A huge advantage to staying at home and raising children is being able to familiarize oneself with the city they live in. For me that city is none other than the great St.Louis, Missouri. After being home with Finn for the past year, I feel pretty well versed in kid-approved day trips in/around St.Louis. In my personal experience the following destinations are not only fun for the young ones but also for 'kids' of all ages. I now present you with The Ducks' Top Destinations for fun in St.Louis (in no particular order):
The St.Louis Zoo, Forest Park:
This is probably one of my favorite spots to go in St.Louis and I have sung its praises here and there and pretty much to anyone who will listen. This is my favorite zoo in the whole wide world and delicious icing on the zoo cake is that it is FREE. The St.Louis Zoo is the third largest in the country and is home to 22, 805 exotic animals many of them rare or endangered. Some of our favorite exhibits include the sea lion show, The river's edge (an elephant exhibit), and the big cat country. There is also a great children's zoo where kids can pet the animals and carousel, both of which are free the first hour of the day that they are open.
The Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove:
The Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark with 79 acres of beautiful scenic landscaping and structures. The entrance fee is $8 for adults and free to children 12 and under. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings it is free to everyone. Some of Finn's favorite activities include feeding the giant Koi fish in the Japanese Gardens and running through the maze gardens. The Botanical Gardens can even be a great winter destination with a visit through the Climatron, a glass geodesic dome through which you can stroll through even when there is snow on the ground.
Grant's Farm South Saint Louis:
Animal shows, a tram ride through the wildlife preserve and a petting area...what more could a kid want? It is home to more than 100 different species from 6 different continents. The farm is owned and operated by the Anheuser-Busch family estate and was once owned by former president, Ulysses S. Grant of whom the Farm is named after . It is free to all ages and there is no reservation required.
The Delmar Loop (named after the old streetcar turnaround), University City:
The street known as Delmar Blvd (Soon to be Barack Obama Blvd.) is a destination in itself. Founder Joe Edwards, music promoter and one of Johns hero's, single-handedly turned one of St.Louis sagging neighbors around 30 years ago turning it into a cultural attraction today. The Loop has something for everyone: great little one-of-a-kind inexpensive restaurants, playgrounds, unique stores, and theatres. One of our family's favorite jaunts in the loop is a record store called Vintage Vinyl. It has music stations set up with headphones and new music available to listen to on the spot. Anyone can download music clips from youtube or itunes but in my opinion nothing beats a good old fashioned headphone in the record store experience.
The Gateway Arch, Downtown St.Louis:
Although Finn has yet to visit The Arch in downtown St.Louis, this is an attraction for older kiddos and is not be missed. Standing 630 ft. tall, The Arch is our nations tallest man-made monument and has plenty of exciting activities. You can take a tram ride to the top, see a documentary film about the history of the Arch, or explore the Lewis and Clark exhibit. The Arch has been one of St. Louis most popular tourist attraction since it was built in October 1965.