My husband and I love to travel and recently we’ve begun booking more trips that involve our children. At ages 4 and 5, they are finally old enough that we don’t have to pack all of the baby gear, so it’s really fun to take them!
Our most recent trip was to St. Louis, Missouri. This is about a 5-hour drive from our home, so we did this trip over a 3-day weekend. Following is our itinerary of the activities that were really worthwhile!
Day 1 – City Museum
City Museum is a 600,000 square-foot playground. Housed in the former International Shoe Company building in downtown St. Louis, the museum is an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects.
This is truly one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Every detail is artistic and nothing is off-limits for kids.
I recommend this enthusiastically, but I also advise you to write your phone number on your child’s body, as they will get lost at some point. You should also wear closed-toed shoes and clothes you do not mind getting dirty. This is a dream for a boy mom, as the physical activity combined with the use of imagination is unbelievably cool.
City museum has activities for all ages, and I recommend you find what your family would like to do in advance. There are many tunnels and slides that would scare very little children and that adults would not fit into.
We stayed here approximately 6 hours, which was enough to do most of the museum and eat a meal. The food isn’t anything special, but it wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t overly pricey, either.
The second day of our trip was a HOT one. We started our morning at the beautiful St. Louis Zoo!
The zoo is large and there is a lot of walking, so I recommend a stroller if your kids aren’t up for a fast pace. There is also a train, but the lines were fairly long so it’s great for the experience but not so much for transportation.
My children loved feeding the sting rays at the new exhibit. We were able to spend quite a bit of time touching the sting rays, which is pretty special for us land-locked Midwesterners!
We ate lunch and ice cream at the zoo, then decided to head somewhere indoors in hopes of cooler temperatures!
About 5 minutes away from the zoo is the St. Louis Science Center. We were very hot and tired by the time we got there, and our expectations were a little low for this place. Boy, were we wrong!
There were many cool exhibits, but the interactive science experiments were even better. We were able to build things, touch things, and ask lots of questions.
When my 4-year old got a little cranky, we went to the planetarium to lie in the cool, dark room and learn about space and constellations. It was the closest thing to a nap anyone experienced on this trip and it was priceless!
Both the zoo and the science center have free admission, which might be why we were pleasantly surprised by our experiences there. There were some costs involved in our experience – like parking, sting ray exhibit, planetarium, snacks, etc., but it was a fairly inexpensive day.
Day 3 – Gateway Arch
Built in the 1960’s, this is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. It is referred to as the “Gateway to the West” because of its symbolism in the role of westward expansion.
The history lesson was lost on my children. But, they did love taking the tiny tram to the top – God bless the poor woman who had to ride with us – and they especially enjoyed looking out of the windows at the top of the arch to see the views of the city.
There is a lot of grassy area around the arch where people picnicked and played frisbee. We loaded up on snow cones, then ran off the last of our energy before heading home.
If you haven’t been to St. Louis, I definitely recommend the trip. We were busy and entertained the entire time. My family is already asking when we can go back!