Going on vacation is the highlight of the year for many of us. The planning, preparing, and anticipation is almost as much fun as visiting the destination. The not so fun part is realizing how much the vacation will cost. That part usually results in me cutting way back on what we’ll do.
Luckily, St. Louis, MO is a budget friendly destinations and many of the attractions are free. Right now they are celebrating their 250th birthday so, in addition to all the free attractions, there will be many exciting events taking place throughout the year. Now you can plan a fun packed long weekend AND keep your pennies in the bank.
Located in Forest Park the zoo is home to more than 18,000 animals and 700 species. The zoo is a great place to spend the day animal watching. The best time to visit is in the morning or late afternoon when the weather is a bit cooler and the animal are more active. Parking is $15. Budget friendly tip: Parking on the street is free. Arrive early for best chance to find a spot. FREE ADMISSION
A planetarium, Omnimax theater and science center all rolled into one. The hands-on exhibits are sure to entertain and delight children of all ages. Children can explore the world of paleontology while digging for dinosaur bones, watch a tornado form, feel the earth shake, participate in science experiments and so much more. FREE ADMISSION
America’s largest and oldest outdoor musical theater has been entertaining audiences since 1916. This is probably one of the best free attractions in the city. Where else can you watch a Broadway musical come to life while sitting under the stars and not have to pay a dime? The Muny theater season runs June, July and August. There are 1,500 FREE seats available for each and every Muny performance. The seats are available on a first come, first serve basis and available starting at 7 p.m. However, if you want a free ticket get in line early as they sell out fast. FREE ADMISSION
Gardens, sculptures and water features will entertain the family. It’s a perfect, and inexpensive, way to cool off on hot summer days. Small pools are available for children only. Sorry adults, you’ll have to sit this one out. There is an audio tour app that will guide you around the gardens 24 sculptures. FREE ADMISSION
Explore the past, present, and future of the great state of Missouri. Learn about Lewis & Clark, the brewing industry, 1904 World Fair and more. The museum offers both permanent and specials exhibits as well as programs and permanent collections. Currently there is a great exhibit celebrating St. Louis’ 250th birthday. FREE ADMISSION
A visit to Purina Farms include a dog arena, pet center, barn, theater and visitor’s center. Watch team dogs perform their awesome skills and explore the home where the Purina cats and dogs live. A walk through the barn area allows children to see farm animals up close. The Visitor’s Center provides hands-on activities that include everything from caring for pets to operating a pet food factory. FREE ADMISSION
Home of the Busch family and the world-renowned Budweiser Clydesdales. A tram takes visitors around the 160 acre park and learn about the history of Grant’s Farm and see the 900 different animals living on the farm. Additionally, the farm offers goat feeding, carousel rides, animal and elephant shows and camel rides. Parking $12. FREE ADMISSION
One of leading museums in the nation, the Saint Louis Art Museum has over 33,000 objects in it’s collection representing 481 cultures from around the world. More that 14,000 works of art are on display at any given time and include works by masters like Rembrandt, Degas, Beckmann, and Picasso. The museum recently added 200,000 square feet of space with the addition of their East Building. This building will house special exhibits. FREE ADMISSION
Explore the past, present, and future of the great state of Missouri. Learn about Lewis & Clark, the brewing industry, 1904 World Fair and more. The museum offers both permanent and specials exhibits as well as programs and permanent collections. Currently a great exhibit celebrating St. Louis’ 250th birthday. FREE ADMISSION
Learn how Budweiser got its start and what makes it one of the most popular beers on the market today. Anheuser-Busch has been perfecting the art of beer making since 1852. Learn how their beers are created from only the best ingredients. In addition to learning about beer you’ll take a tour of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales stables. FREE ADMISSION
BONUS: This one has a minimal fee, but is well worth the investment.
Ride a capsule to the top of the Gateway Arch to get a birds eye view of the city and, on a clear day, see 30 miles away in every direction. The Arch, completed in 1967, was built as a monument to all the pioneers that traveled West. St. Louis was the last big stop before traveling into the great unknown. This is a not to be missed attraction when visiting St. Louis. Adults: $10 Children 3-15: $5.