A slate of new attractions is on tap at family-friendly venues throughout St. Louis. Check out these events and exhibits for some end-of-summer fun to avoid the back-to-school blues.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Martial arts, sumo wrestling and a colorful kimono fashion show will highlight the 36th annual Japanese Festival during Labor Day weekend at Missouri Botanical Garden.

The garden’s Japanese cultural celebration returns this year with a cherry blossom theme to honor the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry tree from Japan to the U.S. The event also will feature regional cuisine, origami paper folding activities and a range of traditional Japanese music and dance performances.


WHEN: Festival hours—10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 1-2; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 3. Regular garden hours—9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Labor Day; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday after Labor Day through Memorial Day.

WHERE: 4344 Shaw Blvd. COST: Festival admission—$15 adults; $10 seniors; $5 children; $5 members. Regular garden admission—$6; $4.50 seniors; $4 children; free for children 2 and younger.

INFORMATION: 577-5100 or mobot.org

Saint Louis Science Center

Learn how objects can be manipulated on the nanoscale to produce awe-inspiring creations at Saint Louis Science Center’s Amazing Nano Worlds! exhibit.

Visitors can tour the Nano Art Gallery to view objects on the nanoscale through microscopes, and go on a scavenger hunt to investigate how nanotechnology relates to science displays throughout the center.

The exhibit runs through Labor Day, with a smaller version remaining as a long-term display in the center.


WHEN: Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: 5050 Oakland Ave.

COST: Free admission. Group rates available. Amazing Nano Worlds! exhibit—$4.50 adult members; $9 adult non-members; $4 child members; $8 child non-members.

INFORMATION: 289-4400, slsc.org.

The Magic House

The Magic House continues to pull out new tricks. Its latest installment to wow guests will be The Art of the Brick, opening Sept. 22.

Museum visitors can see how their LEGO creations stack up to 30 large-scale, 3D sculptures by New York-based artist Nathan Sawaya. The unique exhibit, which features some 1 million LEGO bricks in jaw-dropping shapes, aims to inspire visitors’ creativity as they construct their own works of art from the classic toy.


WHEN: Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

WHERE: 516 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood

COST: $9.50 for ages 1 and up. Group and member rates also available. Free parking.

INFORMATION: 822-8900, magichouse.org

Saint Louis Zoo

Saint Louis Zoo’s new Sea Lion Sound exhibit is giving guests a rare glimpse into the marine mammal’s natural habitat.

Zoo visitors have close-up views of the sea lions through a 35-foot-long underwater tunnel and a 40,000-gallon transparent pool. In addition, live shows in the 800-seat amphitheater feature the animals in action—from powerful swimming, balancing acts and flipper walks along a rock bridge extending into the audience to Olympic-style diving from a high-rise platform and slide.


WHEN: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Sea lion shows—11 a.m., 1:30 and 3 p.m. daily during the summer, with an additional show at 5 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays; Sept. 4-Oct. 28, weekends only.

WHERE: 1 Government Drive in Forest Park

COST: Free admission. Parking, $12. Sea lion shows—$4; free for children 2 and younger. INFORMATION: 781-0900, stlzoo.org