School is back in session, but there is still a great deal of family fun to be had throughout St. Louis before the leaves begin to fall. Here are our top picks for family-friendly events in September:
1. Saint Louis Art Fair (9/8-10)
One of the top art fairs in the nation, the Saint Louis Art Fair in Clayton offers something for everyone with 181 artists from around the country across all mediums, food from some of St. Louis' top restaurants, more than 50 bands and performers and the Creative Castle kids area, offering a magical, hands-on experience where everything is possible. In this land ruled by “little people," strollers have the right-of-way and children are encouraged to explore their creativity and learn about the arts. The Creative Castle is open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on Forsyth Blvd. between Bemiston and Central Ave. Admission to the Art Fair is free.
The Saint Louis Art Fair takes place Friday, September 8 through Sunday, September 10 (hours vary by day) in the streets of downtown Clayton. For hours and information, visit saintlouisartfair.com.
2. The Great Forest Park Balloon Race & Balloon Glow (9/15-16):
Celebrating its 45th year, the oldest and most well-attended hot-air balloon event in the world returns to Forest Park. The fun kicks off Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. on Art Hill with the "Gaslight Glow" as the colorful balloons light up to the sounds of St. Louis' premiere party band, Boogie Chyld, followed by a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. Race day festivities begin at noon on Saturday, including the PURINA Children's Entertainment Area with inflatables, games, mural painting and performances by the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team.
The Great Forest Park Balloon Race takes place on Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16 at Forest Park. For information, visit greatforestparkballoonrace.com.
3. Squirmy, Slimy, Scaly, Slithery Creatures Kids Love at The Magic House (9/16)
Speaking of bugs and other critters, will host creatures big and small, from a 100-pound tortoise to a not-so-tiny tarantula at Squirmy, Slimy, Scaly, Slithery Creatures Kids Love, featuring "guests" from the The Butterfly House, The Wildlife Command Center and the World Bird Sanctuary. Kids can get up close and personal with a variety of reptiles, arthropods and birds of prey while learning about these extraordinary creatures. Serengeti Steve will also give a thrilling presentation featuring some of his favorite creatures and loads of audience participation. The event is free with Magic House admission.
Squirmy, Slimy, Scaly, Slithery Creatures Kids Love takes place on Saturday, September 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at The Magic House, located at 516 S. Kirkwood Road in Kirkwood. For information, visit magichouse.org.
4. Metro Theater Company presents "Games Dad Didn't Play" (9/16-17)
Metro Theater offers public performances of its original production "Games Dad Didn't Play" by Jeremy Schaefer at The Grandel Theatre on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17. Lucas and his mom are starting over: a whole new city, a whole new school, a whole new beginning. "Games Dad Didn’t Play" follows Lucas in his new life as he struggles to come to terms with everything he doesn’t remember, or want to believe, about his dad in prison. So he imagines a whole new dad; one who hadn’t hurt anyone. This show is recommended for kids in second grade and up.
Games Dad Didn't Play takes place on Saturday, September 16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 17 at 2 p.m. at The Grandel Theater, located at 3610 Grandel Square in the Grand Center Arts District. For information, visit metroplays.org.
5. Bug Hunt at The Butterfly House (9/16-17)
Kids ages two and up, along with their families, can explore the amazing world of backyard insects in their own habitat at The Butterfly House Bug Hunt. Kids can play exciting games and make crafts to take home as well as capturing real bugs (which will be released at the end of the hunts). Staff entomologists will lead the Bug Hunt in Faust Park surrounding the Butterfly House. Staff will be on hand for field sessions throughout the day to identify the bugs kids catch. No registration required, entry included with regular Butterfly House admission.
The Bug Hunt takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House located in Faust Park at 15193 Olive Blvd. in Chesterfield. For information, visit missouribotanicalgarden.org.
6. Kids' Flea Market at The Magic House (9/17)
The Magic House is seeking enterprising kids 16 years and younger to sell handmade craft items, outgrown toys, books, baseball cards, games and more at its Annual Kids’ Flea Market. It's a great opportunity for crafty kids to make their own money and earn extra points with parents by cleaning out their rooms. Budding entrepreneurs can reserve a table to sell their wares for just $15. The Flea Market is open free of charge to the public for shopping.
The Kids Flea Market takes place on Sunday, September 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Magic House, located at 516 S. Kirkwood Road in Kirkwood. For information, visit magichouse.org.
7. Little Readers Festival at St. Louis County Library Headquarters (9/23)
Join the St. Louis County Library Headquarters for the Little Readers Festival, a fun, free event featuring a variety of activities for families with young children including the PNC Mobile Learning Adventure with a dress-up photo booth, crafts and giveaways; musical performances by Sugar Free Allstars, story time with Pete the Cat and more. Kids ages 5 and under will receive two free books and a shaved ice from Murray's. A Ladue Fire Department truck and ambulance will be on hand as well as a Ladue Police car. The Center for Hearing & Speech will provide vision and hearing screenings for kids as well.
Little Readers Festival takes place on Saturday, September 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. Louis Count Library, located at 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in Frontenac. For information, visit slcl.org.
8. Prairie Day 2017 in Dardenne Prairie (9/23)
Celebrate the city of Dardenne Prairie with food trucks, kids' activities and live music at Prairie Day 2017. Kids' activities will take place from noon to 6 p.m. including the Bubble Bus, a bounce house, slides inflatable obstacle course, face painting, a balloon artist, comedy, magic and juggling shows, demonstrations from the World Bird Sanctuary, a coloring contest, skee ball and other games, a rock climbing wall and more. Live music by Contagious starts at 6 p.m. and the festival concludes with fireworks after dark. Food trucks will be on hand from noon until 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Prairie Day takes place on Saturday, September 23 at the City of Dardnene Prairie, located at 2032 Hanley Road in Dardenne Prairie, Mo. For information and a full schedule of events, visit dardenneprairie.org
Photo of the Kids Flea Market courtesy of The Magic House
Amy Burger is a mom, freelance writer and communications professional with nearly 20 years experience working in St. Louis. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and media outlets including STL Parent, Missouri Life magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Town & Style and kdhx.org, among others. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two beautiful girls at home in Kirkwood.