Road Trip! Best Things to Do in St. Louis with Kids


I’ve been wanting to travel to St. Louis for some time, and my family (boys are six, eight, and twelve) finally decided to check it out for Spring Break. Just over a four-hour drive from the Chicago suburbs, St. Louis is a wonderful and diverse place to visit. Here’s a great list of all the places to go in St. Louis with kids that you won’t want to miss!

Many of these locations have varying hours. Please visit their websites or call ahead for hours and availability.

A Road Trip to St. Louis with Kids

The City Museum in St. Louis

City Museum
750 N. 16th
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 231-2489

Aside from The Gateway Arch, this was the number one recommendation for kids in St. Louis! I found the city museum to be incredible — almost beyond words, but I’ll do my best.

Once a shoe factory warehouse, the building was bought and renovated in 1997. The museum constantly adds new exhibits. The most amazing features are the ten-story slides, the enchanted caves, and a Ferris wheel on the the roof. Plan to spend at least 3-4 hours exploring! We found it necessary to have a 1:1 child to adult ratio.

We did see many younger children in the spaces dedicated to ages 5 and under; however, I wouldn’t bring kids under 5. It is very easy to lose kids and some slides and cave levels will send kids to another floor.

The crawl and play spaces are made largely from concrete, iron and steel, so wear comfortable clothing that you can move in easily.

The rooftop is open pending weather (typically May through October). Bring headlamps and knee pads! Parking is $10 cash only.

Other Places to Play in St. Louis

The Magic House: St. Louis Children’s Museum
516 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
(314) 822-8900
A children’s museum with hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Admission is $11 per person for over 1 year old.

Saint Louis Zoo
Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 781-0900
General admission is free.

Saint Louis Science Center
5050 Oakland Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 289-4400
General admission is free and with over 700 interactive exhibits, there is plenty to explore! The Omnimax theater and attached James S. McDonnell Planetarium offer shows at an additional fee.

Grant’s Farm Attraction at Anheuser-Busch
10501 Gravois Road
St. Louis, MO 63123
(314) 843-1700
Admission to Grant’s Farm, tram rides, and all shows are complimentary. A few attractions are ticketed and parking is $13 per car.

Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary
19620 Crown Ridge Rd Ste.
Genevieve, MO 63670
(573) 883-9909
45-minute general tours are $10/person, with children under 3 free.

What to See in St. Louis

The Gateway Arch
11 North 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102
(877) 982-1410
Several parents advised me that it was not worth going up within the Arch for the tour (long line; small and potentially scary elevator; not much to see aside from the view). However, many find it a one-of-a kind experience not worth missing.

Riverboat Tour at the Gateway Arch
50 South Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63102
(877) 982-1410
Riverboat Tours run from Memorial Day to Labor Day and usually depart 12:00; 1:30 and 3:00 PM daily.

Annual Fourth Grade Pass- U.S. National Park Pass
If you have a fourth- grader, don’t miss this free pass that entitles the child and family to free passes to many National Parks, including some sights in St. Louis!

Forest Park
5595 Grand Drive
St. Louis MO 63112
(314) 367-7275
Forest Park offers Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center, the Muny the Boathouse and the Jewel Box Conservatory on it’s grounds.

Missouri Botanical Gardens
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 577-5100
Also on the Missouri Botanical Gardens grounds: Sophia M. Sach’s Butterfly House.

St. Louis Union Station
1820 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 621-5262
The Grand Hall Market at Union Station was originally a ladies waiting room, and now functions as a unique gift shop and coffee bar. With a model train display in the middle of the room, the Grand Hall also offers light shows several times daily.

Laumeier Sculpture Park
12580 Rott Road
St. Louis, MO 63127
(314) 615-5278 
The Park is free and open to the public year-round, with the exception of special events.

St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium
700 Clark Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63102
(314) 345-9600
The stadium is located within Ballpark Village St. Louis, which offers plenty to do even when the Cardinals aren’t playing.

St. Louis Field House Museum
634 South Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63102
(314) 421-4689
The Toy Collection at this museum showcases dolls and toys from as far back as the 1790s. The museum is the childhood home of Eugene Field, whose father, Roswell Martin Field, served at the attorney for Dred Scott.

Meramec Caverns
1135 Highway W
Sullivan, MO 63080
(573) 468-2283
About 60 minutes from St. Louis, this cavern system is formed from limestone deposits.

Meeting of the Great Rivers
200 Piasa Street
Alton, IL 62002
(618) 465-6676
Meeting of the Illinois and Missouri rivers on a 33 mile scenic roadway.

Where to Eat in St. Louis

I’ve heard conflicting advice about which St. Louis BBQ is best. Let us know which is your families’ favorite! We also have other suggestions for where to eat and enjoy dessert in St. Louis.

Bogart’s Smokehouse
1627 S 9th Street
St. Louis, MO 63104
(314) 621-3107

Pappy’s Smokehouse
3106 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 535-4340

Fitz Root Beer Brewery
6605 Delmar Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 726-9555
This root beer has been made in St. Louis from an original recipe since 1947. The bottling line only runs on the weekend, but is visible from the restaurant.

The Hill
5130 Wilson Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
The Hill is known for its Italian heritage, cuisine and shopping.

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
6726 Chippewa
St. Louis, MO 63109
(314) 481-2652
A cult classic for St. Louis natives, Ted Drewes is a favorite frozen treat you can’t miss! The custard shop closes for part of the winter.

Fountain on Locust
3037 Locust Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 535-7800
An ice cream fountain and restaurant.

Soulard Farmer’s Market
730 Carroll Street
St. Louis, MO 63104
This large indoor farmers’ market is open Wednesday through Saturday, year-round.

3257 Ivanhoe Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63139
(314) 647-3800
Looking for something a little more special? This farm-to-table restaurant offers organic, sustainable local produce.

Are you looking for more road trip ideas and insight? Head over to our Guide to Road Trips for Families in the Chicago Suburbs!

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