5 Free St. Louis Family-friendly Attractions
St. Louis, MO is a family-friendly city offering a wide variety of activities for all ages. Families on a budget or just looking for an inexpensive weekend
The Science Center
Located in St. Louis’ Forest Park, The Science Center has been voted in the top 5 by the Association of Science-Technology Centers. Though parking in The Science Center lot costs $9, free parking and shuttle service are available within Forest Park. Visitors to The Science Center can “play a laser harp or create ‘virtual fish’ in Cyberville” or “visit a life-sized animated Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops in the Ecology and Environment Galleries” according to The Science Center’s website. Other free activities include building a replica of the St. Louis Arch with big, foam blocks and peering at speeding cars through windows on the floor of the bridge crossing I-64.
St. Louis Zoo
The St. Louis Zoo was voted #1 zoo/animal park and #4 top-rated attraction by Zagat Survey’s U.S. Family Travel Guide. The zoo is divided into six zones: the River’s Edge features elephants, cheetahs, and hyenas, The Wild is home to bears, penguins, and apes, Discovery Corner allows visitors access to friendly animals such as bunnies, goats, and butterflies, Historic Hill houses birds, reptiles and primates, Red Rocks is the gathering place for big cats, giraffes, zebras and antelope, and Lakeside Crossing is a zoo of souvenirs and refreshments. April 2010 marked the opening of the Stingrays at Caribbean Cove exhibit that enables visitors to watch, touch, and feed stingrays.
Home to more than 1000 animals representing over 100 species, Grants Farm “has been a St. Louis tradition for over five decades” according to its website. A tour in an open-air vehicle through Deer Park offers unobstructed views of bison, deer, zebras, antelope, and ponds filled with goldfish and koi. During the tour, visitors ride past the cabin Ulysses S. Grant build in 1855 and called home for a short period of time. Free sample Anheuser-Bush refreshments and meals and snacks available for purchase can be found in The Bauernhof (German for “farmstead.”) Before leaving, visitors will want to stop by the stables housing approximately 25 Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale horses.
A tour through the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis will allow visitors an inside view of the crafting of Budweiser. According to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours web page, “Your tour will guide you through a blend of rich brewing heritage, state-of-the-art technology, and extraordinary architecture.” Visitors to the brewery who are 21 or older may sample alcoholic products, including seasonal and new products, in the Hospitality Room. Snacks and soft drinks are also available.
World Bird Sanctuary
St. Louis’ World Bird Sanctuary is located on more than 305 acres and houses over 200 animals. The World Bird Sanctuary not only houses parrots, eagles, falcons, owls, and other birds but is also home to various mammals and reptiles. While admission to the sanctuary is free, visitors are able to show their support for the center through purchases from the gift shop, donations or “adoption” of the creatures. Adoption fees are listed for each animal and help care for the animals for a year. The adoption fee includes a certificate of adoption and color photo of the animal, a one-year subscription to the newsletter, merchandise and program discounts and visitation privileges and photo ops with your new friend.