The Top Free Family Attractions in St. Louis Area

Published: November 15, 2014

The St. Louis metro area is full of free attractions.  Many families have not taken the time to enjoy all that St. Louis has to offer.  Pack a lunch, and get out of the house to enjoy all of the areas finest gems.  

  1. The St. Louis Zoo

    The St. louis Zoo is first on my list because it has an amazing amount of family fun.  You can spend your whole day enjoying the nearly 5000 animals that the zoo has to offer.  Gather the family, pack a lunch, and come take a look at all the St. Louis Zoo has to offer.  Just try to avoid the gift shops or the food stands.  Just like most of the places on my list,  the concession stands are extremely over priced.  The zoo is open every day of the week from 9am to 5pm with extended hours in the summer.  

  2. The St. Louis Science Center

    The St. Louis Science Center has so much for a family to explore.  From it's giant mechanical dinosaurs, to it's radar guns over the highway, there is something for everyone to enjoy.  Let your kids learn by touching and doing.  When you walk into the building you will not know where to first start your adventure.  It is free, but if you want to experience the Omnimax giant screen you will have to spend some money.  Although, you do not have to do this in order to enjoy your time.   The Science Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and Sunday 11am to 4:30pm.  

  3. Cahokia Mounds

    Take a step back in time at Cahokia Mounds.  This site is both beautiful and educational.  Bring your family to learn about the Native American tribe that once lived here.  The museum is full of artifacts that have been found on archeological digs at this location.  After making your way through the many sites to see in the museum, make your way over to Monks Mound.  Climb up to the top and look out for miles and miles.  Enjoy the St. Louis sky line from a distance.  Cahokia Mounds is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm, and the grounds close at 8pm or dusk.  

  4. Grants Farm

    Grants farm has 281 acres and hundreds of animals to keep your family greatly entertained.  When you first get to the park, you will be taken in by a train that gives you a guide of some of the animals that live here.  It is also home of the budweiser clydsdales.  You will be amazed at the size of these horses.  Grants farm also offers free beer tasting for the adults in the bunch.  Grants farm is open on weekends and every day but monday in the summer.   Be aware that parking does cost money.  

  5. The St. Louis Art Museum

    The Art Museum offers a collection of 30,000 incrediable works of art.  This is just one of the many sites forest park has to offer.  Have a picnic with the family and walk to the museum.  The museum is open 10am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday.  On Fridays, the museum is open until 9pm. 

  6. The Missouri History Museum

    Come give your family a history lesson to be remembered.  There is plenty to do and see at The Missouri History Museum.  Learn about the 1904 world fair, or about Lewis and Clark.  You will not leave this place disapointed.  The Museum is open Friday through Monday 10am to 5pm, and Tuesday. Wednesday, and Thursday until 8pm.  


  7. The Muny

    There are 1500 free seats at the Muny.  If you get there early enough, and have a bit of luck, you will score a free performance.  The Muny has seven musicals each year.  This probably isn't the best family attraction for families with small children.  However, if you are lucky enought to have a date night, or have older children, THe Muny is a perfect night out.  Come to the gate at 7pm for the free seats.  Shows start at 8:15 pm. 

  8. World Bird Sanctuary

    If you've ever wanted to see the american bald eagle up close, this is the place.  You will also find hawks, falcons, vultures, owls and much more.  Get an up close view of some of these incredible birds.  You will not be disapointed if you make this drive.  Also enjoy the drive through lone elk park located right next to it.  The Bird Sanctuary is open daily 8am to 5pm.  

  9. National Great Rivers Museum

    Set along the great mississippi river, National Great Rivers Museum is a place for the whole family to come and see.  The exhibits are interactive and educational.  Learn about the Mississippi while exploring and learning. Learn about the many people who have settled along the river throughout history.  Rivers have been key to transportation, and seen much history.  The Mississippi has a huge rule in St. louis history. Come see and learn all that this museum has to offer.  The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm.  It is not open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Years.  

  10. Museum of Westward Expansion & Old Courthouse

    Another educational experience for the family, the Museum of Westward Expansion will take you through some of the great history of the area.  Learn about Lewis and Clark, and the pioneers who expanded westward.  Visiting the top of the arch does cost money, but the museum is free for all.  Walk across the street to see another free attraction.  The Old Courthouse is the site of the famous Dred Scott slavery trial.  While there you can take a tour of some of the restored old courtrooms.  The Museum of Westward Expansion is open daily from 9am to 6pm.  The Old Courthouse is open daily 8am from 4:30pm.  

Some of these will take up more of your day such as the zoo, science center, or grants farm.  These are all great free family fun filled attractions.  A few may be best for a couple looking for an affordable date like the Muny or any of the museums.  Many of these places could be combined as a day exploring the great attractions St. Louis metro area has to offer.  You do not have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.  So pack up a family picnic, and get out to see some of these great free attractions.