the Visit Neighboring States Series
The Saint Louis Zoo is one of several FREE attractions in Forest Park. Others include the Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Art Museum and Missouri History Museum which has the very fun Dennis and Judith Jones Variety Wonderland Playground that is all inclusive at 5595 Grand Drive in Forest Park St. Louis, MO 63112. This playground is surrounded by shrubs and bushes and can be hard to find.
The Saint Louis Zoo is huge at 90 acres and we spent about 5 hours for our visit. If you arrive early enough in the morning, you can find free parking along the streets in Forest Park, but this is limited. We spent a little extra money at the zoo and enjoyed some of the extras like petting and feeding the stingrays.
The zoo is strongly focused on conservation. Some of the animal enclosures are larger than what you might see in a typical smaller zoo and that can make it more difficult for little children to see some animals. But we found plenty of close encounters to keep us happy!
That is my husband’s hand holding a fish between his fingers while a stingray swims over it and “sucks” up the fish like a vacuum. Our daughter, who was 5 at the time, and I also feed the stingrays.
We used the zoo’s website to learn about the different animals we would be seeing before the trip! If you currently have a membership to your local zoo, check your reciprocity list for any discounts.
While we were in Saint Louis, we stayed at a Drury Hotel. It was wonderful because they offered a free hot breakfast and free 5:30 Kickback which was basically supper for us. It included things like chicken nuggets, baked potatoes, salad and other appetizers. We just ate in the hotel for most evenings because we were too tired to go anywhere else. The kids loved the indoor/outdoor pool! One night we did eat out at the Boathouse Restaurant and then took an evening paddle boat around the lake. The kids loved the ducks that followed behind us and we even saw a turtle.
We enjoyed the FREE Science Center for a couple of hours. We parked on the north side of Interstate 64 and walked across the skywalk, which was really unique because there are “windows” on the floor so you can look down and see the cars zooming by. There are several exhibits we enjoyed, including a dinosaur dig and show about electricity. The museum is a good size and very hands-on, but I would say geared more toward elementary age students or older, with a deeper science focus. It’s not a playground with a science label slapped on. From the website, it looks like there may be new preschool-focused exhibits that we didn’t experience!
I would love to know how your family’s visit goes! Please share in the comments! How old were your children when you visited the science center? What was their favoirite exhibit?
There is SO MUCH to do in Saint Louis and several free places including Grant’s Farm, Wild Bird Sanctuary and more! While we enjoyed Forest Park, the highlight of our whole trip was The City Museum!