Last week I shared the first five of my 10 favorite free things to do with your kids in St. Louis. I know this week has been a nail biter waiting for the final five, so without further ado... the finale.
6. The Disney Store at the Saint Louis Galleria: Okay, I confess that I haven't actually ever bought anything at the Disney Store, and I'm not a huge Disney fanatic. I mean, I like them okay, but I'm not waiting in line outside the store to buy the first Mickey wearing a Santa cap of the season.
I discovered the Disney Store last winter when I had a newborn, a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old, and the terror of taking all three out in public in the cold rain by myself outweighed being stuck in the house for one more day. So let's just say I was at a low point.
Much to my surprise, in the back of the Disney store they have a kids' table with coloring books and a giant screen that plays Disney movies, shows and videos.
They also have trivia contests, story hours, dance demonstrations, and an imagination parade that involves masks that teeter on the creepy side, but fun nonetheless.
Look for activity times on the board just outside the store.
7. Tilles Park Splash Pad: As I type this, the sleet is hitting my kitchen window so hard it sounds like someone is frying chicken outside. However, we all know St. Louis weather changes quicker than Anne Hathaway at the Oscars and before we know it we'll be frying up some bacon on our driveways (can you tell it's almost dinner time?)
The splash pad is a good alternative to Tot Time at the local swimming pools if you're having one of those days where the thought of putting on a swimsuit makes you break out into a sweat. Just throw one on the kids (or not – it's okay to take them in their clothes but they'll probably get soaked) and go. It's integrated into the playground so they can get the slide nice and gross for the other parents trying to keep their kids dry.
8. Purina Farms: Yes, it's a haul. From our house in mid-town it takes us about 45 minutes to get there. But, fortunately (or not, I'm not sure) time is on my side and we have a lot of summer days where we've got a whole lot of nothing going on and for me it's totally worth the trip.
They have free dog shows that my kids could sit through over and over again, a cow milking demonstration (that brings back some terrifying breastfeeding memories), and a barn chalk full of cute little animals. If my girls were making this list, Purina Farms would be #1. They re-open for the season March 13.
9. Contemporary Art Museum: The first Wednesday of every month the Contemporary Art Museum hosts a play date for kids ages 2-5 (though I bring my baby too and it's fine). There's usually a craft followed by a story. Or, if your kids are like mine, they run around the huge empty cement room where the art is displayed while I eat donuts. See why I like it so much? You can also check out the stoller tours at CAM.
10. Powder Valley Nature Center: Remember how this post was titled “My top 10 list?” Well it should be titled, “my top nine list and one from readers and friends.” I haven't actually been to Powder Valley in Kirkwood. It came highly recommended by several of my friends and readers after last week's post. The kids and I tried to check it out on Monday but they were closed. Then it rain/snowed for the next few days, and my hair just won't look right if I'm out in this stuff. I've been told it has a wonderful nature center with a wide variety of kid-geared educational nature information as well as animals, and when it's warmer several nice paved nature trails. Just don't go on a Monday.
We would love to hear your favorite free kid-friendly things to do in the 'Lou – hope to see you out and about soon!
Photos by Hannah Mayer
By Hannah Mayer, events and family life blogger for SmartParenting
Hannah Mayer recently traded her Blackberry Smartphone for a Strawberry Shortcake when she retired from her 12-year career in advertising to become a full-time Mom to 3-year-old daughter Elliot, 2-year-old daughter Lillian, and 1-year-old daughter Hadley ("Hey, my husband is hot, okay?"). In her free time she enjoys eavesdropping on her neighbors' cordless phone conversations through the baby monitor, volunteering as an English tutor for the St. Louis Public School district and bucking the stigma that accompanies three car seats by challenging fellow drivers to freestyle battle raps from her mini van.
Hannah has written and published several fictional short stories but her entree into baring her soul to the world can be found at her blog sKIDmarks and her novel in progress Cute Little Bundle of Crazy. You can follow her on Twitter @The_sKIDmark or become a fan at facebook.com/sKIDmarking.
10 Awesome Free Things to Do In St. Louis With Your Kids (Part 2) pinterest.com/pin/3012486625…
— St. Louis Kids Mag (@stlkids) March 4, 2013
Storytelling in the Museum is now offered virtually on Zoom from the Missouri History Museum! Tune in every Friday at 10:30 a.m. for engaging stories with themes like My Missouri, Pets, Fall into Outdoor Fun, Friendly Bears, and Happy Halloween.
Make art. Go on a guided tour, DIY a time capsule. Peek behind the scenes. Watch the Cassily Crew at work. Help inspect the slides. All from home! Every Monday through Friday the staff, crew, artists and historians at City Museum are going LIVE on Facebook to share stories, offer free art classes, and entertain kids and families in all the ways they know how (read: mischief, mayhem and making).