18 Fantastic Things to do in St Louis with Kids

Last updated on June 19th, 2023 at 04:19 am.

St. Louis, Missouri is the perfect spot for families to make memories that will last a lifetime! Whether you are looking to get out with your family for the weekend, or scouring the internet for a great family vacation, there are so many great things to do in St. Louis with kids.

St. Louis is considered by many to be the center of the heartland of America! Why? The famous Gateway Arch, vibrant museums, famous ice cream cones, and a reputation for being one of the most fun cities in the US, just for starters!  

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Things to do in St. Louis With Kids

Where do you begin choosing the best things to do with kids in St. Louis? How do you know what is worth paying admission for, or where the food tastes as good as it looks?

What about those days you don’t want to break the bank, but want to maximize the laughter? Whether your family prefers the outdoors or indoors, sweet or savory foods, learning about history or animals, or even visiting pumpkin patches in fall or some haunted STL locations you can find fun things to do in St. Louis with kids of all ages and interests. 

We have traversed the city, chatted with locals, tasted all the food, and let kids bounce on dozens of beds, just so we can bring you the best kid-friendly things to do in St. Louis!

Family Friendly Attractions in St. Louis

Families who are looking for fun things to do with kids in St. Louis, MO have dozens of adventures at their fingertips! Whether you’re a local, looking for an undiscovered place to venture with the kiddos this weekend, or coming for a family vacation, we hope you love this city as much as we do, and have fun exploring all the kid-friendly things to do in St. Louis, MO while you’re here! 

Saint Louis Zoo

Saint Louis has one of the most amazing zoos in the country. The St. Louis Zoo is home to more than 14,00 animals and over 500 species. So, it might go without saying that the Saint Louis zoo is one of the best St. Louis attractions for families. 

Over 3 million people come to this zoo each year to peek at the penguins, talk to the tigers, and behold the bears. This amazing zoo can easily take a family 2 days to fully explore! The most loved aspect of this zoo: it definitely won’t break the bank! Admission is free, although you can buy tickets to different events, such as the sea lion show or stingray cove. You can even bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy at the zoo!  

Address: 1 Government Drive St. Louis, MO 63110

St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

jelly fish

The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is an immersive and engaging experience offering unique perspectives of our underwater world.      

From the local streams and rivers to the depths of the oceans, take a journey at the St. Louis Aquarium to explore the hidden treasures of the Missouri and Mississippi waterways. appreciate the “monsters” of our global rivers, and delight in the stealth and grace of our oceans’ greatest predators.  Passport not required. 

The 120,000-square-foot aquarium, is packed to the gills with over 13,000 animals across 44 exhibits. Families at St. Louis Aquarium can explore aquatic life from sea to shining sea, without venturing out of the 63103 ZIP code. This is one of the most popular things to do in St. Louis with kids!

Address: 201 S 18th St, St. Louis, MO 63103

The St. Louis Wheel at Union Station

St. Louis Wheel

For the best view of the city (and for those not afraid of heights), the Ferris wheel at St. Louis Union Station is a destination not to be missed while having fun with kids in St. Louis! This giant wheel goes up 200 feet in the sky, taking about 15 minutes to complete its circle.  

There are 42 climate-controlled gondolas that can each accommodate up to 8 people. The wheel is lit up in the evening with a variety of bright colors. This memory-making adventure is open 365 days. Tickets for adults are $15, and kids ride for $10 each. 

Address: 201 S 18th St. St. Louis, MO 63103

The Gateway Arch Park

St. Louis Arch

You can’t visit St. Louis with your family without seeing the iconic Gateway Arch. It is the tallest monument in America at 630 feet! 

 Gateway Arch National Park includes a tram ride to the top, a museum, park, 1839 Old Courthouse, and of course the iconic arch itself.

Tram Ride to the Top of the Arch

Take a tram ride to the top for unparalleled views of the city. The elevator ride to the top of the Gateway Arch is four-minutes. But, to reach the top of the Gateway Arch and return, there are an additional 96 steps, divided into six flights. Once you reach the top, there are stunning views stretching up to 30 miles to the east and west. Tram tickets are $11.

Museum at the Gateway Arch

The museum explores 200+ years of history within six themed galleries, commemorating America’s pioneering spirit and acknowledging the positive and negative impacts of westward expansion.

The galleries span from 1764 to 1965 with topics covering Colonial St. Louis, Jefferson’s Vision, Manifest Destiny, The Riverfront Era, New Frontiers, and Building the Gateway Arch.  The museum is free 

The Gateway Arch National Park grounds are open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. year-round.

Address: 11 N 4th St #1810, St. Louis, MO 63102

Riverboat Cruise

riverboat cruise in St. Louis

If heights aren’t quite your thing, the Missouri River cruise offers breathtaking views without inciting any vertigo or fear of heights. 

Cruise through time on the Mighty Mississippi. Travel through time on a replica 19th century paddle-wheel riverboat. Day or night, the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch offer stunning skyline views that have been voted Best in St. Louis.

With a variety of sightseeing, dinner, and specialty outings to choose from, a riverboat cruise makes a unique and relaxing way to experience the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis.

Brought to the St. Louis riverfront in 1964, the Becky Thatcher and the Tom Sawyer were originally used to take curious sightseers out on the river to view the construction of the Gateway Arch. While the city may have changed since then, the views of the Gateway Arch are as impressive as ever.

This Mississippi River St. Louis boat tour is a great way to see the city and learn about its history.

City Trolley Tour

St. Louis City Trolley Tour
Photo Credit: St. Louis Fun Tours

Kids will love to take a trip back in time and ride in an authentic trolley around St Louis. The City Trolley Tour has fun expert local guides who explain how St Louis became a city and its colorful history – from the 1800s to the present. On the tour, you’ll see the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, the Mississippi River, Anheuser Busch brewery, Busch Stadium (home of the St Louis Cardinals), Union Station and so much more on this fun city tour.

Learn about tour prices and times.

St Louis Scavenger Hunt Adventure

This Scavenger Hunt Adventure is a fun way for your kids to learn about local history while exploring the “Gateway to the West”. Your smartphone is your guide as you solve clues and complete challenges around St Louis.

As you work through the game, you will move around different highlights within the city. You can time the challenge completion or take your time, grabbing food and drinks in between.

Learn more about the Scavenger Hunt.

CityGarden

CITYGarden STL
Photo Credit: CityGarden

Remember the struggles of wanting to see art at a museum, but knowing there was no way your kids were going to be quiet and behave? City Garden has that problem solved. 

An outdoor museum with oversized sculptures, amazing water features for kids to splash and cool off in during summer, and colorful plants as stunning as the artworks. Best of all? It’s completely free! 

Self-guided tours are available as pdf’s through their website. Locals and tourists alike flock here to spend anywhere from a few hours to all day! You don’t want to skip this attraction if you are looking for fun things to do in St. Louis with kids. It’s a great place for a sunny day and to really make a day of it, bring a picnic lunch.

Address: 801 Market Street, Saint Louis, Missouri 63101

The Magic House

The Magic House
Photo Credit: The Magic House

Of the SEVEN children’s museums in St. Louis, Missouri, The Magic House is one of the most popular St. Louis attractions for kids! And it’s easy to see why!

Outdoors, kids can explore a waterfall patio, outdoor play garden, and the sunshine classroom. 

Indoors, your kids will spend hours climbing around a larger-than-life Jack and the Beanstalk room, making art in the art studio, and playing in the children’s village. 

Want to bring a picnic? Head to their museum’s outdoor garden pavilion with all your favorites from home before heading inside to play! Admission is $12.50 per person over 1 year old. Military members get in free, as do foster families with a license.  

A great rainy day excursion.

Address: 516 S. Kirkwood Road St. Louis, MO 63122

Saint Louis Science Center

The Saint Louis Science Center was founded as a planetarium in 1963. It is a collection of buildings including a science museum and planetarium located in Forest Park.

The Science Center is an interactive museum where kids (and adults) can learn about all sorts of sciences. Beyond kid-friendly hands-on exhibits you can’t beat the dinosaur exhibit. There is a lot to keep kids busy at the museum!

The Saint Louis Science Center combines experimentation, creativity, and play to help people discover a passion for science and technology. With over 15 exhibits plus a planetarium and 3D IMAX theater, there is something for every mind to be engaged in!

Address: 5050 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

Variety Wonderland Playground in Forest Park

Variety Wonderland Playground

Created in 2005, the half-acre Variety Wonderland Playground was one of the first playgrounds in the St. Louis region that was fully accessible to children of all abilities. Since then, it has become a favorite for St. Louis families and Forest Park visitors from around the region.

This playground is located behind the History Museum. The park has 29 pieces of equipment in five play areas. First Adventures is for children ages 2-5, Big Adventures is for children ages 6 to 12. There is also a Secret Garden, an Observation Relaxation Deck, and Living Shelter.

The fun includes teeter-totter swings with high backs, disc swings, metal slides for children with cochlear implants, double slides, and four-seat seesaws.

Some of the features include a wheelchair-accessible treehouse, Braille panel, and 32 musical pylons for the visually impaired, creative panels, 14 perennials known to attract, feed, and house Monarch butterflies, and talk phones.

There is a nearby restroom complete with changing table and the Forest Park Cafe that sells a wide variety of hot food, snacks, and drinks. 

Address: 5601-5653 Grand Dr, St. Louis, MO 63112

Grant’s Farm

Grants Farm in St. Louis

Did you know the Busch family, of the Anheuser-Busch company, has an estate you can tour with your family in St. Louis, MO? 

Grant’s Farm is a historic farm, built by Ulysses S. Grant (18th President of the United States) on land given to him and his wife by his father-in-law Frederick Fayette Dent in 1848. Since 1903, it has been owned by the Busch family.

You can find the log cabin of Ulysses S. Grant, German-style stables that are home to the famous Clydesdale horses, longhorn cows, and delicious meals at the Brat Haus. 

Guests over 21 years old can also participate in a free beer tasting at the Brat Haus while kiddos fill up on hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, or chicken strips. 

Admission to the farm is FREE! You will have to pay for parking, and behind-the-scenes tours are available for purchase.

Address: 7385 Grant Rd, St. Louis, MO 63123

Go to a St. Louis Cardinals Game

baseball

One of the best things to do in St. Louis for sports fans is attend a Cardinals game. This is the city’s Major League Baseball franchise and they play at Busch Stadium.

They have a Family Pavilion that is located on Level 1 between Gates 5 and 6, on the northeast corner of Busch Stadium. It’s open before and during the game and you simply need to show your ticket to get in. There’s a fee for some of the games and activities, but if you’re dealing with bored kids, it’s worth every penny!

Children younger than 3 get in to all games for free.

Address: 700 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102

Missouri Botanical Garden

When looking for fun things to do in St. Louis with kids, the Missouri Botanical Gardens should not be skipped. Kids will especially love the Children’s Garden area located inside the Climatron Conservatory. In this 2-acre zone, your kids will jump on-board a steamboat, explore limestone caves, and scramble to the top of a tree house!

After all those daring adventures, the entire family might welcome some peace and relaxation– so head to the 14-acre Japanese Gardens. Here, both Shinto and Buddhist traditions combine with many others to create a garden that brings reverence to nature’s beauty. 

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark. The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis.

Free admission to anyone 12 and under and STL residents pay just $6. Otherwise, general admission for 13 and older is $14

About 20 minutes from ST. Louis

Address: 15050 Faust Park, Chesterfield, MO 63017

Fun Things for Families near St. Louis

The Butterfly House

blue morpho butterflies

The Butterfly House is home to over 60 tropical butterfly species located in a Conservatory with over 150 tropical plants. This lovely garden combined with the beauty of the butterflies is the heart of the Butterfly House and a fun outing for families who want to connect to nature and learn about butterflies.

Admission to for 3-12 and over 65 is $5. General addmission is $8.

About 20 minutes from ST. Louis

Address: 15050 Faust Park, Chesterfield, MO 63017

Purina Farms

I’m sure you’ve heard of Purina pet food. But did you know they have a farm? It’s one of the top activities for kids in St. Louis! Purina Farms is only open from mid-April through the end of October, but if you’re there during the right months, it’s an activity with the kids you don’t want to miss. 

The barn and play area is one of their most popular areas where you can pet pigs, sheep, cows, horses, and more. Don’t miss the Incredible Dog Arena either! You may be lucky enough to catch a demonstration by some of the country’s most talented dogs doing mind-blowing tricks.

Purina Farms is located about 40 minutes from St. Lous and admission is free. However, if a special event is going on, you may have to pay for parking.  

Address: 500 William Danforth Way, Gray Summit, MO  63039

Big Joel’s Safari Petting Zoo & Educational Park

Big Joel's Safari Petting Zoo & Educational Park
Photo Credit: Big Joel’s Safari Petting Zoo & Educational Park

You won’t find lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) at this park. Instead, you’ll find yourself surrounded by camels, lemurs, goats, and wallabies, just to name a few. The safari petting zoo is about 40 minutes from St. Louis and a great option for younger children.

It encompasses about 15 acres, and it is unique compared to most; you don’t drive through— you get to walk among the animals! Half is set up as a petting zoo while the other half is a more traditional zoo. You can purchase food at the admission gate to feed the animals as you walk through.

Camel rides, pony rides, and parakeet encounters are also available to purchase. The admission for children is $10; adults are $12 per person. When you’re debating comprising your bucket list of kid-friendly things to do in St. Louis, don’t leave this safari adventure out!

Address: 13187 State Hwy M Wright City, MO 63390

Family Friendly Hotels in St. Louis

Now that you have found some great things to do with kids in St. Louis, it’s time to find that perfect hotel that parents will love as much as the kiddos.

Hampton Inn St. Louis Downtown (at the Gateway Arch)

There are dozens of great options for hotels when you are visiting St. Louis with kids! One of our favorites is the Hampton Inn downtown! The games room, complete with old-school arcade games, puzzles, and board games is the perfect spot for teens to chill and relax at the end of the day. 

Plus, their oversized rooms offer plenty of space for families! Younger kiddos appreciate the super kid-friendly menu options at the restaurants inside the hotel as well. This hotel also boasts an indoor and outdoor pool, so no matter the weather, you’ve got a fun activity right downstairs from your room!

Check out reviews of Hampton Inn St. Louis Downtown on Tripadvisor and find the best hotel rates on Hotels.com or Booking.com.

HoteLumiere at the Arch

This hotel offers something for everyone when you are staying in St. Louis with kids! The adults in the family will love enjoying a drink at the bar, relaxing at the spa, enjoy some excitement in the casino, or keeping up their fitness routine in the gym. But wait! You can’t take kids to a bar, right? 

HoteLumiere has that covered with an amazing babysitting service where your kids are guaranteed to have as much fun as you do on your night out! And when it’s time for the family to all have fun together, you can splash and swim in the pool!

Check out reviews of HoteLumiere at the Arch on Tripadvisor and find the best hotel rates on Hotels.com or Booking.com.

St. Louis Union Station Hotel

When people think of the top St. Louis attractions for families, they may not initially think of adding a hotel to that list. But the St. Louis Union Station Hotel is more than just a place to sleep; it’s an amazing experience! This hotel does an amazing job of combining the history of the city with all of the modern luxuries and comforts you love from home. The pool and bar just add to the fun factor! This hotel is located within walking distance of some of the top St. Louis attractions for kids.

Check out reviews of St. Louis Union Station Hotel on Tripadvisor and find the best hotel rates on Hotels.com or Booking.com.

The Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis

The Four Seasons is a luxury hotel and might seem intimidating at first for a family visiting St. Louis with kids. But look a bit deeper, and you’ll discover a hotel that is absolutely perfect for your family! Where else have you been provided with child-size robes for your kids to cuddle up in while eating breakfast in the room?

After breakfast, head to the TopGolf Swing Suite for a fun simulator that has zombie dodgeball, carnival games, hockey, and so much more! Or go swimming on the roof top pool with unparalleled views of the famous Arch! 

Want an insider’s tip? Order the kids’ sundaes from Cinder House with your evening cocktails delivered to your room. The sundaes are the perfect size to put a smile on their faces without keeping them up all night on a sugar high! 

Check out reviews of The Four Seasons Hotel on Tripadvisor and find the best hotel rates on Hotels.com or Booking.com.

Family Friendly Restaurants in St. Louis

Best places to grab some grub that will please the kids and the adults.

Fitz’s Root Beer

I’m sure you’ve heard of micro-breweries for beer, right? Well, this microbrewery is designed with the kids in mind! Fritz’s soda microbrewery makes and bottles 19 unique and delicious flavors right here in St. Louis! But you can get more than just soda here!

They boast some of the best burgers in the region, winning the 2021 Best Kid-Friendly and Family-Friendly Restaurant in St. Louis by St. Louis Magazine! I’m sure after you’ve split one of their gigantic floats, you’ll be ordering some bottles to go!

Address: 6605 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130

Llywelyn’s Pub

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind place to eat while you’re out having family fun with kids in St. Louis, you want to stop by this pub! Dragon wings, adult grilled cheese sandwiches, and the best steak and cheese sandwich are a few of the locals’ favorites. 

Picky eaters? Llywelyn’s has you covered with their favorite comfort foods such as chicken tenders, mac and cheese, and burgers. Bonus: All kids’ meals come with some of St. Louis’ famous Fitz soda and a special surprise! 

Address: 1732 South 9th Street St. Louis, MO 63104

Pappy’s Smokehouse

Every family has their BBQ lover. The one who has to try the local style of bar-b-que wherever they travel. Well, when you are out exploring fun things to do in St. Louis with kids, you do not want to miss this BBQ joint!

Pappy’s Smokehouse has two locations and a food truck! I know, you’re wondering how I can make promises about this restaurant, right? Well, the Food Network has named this place as having the best ribs in all of America, AND Southern Living Magazine claims it is the best BBQ in all of Missouri! Try it out while you’re there, and I know you’ll be telling all of your friends when they are finding things to do in St. Louis for kids.

Address: 3106 Olive St, St. Louis, MO 63103

Crown Candy Kitchen

If your kids are anything like mine, before we’ve even started eating dinner, they are already asking where a fun dessert place can be found. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Head to the Crown Candy Kitchen for some of the most decadent ice cream you’ve had in years! 

For those over-achievers in the family, the Crown Candy Kitchen offers a 5 Malt Challenge. Anyone that can drink 5 malted shakes in 30 minutes for less gets them all free, plus a t-shirt and bragging rights with their name on the wall of fame!

Address: 1401 St. Louis Ave. St. Louis, MO 63106

9 Mile Garden

This unique dining venue is home to a daily rotation of dozen of food trucks serving up the best Saint Louis has to offer their locals and visitors and it’s just 20 minutes from downtown!

You can find out which trucks will be there each day by checking their Facebook and Instagram pages. Come out on Mondays and Thursdays for trivia night. Or listen to some great live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. Bring the kids, the dogs, and all your friends for a laid back, fun time full of laughter and memories!  

Address: 9375 Gravois Road, Affton, MO, 63123

Hope you enjoyed our list of fun things to do with kids in St. Louis. If we missed something you love to do with your kids, please let us know in the comments.

We also have our favorite things to do in St. Louis for every month. Just click on any month to plan your next STL adventure! January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

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There are so many great things to do in St. Louis with kids. From the Gateway Arch, famous ice cream cones, awesome parks and fun adventures, this a fun city for families. | Our favorite things to do with kids in St. Louis.

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