Flying Under the Radar: Three Exciting St. Louis Family Attractions You May Have Missed
St. Louis enjoys a strong reputation as a great family vacation town. With good reason—the area has loads of exciting places to visit with kids.
The world class Saint Louis Zoo, the nationally known St. Louis Science Center, the renowned Saint Louis Art Museum, the ever-fascinating Missouri History Museum and perennial favorite Grants Farm offer not only free general admission but many free programs and activities.
Families can find many free and low-cost things to do in dozens of St. Louis area parks, and they can easily spend entire days at the Magic House St. Louis Children’s Museum or City Museum, both with easy-on-the-budget admission fees.
But in addition to the highly-visible family attractions St. Louis visitors have come to know and love, a number of great family attractions fly under the radar and may not be as familiar as the Zoo, the Magic House and other attractions.
Here are three great value family attractions you might not be familiar with:
Youcan, the talking toucan, the theatre’s animatronic health ambassador, greets visitors to the Delta Dental Health Theatre in St. Louis’ Laclede’s Landing. Hanging overhead from the ceiling is a full set of three-feet tall teeth—one of only two such sets in existence.
The venue, geared to pre-kindergarten children through third graders, offers a nook with puzzles and games, open play time and a dress-up area. A 45-minute program focuses on dental health. Each child who visits the theatre receives a “Healthy Smile Kit” filled with dental tools.
The theatre was renovated in 2011 resulting in more open space and the feel of a “mystical wonderland,” said Alice Davis, program coordinator. The deep colors and rolling landscape painted on the walls depicts a plant-to-plate theme that promotes healthy eating.
If you go:
The Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis, a largely undiscovered gem in St. Louis, offers simulated space missions and other hands-on science education programs for groups and individuals. The center also offers summer camps for kids, corporate team-building events, family workshops, scouting events and off-site programs.
A junior astronaut program is geared to kids ages 6-10. “Missions” to the moon or Mars or to rendezvous with a comet give participants first-hand experience on what it’s like to go on a space mission as a scientist, astronaut or engineer. They are for ages 11 and up and are available for groups or individuals.
“Our programs are highly interactive—this is not a passive experience,” Tasmyn Front, center director, said.
The center is part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, an international organization established in 1986 by the families of those who perished in the Challenger Shuttle accident. The St. Louis Center is the only Challenger Center in Missouri.
Reservations are required for all programs. Individuals and families can sign up for “public” missions. Visitors are encourage to book at least two weeks in advance as programs fill up fast although sometimes same-day reservations are possible.
If you go:
Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis
205 Brotherton Lane
Ferguson, MO 63135
Hours: “Public” missions are held on select Saturdays; call for details and other program hours.
Admission: $15/person for “public” missions. Cost for two-hour programs for groups of up to 25 is $1,200 for corporate groups and $600 for non-profit groups.
Myseum, a discovery center for kids and families in suburban Town and Country, MO, is designed to keep kids ages six months to 12 years busy learning as they play.
Manager Chris Harrach describes Myseum as a “mixture of the Science Center and the Magic House.” Everything at the Myseum is hands-on and science-oriented in some form, he said. “The whole focus is that kids are learning while they’re having fun.” Harrach said adding, “It’s working very well.”
Among other things, kids can play the laser harp, build flying machines with vertical wind tubes, play in a magnetic sandbox, create a vortex burst of air out of a large cylinder with the air vortex cannon and dress up as a paleontologist, dig for fossils and learn about dinosaurs in the Dino Dig exhibit.
If you go:
283 Lamp and Lantern Village
Town and Country, MO
10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday
10 a.m.-8 p.m.,Friday-Saturday
11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sunday
$5.95 plus tax, age 18-59
$10.95 plus tax, age 2-17
$4.95 plus tax, age 60 and up
Free, age 1 and under