy day.
Be sure to bring your bug spray and keep an eye out for the lightning bugs! The Lewis and Clark Hiking Trail is one of the best things to see in St Louis.
25. historic St Charles Main Street
Main Street in St. Charles is where early explorers and pioneers often did their shopping. Today, it is a nationally registered historic district made of brick-lined streets and beautiful historic buildings.
There are lots of different restaurants and shops filled with jewelry, unique gifts, clothing, and more. We had a lot of fun window shopping and enjoying this beautiful part of the city. It was one of my favorite family activities in St. Louis.
26. Lone Elk Park
We had a great time driving through the Lone Elk Park. It is a beautiful wildlife management area home to bison, turkey, elk, deer, and waterfowl. There are driving routes throughout the park where you can see the animals, sometimes pretty close to your car.
Don’t expect to see hundreds of animals but we did see a fair amount. The loop takes about 20 minutes to drive. Admission is free and you can drive the loop as many times as you would like.
The park gates are opened usually by 6:30 am – 7 am but the park officially opens at 7 am in the summer and 8 am in the winter. The best times to see the animals are before 8 am because the staff feeds the animals first thing in the morning.
There is a visitor center with restrooms as well as covered picnic areas. This is one of the fun St Louis attractions, especially if you are visiting with kids or animal lovers.
There are two hiking trails in Lone Elk Park.
White Buffalo Loop Trail
- Length: 3.0 miles
- Elevation Gain: 314 feet
- Route Type: Loop
- Difficulty: Moderate
chubb trail via lone elk trailhead
- Length: 12.4 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1,305 feet
- Route Type: Out & Back
- Difficulty: Moderate
If you are looking for more lush hiking in the South, be sure to look into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
27. Katy Trail
The Katy Trail is the perfect St Louis attraction if you’re looking to spend some time outside. It is 165 miles of the Lewis & Clark Trail known as the Katy Trail. It used to be a former railroad but has turned into a hiking and biking path.
Katy Trail follows the Missouri River with lush surroundings. My kids had a great time riding their scooters and seeing all of the different plant life along the trail.
If you are looking for more hiking in the south, be sure to check out Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
28. Kiener Plaza Park
Kiener Plaza Park is a really fun park near the St. Louis Arch and the Old Courthouse. There are beauitful views of these historic landmarks from the park. This is a fun and quick stop to visit after visiting the nearby attractions and let the kids run around the park.
There are two big fountains in the park and it is one of the best places to take pictures of the arch and courthouse. This is one of the really fun family activities in St Louis if you’re looking for some down time.
Family Activities in St Louis – Where to Eat
29. The Taco & Ice Cream Joint
You really cannot go wrong if you’re headed into a restaurant that serves two of my favorite things- ice cream and tacos! Everything was so yummy at the Taco & Ice Cream Joint and there were good portions. There are about 15 different taco fillings to choose from and then you can top it off with whatever you’d like – pickled onions, cilantro, pico de gallo, onion relish and more.
Make sure to leave some room for dessert! The ice cream counter is filled with both traditional and untraditional ice cream flavors – bacon, sprinkles, fresh fruit, and more. There is even a chocolate fountain.
We especially enjoyed the steak tacos, and the s’mores and Nutella ice cream.
30. Half & Half
If you’re looking for brunch in the city, be sure to get on the waitlist at Half & Half. Some of their famous dishes are the s’mores French toast and blueberry pancakes. Another fun recommendation is the salmon hash skillet.
Along with brunch, they serve breakfast and lunch.
31. Fitz Root Beer
If you’re looking for good places to eat in St. Louis, be sure to check out Fitz’s. They have great food but the real claim to fame is the root beer. It is so delicious!
Fitz’s is a local craft soda micro-brewery. They have 19 flavors like cream soda, cardinal cream, key lime and traditional root beer. We got the traditional root beer and a root beer float.
They also sell six-packs so be sure to grab some to go. We drank them over the next day or two and wished we would have gotten more!
32. Blueberry Hill
If you’re looking for a fun and kid-friendly restaurant, head to Blueberry Hill. It specializes in American food and burgers. Besides the delicious food, the decorations will keep you occupied for hours. There is a display of vintage Pez dispensers, a wall painted like Pac Man and built-in-board games on many of the tables for entertainment.
If you have a sweet tooth, leave room for the gooey butter cake for dessert.
33. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
One of the best places to get dessert in St Louis is Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. It has been serving frozen custard for the area for the last 80 years.
This is a great place to get dessert after visiting the St. Louis Arch.
Map of Family Activities in St. Louis
How to Get to Saint Louis
St. Louis is a really easy city to get to whether you are driving or flying. There are two large airports within 30 minutes of the downtown area.
Louis Lambert International Airport is the largest airport in the city and serves flights from lots of major airlines like Delta, Frontier, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Southwest. MidAmerica St Louis Airport is about 25 miles outside of the city. This is a smaller airport but you may find some good deals on tickets in and out of this airport.
We stopped in Saint Louis as we were making our way across the country. We stopped here to break up our drive to the East Coast and it was a great stop. It is also within driving distance from a lot of places on the East Coast and many of the national parks on the East Coast.
Saint Louis is about 4.5 hours from Chicago and 4.75 hours from Nashville.
How to Get Around Saint Louis
There is a great public transportation system in St. Louis and the downtown area is very walkable. However, if you want to venture to places outside of the downtown area, you will either need to use the Metro or rent a car. You can also take an Uber but that can be tricky if you have younger kids in car seats.
Also keep in mind that parking downtown can be expensive. If you are going to be paying a lot in parking fees, plus the cost of your rental car, it may be less expensive to utilize Uber.
Best Places to Stay in St Louis with Kids
Best Hotels in St Louis for Families
If you want to stay in the downtown area, the Drury Plaza St Louis at the Arch is a fantastic hotel. We always have a great stay at the Drury hotels. They have great suite rooms that we appreciate having when we stay in hotels.
There is a really nice indoor pool which is great for the windy or rainy days. There is a breakfast each morning and appetizers and drinks in the evening.
My kids especially loved the popcorn maker at the front door.
This is a great location if you are wanting to walk to a lot of the best family activites in St Louis downtown like the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse.
Check Prices Here for the Drury Plaza St Louis at the Arch
Short Term Rentals
The St. Louis area also has lots of great short term rentals. When we are staying at a location for more than a couple of days we usually opt to stay at a short-term rental rather than a hotel. We love having some extra bedrooms and a kitchen for meals.
Look for Short Term Rentals Here
FAQs: Family Activities in St Louis
Is St Louis family-friendly?
St. Louis is a very family-friendly town. There are lots of great family activites in St Louis for kids like the Magic House, City Museum, zoo, and aquarium. There are also lots of great places to stay and family-friendly restaurants.
Where can I take my toddler in St. Louis?
There are lots of great places you can take your toddler in Saint Louis. Many of the family activities in St Louis that I have outlined would be great places to visit. The Gateway Arch has large grassy areas where toddlers can explore and there is a park nearby.
They will also enjoy attractions like the zoo, Magic House, aquarium, Grant’s Farm, and Saint Louis Science Center.
Conclusion: Family Activities in St Louis
We hope you have found this article helpful in determining the best family activities in St Louis. It is a great town to visit with lots of really interesting history and fun things to do with family in St. Louis.
If you have any questions about the city of St. Louis, please feel free to reach out to us in the comments below or on Instagram.