St. Louis families are keeping one of the country’s best-kept secrets — from the Gateway Arch to incredible indoor play spots, nature centers and museums, this Missouri city has no shortage of fun things to do with kids.

We love St. Louis for its long list of kid-friendly places to visit, including incredible zoos, farmers markets, museums, and gardens — but that doesn’t mean it’s all worth visiting.  We’ve gathered our picks for the very best things for families to do in St. Louis that are definitely worth your time.

St. Louis Zoo

A visit to the St. Louis zoo would be worth an admission price, but amazingly the zoo is totally free. With more than 16,000 animals, many of them are rare and endangered, the zoo is renowned for its innovative approaches to caring for animals, conservation, research, and education. Tip: admission is free, but there are lots of extras you can pay for, like a train ride, various animal attractions (such as the penguin show), and the 4-D theater. An $11 adventure pass gets you access to everything at the Zoo.

1 Government Dr
Saint Louis, MO 63110-1332
(314) 781-0900

City Museum

This incredible 600,000 square-foot museum has to be seen to believe. One part fun house, one part playground, the entire place was built by internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly. Every area (and there are tons) is built using found objects. The entire family (parents included!) will love everything. Tip: bring $10 cash for parking in the lot.

701 N 15th St
Saint Louis, MO 63103-1925
(314) 231-2489

The Magic House

Just outside the city, you’ll find the Magic House, a hands-on children’s museum great for kids 11 and under. In addition to hundreds of stationary exhibits, the museum stays fresh by frequently rotating in new exhibits. Kids will want to return again and again.

516 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-5926
(314) 822-8900

Missouri History Museum’s History Clubhouse

Another awesome free destination for kids, the History Clubhouse is made just for touching. Kids can learn history while playing; walk through a replica of downtown, take a trolley ride, and pilot a steamboat on the Mississippi River, to name a few.

5700 Lindell Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63112-1004
(314) 746-4599

The National Museum of Transportation

All kids love cars, boats, planes, and trains, and they’ll love this museum just as much. There’s a ton to see and climb on, making it a great way to spend a couple of hours.

2933 Barrett Station Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-3301
(314) 965-6212

Soulard Farmers Market

This fabulous, open-air market is open Wednesday – Saturday year round. Nearly 150 vendors sell fresh produce, meat, seafood, cheese, snacks, baked goods, spices, flowers, pets, and other merchandise. It’s a feast for the eyes and your belly!

730 Carroll St
Saint Louis, MO 63104-3808
(314) 622-4180

Missouri Botanical Garden

This huge, 79-acre botanical garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden and considered an oasis within the city limits. There are a variety of attractions to keep the whole family entertained, including a garden specifically for kids.

4344 Shaw St
Saint Louis, MO 63110-2291
(314) 577-5100

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Kids tend to like anything out-of-the-ordinary, and they’ll love the 60 large-scale outdoor sculptures at Laumeier for that exact reason. Housed in a 105-acre park located in the heart of St. Louis County, the park is free and peaceful. It’s also a great photo opportunity!

12580 Rott Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63127-1230
(314) 821-1209

The Best Upcoming Events for Kids in St. Louis

If you’re looking for events and activities, don’t miss our local St. Louis family events calendar, which has everything from story times to seasonal activities like apple picking, pumpkin patches, and Christmas tree farms.