It's finally springtime in St. Louis! Time to shake off the winter blues and have some family fun. Here are our top picks for new discoveries and family friendly events you won't want to miss in April:
Come out and celebrate outdoor fun at the Gateway Arch National Park. This free event will showcase the new, fun park features and connections from downtown. There will be lawn games for everyone. Families and friends can build a seven-foot Gateway Arch and learn about its unique engineering with foam Arch blocks.
Enjoy live music, great food and drink vendors, face painters, free yoga, character artists, and more. After four years of construction, all fences will be down at the event. To showcase the park's transformation, visitors are invited to participate in the Discovery Map Challenge – a scavenger hunt tour of the park highlighting new park features and additions. Participants will receive special memorabilia as prizes.
Spring into Your Park takes place on Saturday, April 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gateway Arch National Park, located at 200 Washington Ave. in St. Louis. For more information, visit gatewayarch.com.
Visit the Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden for two festive fun-filled days of hands-on activities celebrating the changing of the seasons. Have an outdoor adventure exploring all of the wonders the Children's Garden has to offer and get inspired to be adventurous in the great outdoors. Kids can pot a plant, create nature art, learn about toad abodes, enjoy face painting and meet Finn, the Children's Garden mascot. There will be special shows about birds from the experts at the World Bird Sanctuary, and live music by Wild Heart. Activities are included with Children's Garden admission, which is $3 for members and $5 for non-members ages 3-12, free for ages 2 and under, and ages 13 and up.
Children's Garden Meet Me Outdoors Weekend takes place on Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Missouri Botanical Garden, located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in St. Louis For more information and a full schedule of events, visit mobot.org.
The Saint Louis Science Center is one of four science museums nationwide to host “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibition will feature the Apollo 11 command module Columbia, marking the first time in 46 years the module has left the museum, as well as 20 artifacts from the historic mission. The exhibit is open during regular Science Center hours.
Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission opens on Saturday, April 14 at the Saint Louis Science Center, located at 5050 Oakland Ave in St. Louis. For more information, visit slsc.org.
The popular Stingrays at Caribbean Cove exhibit opens for the 2018 season at the Saint Louis Zoo on April 14. At this exhibit you can watch, touch and occasionally feed the unique and fascinating stingrays as they glide through a warm, 17,000-gallon saltwater pool. There are small sharks in the water too, though they are often too shy for petting. Admission to the Zoo is free. Admission to Stingrays at Caribbean Cove is $4 per person, but free during the first hour the Zoo is open and at all hours for children under age 2.
Stingrays at Caribbean Cove opens for the season on Saturday, April 14 at The Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park. For more information, visit stlzoo.org.
Take your kids to Tons of Trucks to get an up close look at some very BIG vehicles.
The parking lot at the Ballwin Target will be filled with trucks, a helicopter and other vehicles of all shapes and sizes for your kids to look at, wander around, climb on and sit on. This free event sponsored by the City of Ballwin includes a siren-free quiet hour from 1 to 2 p.m.
Tons of Trucks takes place on Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 15025 Manchester Road in Ballwin. For more information, visit ballwin.mo.us.
The Saint Louis Art Museum is offering two family workshops in April for children ages six and up and their adult companions tied to the Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds exhibit. In first workshop, All Things Osiris, offered on Saturday, April 14, kids can dive deep into Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld. Take an interactive guided tour of Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds to discover the mysteries of Osiris as you examine objects from cities that disappeared over a thousand years ago. Following the tour, sculpt your own Osiris offering complete with a wooden sarcophagus in one of the Museum’s classrooms.
In the second workshop, Divine Mashup, offered on Saturday, April 28, kids will uncover a divine mashup of gods and goddesses from both ancient Egypt and Greece. Take an interactive guided tour of Sunken Cities to reveal the unique ancient cities that brought Egyptian and Greek culture together. Following the tour, construct your own hybrid god or goddess portrait in one of the Museum’s classrooms inspired by those you meet in the galleries. Tickets to each are $25 for Adult, $15 Child (includes Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds exhibition ticket) or $10 for Adult/Child Members.
Sunken Cities family workshops take place on Saturday, April 14 and Saturday, April 28 from 10:30 am to noon at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit slam.org.
Circus Flora has moved to its permanent home in Grand Center and opens earlier this year, on Thursday, April 19. The world-famous Balding Hotel has long been an exclusive getaway for dignitaries and nobility from around the world; a place where the staff and crew have unusual skills and where people can go about their business without many questions asked – making the hotel famous for luxury and impeccable service. But when a beloved bellhop goes missing, the Balding begins to attract attention. Secrets proliferate and questions abound. What happened to the bellhop, and who knew about it? Join Circus Flora to find out in this one-of-a-kind madcap adventure.
Circus Flora takes place at the Big Top in Grand Center, located at 3401 Washington Blvd. from April 19 through May 13, with performances Thursday-Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.; and a special super saver Sunday performance at 5:30 p.m. A Little Top Friday performance is offered at 10 a.m. (except April 20) as well. Other special shows include a Peanut-Free Preview on April 19 and a sensory-friendly performance on May 2.
For more information and tickets, visit circusflora.org.
Stop into Ballpark Village for Family Fun Day, a carnival-style family festival with Fredbird, the Bubble Bus and lots of fun activities including: carnival-style rides, inflatable bounce houses, slide and obstacle course, fun house, face painting, balloon artists, a climbing wall, performances and more. Admission is free, but certain premium activities require a $10 all-access wristband. Proceeds from wristband sales benefit SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.
Family Fun Day takes place on Saturday, April 28 from noon to 5 p.m. on the North Parking Lot of Ballpark Village, located at 601 Clark Avenue in St. Louis. For more information and tickets, visit stlballparkvillage.com.
Main photo courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Sea Lion photo courtesy of the Saint Louis Zoo. Acrobatics photo courtesy of Circus Flora.
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.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, so celebrate it by taking your family to see classic holiday films on the big screen! Admission is just $5 for all ages. Marcus Theatres is hosting special showings of these family favorites from Nov. 30 - Dec. 13: Elf, Home Alone, It's a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express, and Miracle on 34th Street.
More than a half million lights will illuminate some of the Garden's most iconic locations, walkways will be transformed into sensory light tunnels providing an explosion of visual magic, and traditional candlelight village displays will delight crowds of all ages.
The Magic House offers special morning hours for families with young children Tuesday through Friday during the school year. Select exhibits open at 10:30 a.m. before the entire museum opens at noon. Preschool Hours feature exhibits that are geared toward children ages 2-8, but anyone is welcome to visit.