St. Louis Free Attractions – How We Compare

Tuesday January 17, 2012

All the more reason to love The Lou—in St. Louis you get more kicks for free. In a comparison of the top cultural and educational attractions in over 20 major metropolitan cities, St. Louis offers more free attractions than the rest, making us a a top destination for free family fun.

St Louis free Attractions

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We evaluated the cost of admission for both adults and kids at zoos, science centers, art museums and history museums in cities like New York, Chicago and Seattle. And while many city attractions boast free admission for kids, there’s only a handful that offer no-cost entry for both kids and adults. And St Louis is the only city that offers free attractions in all four categories.

So, how exactly does St. Louis stack up? Take the San Diego Zoo. If a family of four visits this world-renowned animal paradise, it’ll cost them $148 to just set foot in the gate (adults-$42, kids-$32). If a family of four visits the St. Louis Zoo, it’s absolutely free. A pretty impressive fact considering there’s tons of world-class exhibits to explore—from the wildlife at the River’s Edge exhibit to the sub-Antarctic animals at the Wild exhibit. In fact, the St. Louis Zoo was ranked 3rd on Parents magazine’s list of top ten zoos for kids.

The St. Louis Science Center, known for the awe-inspiring OMNIMAX Theater and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium (which is one of the nation’s leading space education facilities), soared above the rest as the ONLY science center with free admission for both kids and adults. Even Kansas City’s Science City doesn’t have anything on St. Louis! Spending a day exploring attractions like the Planetarium or KC Rail Experience will set a family of four back about $50. And that’s before souvenirs or snacks.

And two of our top cultural institutions, the St. Louis Art Museum and History Museum, also top the list of budget-friendly destinations. A day at The Art Institute of Chicago costs a family of four with two children under age 14 $36. The same family can take in beautiful Monet masterpieces, expressionists’ landscapes and historical portraits for free at the Saint Louis Art Museum. Not to mention it’s free to park at our art museum—something you’d be hard-pressed to find in downtown Chicago.

So if you’re looking for world-class attractions at bargain-basement prices (FREE!), St. Louis is a natural travel destination. It’s just one of the many ways our city offers more (for less!).

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