St. Louis’ most popular play places are ready to give area families a fun-filled summer. Children can get wet and wild with a new sea lion show, a beach in the middle of the city and a multitude of summer camps. Check out this guide to plan your summer calendar.

City Museum

Expand your imagination at City Museum’s expansive 10- floor playhouse. Children and adults alike will be thrilled by the interactive sculptures, tunnels and slides.

Know Before You Go:

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

Where: 701 N. 15th St.

Cost: $12 per person. Group rates also available. Parking, $5 (cash only)

Information: 231-2489,

Don’t Miss:

FAVORITE EXHIBITS: Take in views of the St. Louis skyline as you climb through the massive outdoor interactive sculpture and playground, MonstroCity. Make your way up the labyrinth of tunnels in the multi-level Enchanted Caves and travel back down via the 10-story Spiral Slide.

AFTER-DARK ACCESS: Explore the museum at night with SLUMBERCITY Family Overnight on July 15. A $33 per person ticket includes a pizza dinner, breakfast buffet, activities, museum exploration and parking.

Saint Louis Zoo

This summer, the nationally lauded Saint Louis Zoo will welcome visitors to its new $18 million sea lion exhibit, in addition to its wide range of wildlife favorites.

Know Before You Go:

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Where: 1 Government Drive in Forest Park

Cost: Free admission. Parking, $12

Information: 781-0900,

Don’t Miss:

FAVORITE OFFERINGS: Touch a stingray at Carribean Cove, see animals perform natural talents on cue at Emerson Children’s Zoo Animal Shows, take in sightings of elephants, giraffes and kangaroos as you ride along the Emerson Zooline Railroad and dance the night away at Jungle Boogie every Friday from 5-8 p.m. Camp KangaZoo is a don’t-miss summer adventure for area children.

NEW THIS YEAR: Sea Lion Sound—the 1.5-acre sea lion habitat and arena—will open June 30. Take in sea lion performances and see the marine mammals swim around you during a walk through the 35-foot underwater viewing tunnel. The exhibit will feature 11 California sea lions and later will include harbor seals.

St. Louis Science Center

Conduct experiments and explore the universe at the St. Louis Science Center, home to one of the nation’s leading space education facilities, James S. McDonnell Planetarium.

Know Before You Go:

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. Exhibitions range from $3 to $14. Group rates available.

Information: 289-4400,

Don’t Miss:

FAVORITE EXHIBITS: Experience movies on the OMNIMAX Theater. Rocky Mountain Express, a virtual journey by steam engine through the Canadian Rockies, begins June 1.

NEW THIS YEAR: Discover how scientists manipulate tiny particles to develop new tools and materials with Amazing Nano World, and see the animated children’s musical Star Hoppin’.

THE FIRST FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH, enjoy activities from 6-10 p.m. and see a free science fiction movie at 10 p.m.

Purina Farms and Grant’s Farm

With Purina Farms and Grant’s Farm, guests don’t have to travel far outside the city to experience life on the farm and a variety of animal shows.

Purina Farms

Know Before You Go:

Memorial Day-Labor Day hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: 200 Checkerboard Drive, Gray Summit

Cost: Free admission and parking

Information: 982-3282,

Don’t Miss:

FEATURED EVENTS: See canines perform live demonstrations of freestyle flying disc, agility and diving, and take part in “Introduction to Dog Sports” Camp in The Incredible Dog Arena. Interact with farm animals in The Barn and Play Area.

FESTIVAL FUN: Countrytime Bluegrass Festival and Kids Country Carnival will feature live music and backyard children’s games on June 16 and 17.

Grant’s Farm

Know Before You Go:

When: Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: 10501 Gravois Road

Cost: Free admission. Parking, $12

Information: 843-1700,

Don’t Miss:

FEATURED EVENTS: Animal Encounters at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Elephant Education at 11:15 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. daily.

SUMMER CAMP: Groom horses and feed elephants, elk and buffalo at weeklong Critter Camps running in June and July.

The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum

Children can dive into hands-on learning experiences that encourage experimentation and creativity at the top-rated Magic House.

Know Before You Go:

Memorial Day to Labor Day hours: 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

Cost: Beginning June 1, $9.50 for ages 1 and up. Group and member rates also available. Free parking

Information: 822-8900,

Don’t Miss:

FAVORITE EXHIBITS: Make your hair stand on end while touching the electrically charged ball, stand inside a bubble in the bubble room and solve a mystery.

NEW THIS YEAR: Go on a time-traveling adventure to experience three important periods in American history in The Magic Tree House through Sept. 9.

LIMITED-TIME EXHIBITS: Build sandcastles, search for seashells and stroll along the boardwalk at Sandcastle Beach, a beachfront park right in the middle of The Magic House’s backyard through July 1.

FREE FAMILY NIGHTS every third Friday of the month from 5:30-9 p.m.

Butterfly House

Learn about the life cycles of beautiful butterflies and other amazing insects as you wander through the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House.

Know Before You Go:

Memorial Day to Labor Day hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Where: 15193 Olive Blvd., Faust Park, Chesterfield Cost: $6, adults; $4.50, seniors; $4, children ages 3-12; free, children ages 2 and younger Information: 636-530-0076,

Don’t Miss:

FAVORITE EXHIBITS: Capture native insects to observe and release at the fifth annual Bug Hunt on July 28 and learn about bees at Pollinator Palooza on June 17.

NEW THIS YEAR: Experience a flashlight show to celebrate fireflies at the Firefly Festival on June 5 and find butterflies at Butterfly Field ID on Aug. 11.

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