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St. Louis, Missouri With Kids Without Breaking the Bank

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The Gateway Arch and Cardinals baseball probably come to mind when you think of St. Louis, but there is oh-so-much more to see and do here. This family-friendly destination is situated in heart the Midwest, making it a convenient road trip destination from numerous U.S. cities. Best of all? Many St. Louis, Missouri attractions for families with kids are free! Here’s what you need to see and do in St. Louis, Missouri with kids without breaking the bank.

Feeding goats at Grant's Farm in St. Louis, Missouri with kids

Feeding goats at Grant’s Farm (Photo credit: Melissa Mitchell)

Head to a Farm

Located in the suburbs of St. Louis, Grant’s Farm was once the home to the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Now owned by the Busch family (yes, Anheuser-Busch!), the farm’s 281 acres are filled with 900 animals including kangaroos, giant tortoises, and elephants. My toddler’s favorite activity here is feeding milk to goats at the Tier Garten. The carousel and Clydesdales are a big hit too. Head to the Bauernhof to get free beer for Mom and Dad! Guests aged 21 and older can enjoy complimentary samples of Anheuser-Busch products. There is a fee for parking but admission is free.

Play in the Park

Spend some time outdoors at the massive Forest Park. At 1,293 acres it is bigger than Central Park in New York. More than 12 million people visit Forest Park a year. Rent bicycles or Segways, play a game of baseball or a round of golf, or kick back and listen to one of the many concerts held here. One of my favorite spots is the Jewel Box, an unbelievable greenhouse full of trees, tropical flowers, and fountains.

Missouri History Museum ~ St. Louis with Kids

The Missouri History Museum (Photo credit: Melissa Mitchell)

Tour a Trio of Museums

The St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum are free and fun for families. Both offer special activities and workshops for children. If science is more your thing, check out the free St. Louis Science Center, which is home to a Planetarium, over 700 exhibits, and an Omnimax Theater.

Visit the Animals

Whenever I tell people the St. Louis Zoo is free, they wrongly expect it to a sub-par zoo. The impressive St. Louis Zoo is home to over 24,000 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. The Penguin and Puffin Coast is full of these tuxedoed birds splashing and swimming before you. River’s Edge is a 10-acre river environment filled with rhinos, hippos, elephants and more. There are small fees for additional activities like the Zooline Railroad, Children’s Zoo, Carousel, and Sea Lion Show.

The St. Louis Gateway Arch ~ St. Louis with Kids on a Budget

The famous St. Louis Gateway Arch (Photo credit: Melissa Mitchell)

Top the Arch

Of course, no stop to St. Louis is complete without visiting the Gateway Arch Riverfront. The Arch is the nation’s tallest monument at 630 feet. Getting to the top is easy and the queue is kid-friendly with lots of great things to look at. Trams to the top also leave every 10 minutes and the actual ride to the top takes just four minutes. Once at the top, stay up there for as long as you like to enjoy the views.

Discover Lewis and Clark

Back down on the ground, explore the Museum of Westward Expansion. Learn how the land looked when Lewis and Clark set off on their journey and discover the history of Native American population and the West. My son loved running around and looking at all the different scenes here.

Explore the River

The Riverfront is just steps away from the Gateway Arch. Walk the Riverfront and check out the plentiful shops and restaurants. Then hop on a replica steamboat and sail down the Mississippi River. Not only do you get to listen to the history of the Mississippi River but also you can take in the beautiful scenery along the shores.

Have you ever visited St. Louis, Missouri with kids? Do you have any family-friendly, budget tips or questions for visiting this city? Let us know in the comments below!

Melissa Mitchell is a stay-at-home mom and blogger living in St. Louis, Missouri. Melissa writes on her blog Sippy Cup Mom about the adventures of raising a toddler! When not blogging, you can find her spending time with her family, planning her next Disney vacation and cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals. A social media addict, you can also find her on Twitter at @SippyCupMom.

  1. Carrie with Children says

    St. Louis sounds like so much fun! I can’t believe that their zoo is free! What a great affordable activity for families!

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