Favorite 4 St. Louis Parks for Kids

Visiting St. Louis is a lot of fun, and this Ohio family has made the trek three times to visit a friend and take in some of the best offerings around the city. We already knew there were lots of great museums that are absolutely FREE, but we often find ourselves needing to get the kids outside to get some energy out. So we often make it a point to search out amazing parks that offer playgrounds.

Please find below some of our family tested favorites parks around St. Louis.

Edgar M. Queeny Play Center

Address: 550 Weidman Road, St Louis, Missouri

Most intriguing on our list of playgrounds to visit around St. Louis was the Edgar M. Queeny Play Center. The reason why is the focal point of the playground is a stone pyramid with pipes going through it that kids can run and play through.

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After visiting the Queeny pyramid, we felt like we were playing a game of Super Mario brothers as we transcended into the pipes in search of coins.

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While Queeny Park does have some standard playgrounds too, obviously the fun part was climbing the unique structure.

Faust Park Playground

Address: 15185 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield, Missouri

Faust Park is located on a historical site featuring relevant buildings from the area. In addition to the St. Louis Carousel and Butterfly House, the park also features a great playground.

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Kids can climb rock walls and climb the various structures complete with some great long slides.

While onsite, be sure to walk over to the Butterfly House, even just to see the outside, where there are giant caterpillar and butterfly structures. You can even peer into the Butterfly House and see tons of butterfly up against the glass.

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Turtle Park

Address: Across from St. Louis Zoo at intersection of Oakland Avenue and Tamm Avenue

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A truly unique and fun play area is Turtle Park on the opposite side the freeway of the St. Louis Zoo. This park features several oversized recreations of various turtle species that guests can climb on for perfect photo opportunities.

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Lafayette Park Playground

Address: 2023 Lafayette Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104

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Lafayette Park boasts several different play structures that provide the perfect opportunity to get outside and run. We actually spent a great deal of time playing tag thanks to a fun structure and soft, padded surface beneath the playground.

While we are sure there are other great St. Louis Parks for Kids, these are the ones we have spent some time at and really enjoyed the various interactions of nature, structures, and each other.

What are your favorite St. Louis playgrounds?

St Louis with Kids Over the Holidays

St Louis with Kids Over the Holidays

Thanksgiving can be many different things to families. Typically, most families spend their time with family around the dinner table enjoying a typical turkey dinner. Thanksgiving dinner with family can be a great tradition and for extended family to see everyone.

While our family has spent many years doing the traditional, we have also found it an ideal time to travel. One, paid days off work mean less vacation days for extended travel plans. Two, depending on where you travel, we have historically had pretty good luck with milder temperatures. Three, while crowds can still be an issue since kids are off school, one can still deal with less people than during peak summer months.

That is why for the past at least 5 years we make an effort to “get out of town” for Thanksgiving. While we have nothing against the traditional holiday with families, we prefer to take advantage for the reasons stated above.

For 2015, we decided to take a second trip this year out to St Louis to visit and stay with a friend of ours. The family friendly city provides plenty of activities to keep the busiest of families like ours trying something new.

The first major task of any adventure is to figure out where you are going, and there is nothing like having an old-fashioned map available.

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To beat the crowds on Black Friday, you need to get off the beaten path and blaze your own trails.

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However, if you need to bargain hunt, get on your running shoes and make a sprint for it.

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As a last resort, you can always implement measures to make the crowds follow you while your brothers make a dash for the high end items.

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Once you stuff yourself from Thanksgiving dinner, there is always room for dessert, and nothing beats the original Ted Drewes Frozen Custard shops!

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Once you have everything in order, and are ready to venture out into St Louis, it becomes a family tradition to visit the Magic House.

After a trip through the tall grasses of the Eric Carle exhibit…

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…there was time for painting.

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…and teaching life skills like how to be a veterinarian.

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Once the lessons of the day have been learned, one needs to travel right down the street to Crushed Red. The freshly prepared salads are fantastic, and the build your own pizza allows you to experiment with a variety of flavors.

151127 Crushed Red Spiced Pear Salad and Flat Bread

When everyone is rested up, one can take the family over to the City Museum. At first discovery, the City Museum can be very intimidating as it promises tight spaces and lots of crawling. However, once inside there were plenty of open spaces to mix in with the unique surroundings.

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Don’t worry about tying your shoes, as the City Museum can make your own right in front of you.

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As shocking as the experience at the City Museum may be, it is hands down one of the best museums we had ever been. Beautiful, creative, unique, and a wonderful experience for the kid in all of us.

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After dispelling so much energy, to refresh, head over to St Louis’ famous Hodak’s Chicken for a terrific home cooked meal. Though the fresh chicken is way better than some of the non-homemade side dishes.

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Lastly, light up the night by taking in two fantastic Christmas light displays within the vicinity of St. Louis. The first is the Way of Lights at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The free event is filled with thousands upon thousands of lights with the display ending with a nativity set inside a cave.

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The second event is Santa’s Magical Kingdom taking place at a Jellystone Resort at Six Flags campground. While a vehicle load of guests cost $20, the event is a fantastic display of lights that one wonders how many man-hours go into setting up such a great display.

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Paper Pandas- A Review of the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens

Part of the wonders of having friends scattered around the world is I get to see different things that we may not get to experience. I still am looking for that magic potion to be everywhere at once. So when our great friend Jill from St. Louis posted pictures of the Japanese Lantern Festival from the Missouri Botanical Gardens, I was mesmerized by the beauty and intricacy of each paper display. So I was very grateful when Jill decided to write a guest post for us detailing the information and highlighting some of her beautiful photography. Please join us in welcoming Jill to the InACents family!

First of all let me say I feel honored to be part of the InACents family and share my experience at the Lantern Festival! The festival is currently a limited time exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, showing nightly through August 19, 2012.

Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Gardens

Missouri Botanical Gardens Tree

Missouri Botanical Gardens Waterfall

The gardens are one of the true gems of St. Louis, and I like to go to at least one exhibit there a year because it is always beautiful. The festival was a little pricey at $23 per ticket for adults; however, let me be the first to say it was WORTH IT! Even my mother, who has a hard time spending money on anything artsy, enjoyed herself and could not stop talking about how pretty it was the entire car ride home.

23-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns The Dragon Pillars Gate (Huabiao)

The Dragon Pillars Gate (Huabiao)

The lantern festival was a huge hit and has been at the Missouri Botanical Gardens all summer. The Lantern Festival has been selling out nightly, so we were delighted to get tickets at the door; however, I recommend buying tickets online to avoid being turned away.

04a-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Panda’s Paradise

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Panda’s Paradise

There were 26 lanterns throughout the park, and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite (but the pandas might take the gold). They also had shows and a Chinese bazaar with beverage stations throughout the park selling soda, beer, wine and water (All their cups and food containers are compostable!!).

22-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Goddess Blessing Buddha

Goddess Blessing Buddha

21-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Moonlit Pathway

Moonlit Pathway

20-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

My family and I got there as soon as they opened at about 6:00 P.M. to go through the garden prior to the lighting of the lanterns. We went through the Japanese garden in the back of the park that has fish and ducks you can feed along with waterfalls and rock gardens. The garden also has a lot of really great kids areas including a playground, hedge mazes, and a fountain to play in.

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16-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly Lovers

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Wishing Well

At 8:00 P.M. the lanterns were lit, and I really do not have words to describe how beautiful the display was to see! One of the displays was a wishing well lantern that had little gongs hanging labeled “health, all wishes, love, riches” etc., so it was fun to hear the gongs ringing when people threw their coins in.

15a-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Dragon Embracing the Pillars

Dragon Embracing the Pillars

13-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns The Flying Apsaras

The Flying Apsaras

14-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Wishing Tree

Wishing Tree

They also had a bunch of trees called wishing trees. For $2 you could get a gold coin with a ribbon and throw it into the wishing tree. There were hundreds of wishes in the trees!

06a-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Porcelain Dragon

06b-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Porcelain Dragon

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Porcelain Dragon

The porcelain dragons were made of traditional Japanese dishes like plates, soup spoons, saucers and cups! The dragons also moved their heads and had smoke coming out of their mouths that had a sweet smell that filled the air.

11-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Nine-Dragon Mural

Nine-Dragon Mural

09-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Heavenly Temple

Heavenly Temple

17-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Sail Boat

Sail Boat

The ship was made of plastic water bottles and will be recycled after the exhibit is taken down!

08-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Double Seventh Festival

Double Seventh Festival

07-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Blissful Wedding

Blissful Wedding

05-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Lotus Ponds

Lotus Ponds

The Lantern Festival is open until 10:00 P.M. nightly, with last admission being accepted at 9:00 P.M.

03-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower

02-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns The Terracotta Warrior

The Terracotta Warrior

The exhibits were set up in a big circle to keep the crowd all moving in one direction and also to make it easy to see all of the lanterns. Overall the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens was a beautiful exhibit, and I would highly recommend it!

Thank you again Mr. and Mrs. InACents for allowing me to be a guest writer on the lantern festival!