Looking for the top family attractions in St. Louis? Find out why St. Louis is the perfect family destination and check out all the great things for kids to see and do in this wonderful Midwest city. Please note considerations were provided to the author by some of the attractions in the writing of this piece.
When you are looking for that kid friendly destination that is going to ensure to keep every kid happy during the duration of your vacation, what are the things you think about?
Museums, parks, zoos, sporting events, and more.
It can be hard to find that one place that will please everyone. That is the case with our family. With an 8 and 2-year-old finding activities that keep them both engaged and happy throughout the trip is difficult. When we do find everything that we are looking for when we start to look at cost and proximity to where we want to stay and realize that we have to re-think everything that we have planned.
With kids, when it comes to planning a trip, we are always thinking about how far to do we really want to travel? Are we willing to take out a whole day just so we can travel to our destination? Or do we want to look at a shorter road trip? Maybe somewhere that we can take the train to? Living in Kansas City, there are a handful of destinations that fit all of that criteria, but one stands taller (hint hint) than the rest.
It can be easy to overlook this great Midwest family destination because most people think that St. Louis is all about the Gateway Arch. Which is hard to miss but it can be easy to miss everything that St. Louis has to offer as you are awed by the wonder that is the Arch.
St. Louis is home to a thriving music scene, incredible food, and MANY family-friendly activities.
Things To Do
The Old Courthouse
If you or your family are history buffs, the first place you will want to stop along your journey to the St. Louis Gateway Arch will be the Old Courthouse. This is the place that civil rights history was made. While you won’t be able to step foot into the same courtroom that Dred Scott sued for freedom in, you’ll be able to feel the changes that were being made in the over 300 slave cases that were brought to the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.
The rotunda dome is a site that you won’t want to miss. While many look at the capital dome as the first dome to be built in the United State, the Old Courthouse dome actually predates the Capital Dome by a year.
Admission to the Old Courthouse is free.
St. Louis Gateway Arch National Park
When you drive or walk through downtown St. Louis is one of the first places you will see. The St. Louis Gateway Arch National Park is home to the Gateway Arch. A 630 foot tall (and wide) monument to the Western Expansion of the United States in the 1800s.
Recently, the St. Louis Gateway Arch Museum has undergone a $380 million renovation and sits directly under the Arch itself. As you make your way down to the museum floor, it can be easy to hit one side of the exhibits, but they have designed it in such a way that you take your time and zig-zag your way through time (and the floor). Starting in 1764 (when St. Louis was founded) you’ll see a traditional house for that time period and you’ll see exactly what it was like to live on the western frontier.
From the time of Thomas Jefferson, sending forth Lewis and Clark, to Manifest Destiny, to the Great Fire of St. Louis,
Realizing that the Arch itself is not wheelchair accessible, and can not be made accessible, the museum has done made it so that those unable to take the 4-minute tram ride to the top still be able to have an experience that they will not forget. Throughout the museum, there are places for people in wheelchairs to pull up and engage with the exhibits of the museum.
To visit the museum, it is free but to travel the tram to the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for kids.
Riverboats at the St. Louis Gateway Arch
After a long day of site seeing at the Gateway Arch National Park, walk down to the Mississippi River and make your way to the Riverboats. You will be taken back to a time when taking when boat travel on the Mississippi River meant more than just to transport the barges that you will see on the river today.
Grab yourself lunch while you wait for your tram ride to the top of the Gateway Arch or unwind from a long day on one of their dinner cruises. At $19 for adults and $8 for kids, the experience alone is worth the price, add on the incredible food that will be served and you are looking at an entertaining evening.
Without a doubt, if you are traveling with children, if there is one place that you need to visit in St. Louis, City Museum is it. Once you make it past admission, when you hang a right, you’ll have your choice of heading into the caves or the tree house. If you have never been to City Museum before, this is where you could easily lose your kids until it is time to leave.
The temptation will be there for you to climb in and follow your children., however, there will be tunnels and slides that even the smallest of adults will not have a chance to make it through. Eventually, after they have made their way down the 10 story slide, your kids again as they are ready to head outside through an even bigger maze of tunnels, stairs, and slides. With castles, busses, and old airplane fuselages to climb through, you will be able to make a full day of St. Louis’s own City Museum.
The price of admission for City Museum is $15 for 3 and up, 2 and under are free. If you plan your visit for after 5 pm the price does go down to $13 a piece.
Pro-tip: Make sure that your kid know how to contact you should they get lost within the maze somewhere. Whether they have their own cell phone or you write your name and number on their wristband. At some point it could come in helpful should they not be able to find you.
The NEW St. Louis Aquarium
As parents, we have all had our fair shares of aquarium experiences before. At some point,What To Do Beyond The St. Louis Gateway Arch In Missouri they all start to look the same but yet our kids seem to naturally swim towards them, even if they can’t see that there is one in whatever city we are visiting.
Opening in Fall of 2019 and located in St. Louis’s Union Station, the St. Louis Aquarium will be unlike any other that you and your kids have been to. This 120,000 square feet 2 story tall aquarium will hold 1 million gallons of water. The state-of-the-art exhibit will include 13,000 different species of fish as well as an education center that will speak to our kids about the need to conserve and keep our water clean.
Your kids will enjoy the 250,000 gallons of water that will be home to sharks and rays living together. The tank will feature a unique J-wall that will arch above the heads of visitors.
At the moment, the St. Louis Aquarium is still under construction and the price of admission is still being determined.
After you spend your day at the St. Louis Aquarium, wind down in Union Station. Where your kids will be able to play mini-golf, ride the observation wheel, and drink soda from an old soda fountain shoppe. Make your way over to the grand hall to be wowed by a light show. With videos narrated by St. Louis’s own, John Goodman, and vignettes by Bob Costas, Dan Dierdorf, Joe Buck and St. Louis’ Chris Kerber, you will be able to lay back and relax after a long day of running and chasing the kids in the NEW St. Louis Union Station.
National Blues Museum
With a thriving music scene, you won’t want to miss out on the National Blues Museum in St. Louis. You will be able to walk through the beginning of the blues scene on a national level and understand the roots of thee the music genre started. As you walk through the museum you will start to see how blues music has influenced modern day music.
The National Blues Museum is not only an educational experience for adults it is very interactive for the kids. There are interactive stations throughout the museum that give them the opportunity to create their own music and even step into the editing room at the end of the tour to put everything together and hear what they have created.
Admission to the National Blues Museum in St. Louis is $15 for Adults, $10 for kids 5-17 and college students (with ID) and free for kids under 5.
St Louis: The Perfect Family Destination
Whether you are looking for a great family-friendly destination to take your family to or if you are looking to experience something new in a place that often times is overlooked, St. Louis is the perfect place for you and your family to visit and make new memories.