What To Do In St. Louis with Kids {Day 2}

Fun Things To Do with Kids in St. Louis

{Start with Day 1 over here}

When I asked for recommendations of family-friendly things to do in St. Louis last week, many of you were adamant about us visiting The City Museum. In fact to quote my friend, Katy, “If you don’t take the boys here, I cannot forgive you.”

free breakfast drury hotels best for families 

So after we stuffed our faces (literally i.e. Henry) with the FREE breakfast at The Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch, we headed there on the downtown trolley {$2 for adults/ $1 for kids all day pass – Much better than paying for parking and navigating traffic} to check it out for ourselves. 

city museum st louis roof tower

You guys, I don’t even know how to describe this place, so I’ll use pictures over my words, and then you just HAVE to promise me that you’ll go experience it all for yourselves. 

Now I get it.  I understand why this was so imperative to our trip.

city museum st. louis roof

If  urban + playground + industrial + art + adventure + eclectic + architecture + recycled + surreal + imagination + daring gave birth, this is what their child would look like.

city museum st louis roof climbing cages

The City Museum is housed in a 600,000 square foot abandoned International Shoe Company, and it’s an experience unlike any other of your life.

city museum outdoor playgroud and climbing

The outdoors features  anything from 10 story slides, to climbing cages, ball pits, a school bus hanging off the roof,  to two salvaged airplanes suspended high above the ground.  

city musuem st. louis indoor tree house

The inside of the museum is a twist of tree houses, caverns, caves,  and mazes.

city museum st louis ball pit

But the outdoor roof and the outdoor play land located in front of the building was where we spent the majority of our day. The boys preferred knowing where they were going, and being able to see what was coming over some of the darker and unfamiliar paths indoors.  Next time might be entirely different as they feel braver – we’ll see!

st louis city museum airplane

I promise I felt like I was having some strange dream at times, and my palms definitely got a little sweaty seeing my babies suspended so high above the ground. {And climbing up there myself.}

st louis city museum outdoor slides

A  Few Tips on Visiting The City Museum Based On Our Experience:

  • Bring kneepads for adults or purchase them for $4 in the gift shop.  Unfortunately, we found these gem of a souvenir at the end of the day when our knees had already taken a beating.
  • Dress comfortably.  Trade in the skinny jeans and riding boots for tennis shoes and workout clothes.
  • Bring a flashlight for the darker areas.
  • Ditch the purse or bag or check it in the coat check.  It will only drag you down.
  • Remind your kids to stick together and review what to do in case you get separated. Wear clothes that are easy to spot. Make sure they have your cell phone number memorized or have temporary ID Tattoos.
  • Wait until they are ready.  As much as I think the boys would have loved this even at a younger age, I think they were the perfect age to really enjoy it this year. For our family, it would have been a nightmare for us to keep track of them from age 4 and under, and they would not have been physically able to do some of the climbing. 
  • Let go. This museum for helicopter parents. Let your kids explore, be brave, and conquer their fears. 

Since the Government shutdown was officially over, we decided to check out the beautiful Old Courthouse, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Park on our way back to our hotel.

 old courthouse st. louis

Completed in 1828, the Old Courthouse was the site of much of our  history including the Dred Scott cases. It was a great history lesson for our boys on the Westward Expansion, The Underground Railroad, and our judicial system.

old courthouse national park jefferson miniture people

And since the National Parks were back open, we decided to check and see if it was possible to go up in The Gateway Arch. We expected it to be sold out, since it had been shutdown for over 2 weeks, but much to our surprise, we were able to purchase tickets for The Journey to the Top.

st.louis arch journey to the top elevators

That’s one tiny elevator for the tram ride to the top., not for the claustrophobic at heart for this 4 minute ride.

 view from below taken inside the st. louis arch

However, the views from the top are spectacular. The boys looooooved going up in the arch so much, and I’m so glad that our timing worked out.

view on top of the arch shaddow   

All of it made for one amazing family getaway – with so much off our list in a little over 24 hours.

Next time we hope to take in some of St. Louis’ famous eats as well these family-friendly attractions:

and more of your fabulous suggestions! 

st. louis gateway arch family picture  

We were so impressed what a family-friendly destination St. Louis is, and how many of their attractions are FREE.  Definitely something that we’ll come back for as a family of six!

So what’s the most Family-Friendly city YOU’VE visited?  We’d love to add it to our list to visit someday!


17 thoughts on "What To Do In St. Louis with Kids {Day 2}"

  1. Crystal says:

    I had so much fun following all of your pictures on Instagram! What a great trip. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  2. Valerie Walo says:

    I’m so thrilled you had such a wonderful time in my hometown. Having grown up in St. Louis, I was shocked to discover that other cities didn’t offer a free zoo, Science Center, and countless other places. St. Louis is such a wonderful place to raise a family and vacation as a family. I loved reading about your trip and hope it encourages others to visit as well!

  3. St. Louis is such a fun, family-friendly city! We stayed in the same hotel as you and visited many of the same sites, but yes – I can’t forgive parents with older kids who don’t make a trip to City Museum a priority! I’m so jealous of my friends that live in St. Louis that can go whenever they want! Great tips for visiting City Museum that I would agree with 100%. You know I’m a risky mama, but it even stretched my comfort level with letting my kids explore. Still, we all loved it and had the most amazing time there.

  4. Crystal says:

    Wow, that looks so cool!

  5. Charity says:

    Yay! So glad you had a good time in our home town! Next time…it will be a quad-family takeover Murray-Walker-Donovan style!!! 🙂

  6. I haven’t been to St Louis since having kids and I plan to take them someday.

    Our fave weekend getaway cities are Louisville and Fort Wayne.

  7. Emily Janz says:

    I LOVE the City Museum!! I went to St. Louis with a group of friends the year I graduated and we had so much fun there! I had heard a rumor that the Museum had been closed down. So glad its still open!

  8. The City Museum is definitely on our must-do-someday list! Great tips & ideas friend. My heart jumped up in my throat a little seeing the boys so high up just in the pictures. Also? The boys look incredibly grown up all of the sudden!

  9. katy says:

    I’m sooo glad you went to the City Museum! It changed your life, right? Changed mine for sure!!!


    So happy you enjoyed my hometown. Made me quite homesick for good old St, Louie.

  11. Keary says:

    My husband and I stopped at the city museum on the way back to Denver from dropping out daughter off at college in PA. We really enjoyed it, it is very eclectic and strange but fun at the same time. We also went up the arch and the claustrophobic elevator….We just stared out the window at the Mississippi river…no rivers in colorado that big….

  12. Sara C says:

    Beautiful photos – looks like you all had a lot of fun!

  13. Kim says:

    I went on a very similar trip to St. Louis with my (teen) boys this past Spring. Same hotel and everything. I called City Museum a post-apocalyptic playground. The outdoor portion was closed when we were there. They still had a blast. I can’t imagine watching four boys in that place. There are some heart-stopping moments.

    We’d like to go back, too. .

  14. ok, so this is fantastic. We’re not going on our annual spring break trip this year (womp, womp) but I think this would make a super fun mini-vaca for just a weekend. Thanks so much…bookmarking it for sure!

  15. Gail says:

    Looks like you all had a great time! I imagine the town was caught up in Cardinal fever when you visited.
    Annapolis, MD

  16. Angela says:

    What other hotels are good for families downtown?

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