St. Louis, Missouri, offers more free major attractions than any place besides Washington D. C. Here are some suggestions that are suitable for all members of the family.
The Saint Louis Zoo dates back to the 1904 World’s Fair, and today consists of 90 acres of 19,000 wild animals and 655 species. The Zoo brings in 3 million visitors each year. It is one of the few free zoos in the United States. The Zoo consists of 5 “zones,” each focusing on a specific theme and animal grouping. You can see elephants, cheetahs, hyenas, penguins, bears, primates, birds, reptiles, zebras, giraffes, antelope, lions, sting-rays, tigers, and almost any other animal you may like to see. A petting area, animal shows, and educational exhibits are also available for your enjoyment.
The Saint Louis Art Museum was founded in 1879. Today, the Museum boasts over 33,000 works of art, including collections such as African American Art, Ancient Art, Modern Art, photographs, prints, and drawings and exhibitions such as Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone Sea, Edward Curtis’ Visions Of Native America, and Yoko Ono’s ongoing Wish Tree project. Also available to visitors are lectures, classes, seminars, workshops, and gallery talks.
The Saint Louis Science Center originated with the James S. McDonnell Planetarium in 1963. In 1991, it was the most visited science center in the world. Today the Science Center has grown to over 300,000 square feet with over 750 exhibits and spans Interstate 64 with a pedestrian bridge over the highway containing some of the exhibits and galleries. Other exhibits include the Life Science Lab, the Ecology and Environment Gallery, the Cyberville gallery, the Discovery Room for families, and the Omnimax Theater.
The Missouri History Museum consists of the Missouri History Museum and the Library and Research Center. The Museum collections include native artifacts, colonial artifacts, Lewis and Clark Expedition artifacts, Charles Lindbergh items, and Louisiana Purchase Exposition artifacts. The Library contains an extensive genealogy and local history collection.
Everyone wants to see the Clydesdales at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery! You don’t have to be 21 to tour the Brewery. All ages are welcome. Tours are given year-round, and you can see how beer is brewed and packaged, learn about the architecture of the 125 year old buildings, and see the world-renowned Clydesdales. Adults can sample the brews at the end of the tour.
The Old Courthouse was originally completed in 1828 and updated in 1862. Now a museum and part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the Old Courthouse contains exhibits and murals depicting historic events. It was the site of the historic Dred Scott case (slavery), and the Virginia Minor case (women’s voting rights).
Grant’s Farm animal preserve is a 281 acre historic landmark in St. Louis. Owned at one time by Ulysses S. Grant, and now by the Busch Family (of Anheuser-Busch fame), it is an animal reserve and sanctuary for 100 different species and 900 animals, such as buffalo (bison), elephants, camels, donkeys, goats, kangaroos, peacocks, deer, and many other animals, including the Clydesdales. A tram ride allows visitors to view many of these animals in a natural habitat- like setting. There is a petting zoo, a carousel, and a number of animal shows which the whole family will enjoy. Also on the property is a log cabin which was hand-build by Ulysses S. Grant, and White Haven, Grant’s home between the Mexican War and the U. S. Civil War. Over 24 million guests have visited the Farm.
Laumeier Sculpture Park is a 105 acre park that has an open-air museum containing over 70 outdoor sculptures, an indoor museum, a 1.4 mile walking trail, and summer camps for children. Also available are art, clay, painting, and sculpture classes.
The Lewis & Clark State Historic Site is actually located in Hartford, IL, about 10 miles from St. Louis. It is a reconstruction of Camp Dubois, which was the camp Lewis and Clark’s Expedition departed from in 1804. There is a 14,000 square foot interpretive center containing a theater, hands-on exhibits and displays, and a 55 foot cutaway of a keelboat.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is located in downtown St. Louis on the banks of the Mississippi River. The most famous feature of the Memorial is the Gateway Arch. The Memorial is on 90 acres of above-ground park areas while the majority of the facilities are underground. The Museum Of Westward Expansion is a huge exhibit of artifacts, animal specimens, and authentic Plains Indian life from the 1800s on and includes an overview of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Also available are theaters, shops, and other programs. You can take a tram ride to the top of the 630 ft. high Gateway Arch.