Mom’s Top Tips for Things to Do in St. Louis With Kids

Gearing up for a trip to the Gateway to the West? Check out our editor-in-chief’s best recommendations for kids’ activities in St. Louis.
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By Kristen Maxwell Cooper, The Bump Editor-in-Chief
Updated July 15, 2019
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The Bump presents Where In the World Is The Bump, a series of summer travel guides featuring tips, favorite picks and insider know-how from local moms for families looking to visit their cities this season. From the best baby-friendly restaurants to preschooler-approved playgrounds, savvy packing lists and more, you’ll get all the honest, parent-proven advice you need to plan your trip.

I’m Kristen, editor in chief of The Knot Worldwide (parent company of The Bump). My husband, Mickey, and I have been married for six years and welcomed a baby girl in December 2018. Her name is Collins and she’s just the sweetest thing! While Mickey and I have lived in New York City for the past 13 years, I’m originally from St. Louis and visit frequently with Collins. I’m excited to share our favorite things to do in St. Louis with kids!

Kid-Friendly Restaurants in St. Louis

No trip to St. Louis is complete without enjoying a meal on The Hill, an Italian-American neighborhood known for its restaurants and delis. It’s just south of Forest Park near a ton of attractions, so it’s convenient and great for families.

One of the most kid-friendly spots on The Hill is Rigazzi’s. Its kids’ menu has everything from pizza and chicken fingers to buttered noodles and even includes the local fave, toasted ravioli. And for the adults: Frozen Fishbowls of your fave draft brew.

If you’re visiting in the summer, Ted Drewes is a must for frozen custard. The family-owned business has been a staple in the city since 1929.

Outdoor Kids’ Activities in St. Louis

Forest Park is considered one of the greatest urban parks in the US and houses a bunch of fun activities for kids and babies. Most notable is the St. Louis Zoo, which is not only free but also consistently ranked among the best in the country. Some not-to-miss exhibits include the Penguin and Puffin Coast, Sea Lion Sound and the Children’s Zoo (which does include a small fee). You can also tour the grounds by train and take a spin on the carousel.

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Most municipalities in St. Louis also have their own park and pool, like Chesterfield Park and Aquatic Center. You can find playgrounds, pools and more near you here.

The Muny is America’s oldest and largest outdoor theater. Based in Forest Park, it’s a gem unique to St. Louis. It’s only open in the summer months (June through August), but runs seven shows during that time. Not every show is kid-friendly, so check the schedule before purchasing tickets. Pro tip: The last nine rows of the 11,000-person theater are free on a first-come-first-served basis. Since it’s located in Forest Park, consider packing a picnic and posting up in the park across the theater pre-show.

For the animal lovers, Grant’s Farm is a not-to-miss St. Louis attraction. Situated on 281 acres, this ancestral home of the Busch family (of Anheuser-Busch) features everything from rides to close animal encounters. Take your kiddos to the Tier Garten, where you can feed the goats from a baby bottle (careful your bottle-fed little ones don’t confuse it for their own!), ride a camel and simply hang with a variety of animals, from tortoises to elephants! Bonus: The Baurenhof not only serves lunch for the entire family, but also offers free samples of Anheuser-Busch products in the hospitality room for moms and dads.

Kid-Friendly Museums in St. Louis

The Magic House is my favorite museum for children. It features hundreds of hands-on exhibits, including an art studio, construction zone and even a “baby and me” center. Make sure to visit the Children’s Village where kids can play in an auto repair shop, restaurant, grocery store and more. Finally, no trip to The Magic House is complete without taking a ride on the three-story slide!

Packing Tips

• St. Louis is one of those cities that gets all the seasons. In the height of summer, expect 80- and even 90-degree days (plus humidity!). In the winter, it can easily drop below freezing, which will obviously impact what to pack.

• St. Louis attractions are spread out, so a car (read: car seat) is a must. As for strollers, they’re available for rental at major attractions like the zoo and Science Center (another cool attraction for older kids).

Published June 2019

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