St. Louis, Missouri is a great city that is packed full of activities that families will love. My family recently had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in St. Louis as part of Trekaroo’s Troo American Road Trip. It was me – one mom, six kids, 8,000 miles and a kangaroo. During our stop in St. Louis we got to enjoy some uniquely St. Louis experiences. So, if you are trying to catch a weekend’s worth of highlights, here are five things that should be on your don’t-miss list!
1. VISIT THE ST. LOUIS ZOO!
The St. Louis Zoo is consistently rated as one of the top zoos for families in the United States and it is easy to see why — the zoo is home to outstanding exhibits of more than 650 species of animals! Their large, open enclosures make the animals easy for kids to see, and zookeepers are stationed throughout the zoo to explain the animals’ natural habitats and behaviors and answer any questions that your kids may have. There’s a great railroad ride that you can take to circle the 90-acre zoo, a zoo-animal-themed carousel, and a fantastic children’s zoo that allows kids to get up close to pet and interact with the animals.
And the best part of all? The zoo is absolutely free! Parking is $15/car, and admission to the railroad, carousel, and children’s zoo is extra, but I recommend purchasing the Safari pass for $10/person which allows you unlimited access to each of these attractions as well as the 4-D motion simulator and Stingray encounter.
2. YOU CAN’T VISIT ST. LOUIS WITHOUT TRAVELING TO THE TOP OF THE GATEWAY ARCH!
The Gateway Arch, which was completed in 1965 to celebrate St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West,” serves as an iconic landmark in this great city. Visitors can ride up in small space-aged-looking “pods” that follow the track along the curve of the arch to take visitors to the observation deck at the top. Pods are designed to hold five visitors, but we were easily able to fit my family of seven inside for the four-minute ride to the top of the arch. National Park Service Rangers were available to answer questions, share insights about arch construction, and point out some of the monuments that we could see 630-ft below.
The visitor’s center below the arch contains the Museum of Western Expansion, a set of exhibits chronicling the journey of Lewis and Clark as they mapped out a path through the Western territory all the way to the Pacific Ocean. We purchased tickets to see the giant screen movie of the Lewis & Clark expedition, which my kids found to be fascinating.
3. EXPLORE THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
The mighty Mississippi makes its way past the city of St. Louis, and serves as the backdrop of so many tales, movies, and books about our country that I couldn’t wait to travel upon it! Riding the “Tom Sawyer” riverboat replica on the Mississippi River was a definite highlight for me, and I loved hearing the stories shared by our guide about the history of the Mississippi as well as how the river is currently used for industry. Visitors can grab a box lunch at the dock before boarding or can purchase snacks on the boat during the one-hour sightseeing cruise.
4. CATCH A CARDINALS BALLGAME — FROM YOUR HOTEL ROOM WINDOW!
Truly the highlight of our entire weekend in St. Louis was having the opportunity to watch the Cardinals take on the Dodgers at Busch Stadium, but instead of watching the game from seats at the field, we had a far more exciting view. Our hotel room at Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark actually overlooked the stadium, and my kids were beyond thrilled to watch the game this way!
We brought along binoculars so that they could get a better view of the action, and we tuned into the on-air broadcast on the TV in the room, which served as an instant replay of the entire game as the broadcast is slightly delayed, but my kids were enthralled. For us, the comfort of being in your hotel room, and easy access to dinner and snacks while watching the game rivals any ballpark seat!
5. SAMPLE ST. LOUIS FARE!
While visiting St. Louis you’ll definitely want to try some of the signature foods that the city is known for, such as the thin crust pizzas. (We ordered ours from Imo’s Pizzeria in the lobby of Hilton at the Ballpark to enjoy while watching the game!) Another St. Louis favorite that kids will love — toasted raviolis. And of course, you’ll want to grab some of St. Louis’ famous BBQ during your stay!
Sharon Rowley is a Trekaroo Superoo and a busy Mom of six children ages 7-12. People often ask her “How do you do it?” This summer, Sharon has embarked on a 8,000 mile, four week “Great American Road Trip” with her six kids in the Trekaroomobile.
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.