When it comes to summer fun, St. Louis makes it easy to be a kid—or stay young at heart. Follow this family-friendly guide to the city’s best summer attractions for kids—and their parents.


City Museum

Let your imagination wander free in City Museum’s multi-level maze of play. Kids—and adults—fall in love with this one-of-a-kind fun house’s interactive sculptures, tunnels and slides.


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.

Information: 231-2489, citymuseum.org


• Favorite exhibits: Reach new heights while weaving through the whimsical outdoor interactive sculpture and playground, MonstroCity. And travel to the museum’s depths with the multi-floor Enchanted Caves' labyrinth of tunnels. Then take a thrilling ride back down to the play house’s floor via the 10-story Spiral Slide.

• After-dark access: Explore this awe-inspiring museum at night with SLUMBERCITY Family Overnight on July 14. A $33 per person ticket includes a pizza dinner, breakfast buffet, activities, museum exploration and parking.


The Magic House

There’s a fun surprise in every corner of The Magic House, the top-rated St. Louis children’s museum. And parents can rest assured—the hands-on activities are educational, too!


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 in Kirkwood

Cost: $9.50 for ages 1 and older. Group and member rates also available. Free parking. Free Family Nights by Emerson the third Friday evening of every month from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Information: 822-8900, magichouse.org


• Favorite exhibits: The Magic House has hundreds of hands-on exhibits, including classics such as the Shadow Wall and the three-story slide, as well as some new favorites—the Star-Spangled Center where you can become the president and the three-story magical Beanstalk climber.

• New this year: The museum recently opened a new Aquaponics system in the Sunshine Classroom, as well as a Calming Corner area for nursing moms and kids with special needs. Other newer areas include a Rams Training Center and newly expanded Art Studio.

• Limited-time attractions: From June 8 to Sept. 22, The Magic House is hosting Once Upon a Time, Exploring the World of Fairy Tales, an educational exhibit focusing on the significance of fairy tales throughout history from around the world. From an African jungle to a giant’s castle, visitors explore larger-than-life pages of seven favorite fairy tales. And through June 30, the museum's backyard has once again been transformed into a beachfront park. At Sandcastle Beach, visitors can take a stroll along the boardwalk, search for seashells and build a sandcastle.


Saint Louis Zoo

With dozens of new baby animals and the sea lion show schedule in full swing, visitors are clamoring to the nationally lauded Saint Louis Zoo.


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

Where: 1 Government Drive in Forest Park

Cost: Free admission; parking, $12

Information: 781-0900, stlzoo.org


• Favorite exhibits: The year-old Sea Lion Sound habitat and arena has quickly become a main attraction, featuring action-packed performances and a 35-foot underwater viewing tunnel. Also at the zoo, touch a stingray at Carribean Cove, ride along the Emerson Zooline Railroad and dance the night away at Jungle Boogie concerts every Friday from 5-8 p.m.

• New this year: This spring, the zoo has welcomed dozens of baby animals—a female baby elephant, Priya; a male Bactrian camel, Stan; two Speke’s gazelles; two Humboldt penguins; a mountain bongo; and more.


Butterfly House

View more than 80 butterfly species flying amidst tropical plants and participate in outdoor learning activities at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House.


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

Where: 15193 Olive Blvd., Faust Park, Chesterfield

Cost: $6, adults; $5, seniors; $4, kids ages 3-12; free, kids ages 2 and younger.

Information: 636-530-0076, butterflyhouse.org


• Favorite exhibits: Explore the tropical conservatory, where more than 2,000 tropical butterflies are in flight; and step into the Emerson Family Theater for the film, The Butterfly Effect.

• Signature events: Celebrate the earth’s living lanterns at the Firefly Festival on June 5, 12 and 19; learn about native insects at the sixth annual Bug Hunt on July 20 and 21; and enjoy games and a locally grown lunch at Pollinator Picnics on June 16, July 14 and Aug. 18.


Saint Louis Science Center

James S. McDonnell Planetarium is 50 years old, and the Saint Louis Science Center is celebrating by bringing back fan favorites, as well as hosting an array of new exhibits and events.


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. The first Friday of every month, enjoy free activities throughout the center from 6-10 p.m. and see a free science fiction movie at 10 p.m.

Information: 289-4400, slsc.org


• Favorite exhibits: Immerse yourself in movies with the five-story dome screen of OMNIMAX Theater. Now showing: Air Racers, Flight of the Butterflies, Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs and more.

• New this year: Experience the return of LASERIUM, a colorful cosmic laser light concert at the Planetarium. And unravel the mystery of Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science, a new interactive exhibit featuring hands-on challenges, authentic artifacts and guidance from real archaeologists who use modern science and technology to understand the ancient civilization.


Grant’s Farm and Purina Farms

To take a break from the bustling city, families can head to nearby Grant’s Farm and Purina Farms to experience country life and interact with a range of animals.

Grant’s Farm


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; $25, Clydesdale tours; $12, parking

Information: 843-1700, grantsfarm.com


• Featured events: Take a behind-the-scenes stable tour to interact with Clydesdales. Additional Animal Encounters are at 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily, along with Elephant Education at 11:15 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. daily.

• Additional highlights: Climb aboard the farm’s classic carousel, take a camel ride and stop into the new candy shop for a treat.


Purina Farms


Memorial Day to Labor Day hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: 200 Checkerboard Drive, Gray Summit

Cost: Free admission and parking

Information: 982-3232, purinafarms.com


• Favorite features: Experience action-packed live dog shows daily in The Incredible Dog Arena. And at the Visitor’s Center, take a wagon ride and pet baby animals in the Animal Barn and Hayloft Play Area.

• Festival fun: Countrytime Bluegrass Festival and Kids’ Country Carnival will feature free live music and backyard kids’ games on June 15 and 16.


Missouri Botanical Garden

Explore the natural world through hands-on kids’ activities at the Missouri Botanical Garden.


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

Where: 4344 Shaw Blvd.

Cost: $4, kids and adults; $3, seniors; free, kids 12 and younger; Children’s Garden, $5, kids

Information: 577-5100 or mobot.org


• Favorite exhibits: Venture through the Children’s Garden, featuring a tree house, splash area, steamboat, limestone cave, Midwestern prairie village and wetlands.

• Featured events: Savor your summer with free daily Foodology events, including Family Food Saturdays and Spicy Sundays. For some outdoor tunes, head to the free Whitaker Music Festival Concert Series running throughout the summer at the garden’s Cohen Amphitheater.


Saint Louis Art Museum

Tap into your creativity at Saint Louis Art Museum, which is offering a slate of hands-on activities and workshops for kids this summer.


When: Saturdays and Sundays monthly

Where: 1 Fine Arts Drive

Cost: Free admission; $8-$10 workshops

Information: 721-0072 or slam.org


Favorite features: Each Sunday afternoon beginning at 2:30 p.m., families are invited to enjoy hands-on art activities and a lively 30-minute tour through the galleries. Exhibits currently on view include Mantegna to Man Ray: Six Explorations in Prints, Drawings, and Photographs and New Media Series—Hiraki Sawa: Migration.

Family fun: Families can create art together during monthly Saturday workshops June 1 and 8, and Family Sundays, themed Rock, Paper, and Scissors in June, on June 2, 9, and 16.


Gateway Arch Riverboat Cruises

For expansive views of the St. Louis skyline, Arch and Mississippi River, take your family aboard the historic Gateway Arch Riverboats.


When: Multiple daily departure times

Where: 707 N. First St.

Cost: $14, adults; $8, kids; free, kids 2 and younger

Information: 877-982-1410 or gatewayarch.com


• Favorite features: Hear the history of St. Louis as you ride along the Mississippi River on an hour-long sightseeing cruise. And save on your riverboat ride when you also journey to the top of the Arch for a bird’s eye view of the city.

• Signature events: Fun for the whole family, specialty summer cruises include Sunday Brunch Cruises with a buffet and live Dixieland Band; and Fireworks Cruises to celebrate the Fourth of July.

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