Free Things to Do in St. Louis

August 22nd, 2019 by

St. Louis Skyline

Are you looking for something new and exciting to do this summer in or around St. Louis? Not looking to spend an arm and a leg? We’re here to help. Check out our top suggestions for things to do in St. Louis and enjoy family time without killing off your budget in the process. And if you’re staying in town, you might want to book your stay at one of these nearby O’Fallon hotels.

The St. Louis Zoo

Ranked by USA Today as one of the best zoos in the country, the St. Louis Zoo offers free admission that allows you to explore most of the main exhibits, such as Penguin and Puffin Coast and the baby elephants at River’s Edge, but there is a small fee to access special sections, such as the Children’s Zoo.

While entry to the zoo is free, parking there may not be! If you’re hoping to save, you can find limited street parking nearby in Forest Park. Although there is plenty of food inside the park, you’re more than welcome to pack your own picnic basket or cooler!

The St. Louis Science Center

If you have a budding scientist in the crew, or you just like to get hands-on yourself, the St. Louis Science Center in Forest Park is the place to be. Admission to the Center is always free and allows visitors to explore the main exhibits, but there is a fee to visit the OMNIMAX theater. Are you visiting with toddlers or younger children? Make sure to visit the Discovery Room. With a two-story rocket-shaped playground and tons of fun hands-on activities, it’ll entertain even the most rambunctious little ones!

Planning a visit? They’re open from 9:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. on weekdays and on Saturday. They open a little later on Sundays but stay open until the same time, so it’s easy to plan a full day of learning. Interested in treating your kids to a little something extra? Their Summer Value Package gives you one Virtual Reality Transporter Ticket, one Flight Simulator or one 360 Ride, and one Planetarium Star Show ticket–all for just $17.95.

Do you have a feeling that your toddler is more interested in the arts than the sciences? If so, you’ll have to try out one of the Saturday morning Stroller Tours at the CAM! With tons of innovative work on display, you’ll have just as much fun as the kids. Although it isn’t a free thing to do in St. Louis, it’s just $5 per child.

Gateway Geyser

Across the river in East St. Louis is the second largest fountain in the world. The Gateway Geyser, located in Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, reaches heights of up to 630 feet, the same as the Gateway Arch. The fountain and surrounding green space provide a relaxing refuge from the chaos of modern city life, and an ideal location to enjoy the city’s skyline. If you’ve ever wanted to have a picnic on the banks of the Mississippi, you’ll love laying back in this wide-open green space.

Cahokia Mounds

Located down the road in Caseyville, Cahokia Mounds is the site of one of the largest pre-European cities in the western hemisphere, and the site of some of the hemisphere’s largest earthworks, too. Once home to as many as 20,000 people, Cahokia is now a cultural center and active archaeological site with an interpretive center and guided tours. Entry is free, although donations are appreciated.

Wondering what you should do while you’re here? Start with a hike up one of the nearby trails, take in Monk’s Mound in all its majesty, or enjoy a self-guided tour around the grounds. There’s also the Interpretive Center where you and your crew can learn about the Mississippian culture and explore archaeological findings.

Central Public Library

Free live musical performances, storytimes, kid’s summer camps, family activities, and more than a century of history make the St. Louis’ central library more than a repository for your favorite books, it’s the heart and soul of family-friendly fun in the city and, with the exception of certain special group programs, free for everyone. A trip to this gorgeous library could form the foundation for a lifelong fascination with learning, and for that reason, it’s one of the top things to do with toddlers in St. Louis.

LaBarque Creek

If you’re heading out toward Madison, the LaBarque Creek Conservation Area should definitely be on your list of things to see and do. With nearly 2000 acres of wildland, visitors can get up close with wet-weather waterfalls, more than 40 species of wild birds, 400 types of plants, and a wide variety of terrains to explore.

Contact Auffenberg Volkswagen for More Suggestions

Get more suggestions for your time in St. Louis or find things to do near O’Fallon in the springtime, or year-round at Auffenberg Volkswagen. Check out our picks for the best concert venues in St. Louis!

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