Fabulous and free in St Louis
St Louis, Missouri, is a great family-friendly destination. Not only does the metropolitan area boast three professional sports teams, an awesome national landmark and a population of nearly 2.9 million (that makes it the largest in Missouri), but it also has all of the amenities and fun a family of any size can ask for! Better yet, many of the city's top attractions are available at no cost. Read on to find out what they are, and to start planning your trip.
St Louis Zoo
The St Louis Zoological Park, which opened in 1904, is a sprawling 90 acres of animal paradise located in the city's Forest Park. Admission is free and will grant you entrance into exhibits of over 5000 animals from all over the world (there is a fee for parking). The exhibits are all packed into the park nicely so you don't have to walk a half mile to see the next group of animals. Many exhibits are open and natural, meaning there aren't bars beween you and the bears (but rest assured, they cannot get to you and your children -- modern zoo design encourages the less-restrictive open cages but measures have been taken, such as moats and sheer walls, to keep them from getting loose).
Website: St Louis Zoo
Address: One Government Drive, St Louis, MO 63110
Phone: (314) 781-0900
St Louis Science Center
Also located in Forest Park, the St Louis Science center is another awesome freebie that offers tons of hands-on fun for the entire family. Admission is free but there is a fee for parking, and it's an excellent way to spend a day indoors with your kids. As an added bonus, you can walk across the busy Interstate 64 via an enclosed walkway which has speedometers you can use on the cars zooming by, as well as windows on the floor.
Address: 5050 Oakland Avenue, St Louis MO 63110
Phone: (314) 289-4400
Website: St Louis Science Center
The famous Budweiser Cyldesdales aren't the only animals to see at the 281-acre Grant's Farm just a little southwest of the heart of St Louis! Admission, tram rides and entertainment is free -- but again, there is a fee for parking. Shows include elephants as well as other interactive animal encounters. Animals at the farm include buffalo, peacocks, elephants, donkeys, camels and goats.
Address: 10501 Gravois Rd., St Louis, MO 63123
Phone: (314) 843-1700
Website: Grant's Farm
World Bird Sanctuary
Free admission and free parking are just some of the features at the World Bird Sanctuary. You will find bald eagles, falcons, vultures and other large birds of prey. It was began as a raptor rehabilitation project in the 70s and continues today, nursing these magnificient creatures back to health and offering them a place to live if they are unable to be returned to the wild.
Address: 125 Bald Eagle Ridge Road, Valley Park, MO 63088
Phone: (636) 225-4390
Website: World Bird Sanctuary