Some St. Louis family attractions are re-opening with limited capacity and enhanced safety protocols for visitors and staff. Read more about family attraction re-openings and safety guidelines here. We invite our readers to enjoy virtual events and socially distanced events highlighted in our Things To Do calendar. Public health experts recommend that when you do go out, follow public health guidelines: wear masks (now required in St. Louis City and County), practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. To learn why social distancing is important and effective in lessening the spread of COVID-19, hear from Dr. Alexis Elward, Chief Medical Officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Come Visit Illinois - We Won't Bite

About a year ago, my family and I moved from St. Louis to the Metro East, or as I lovingly call it, the Dark Side.

I have come to the conclusion that St. Louisans are nervous about making that scary, scary trek across the Poplar Street Bridge for three reasons:

  • I’m frightened of Illinois with your corrupt politicians and overabundance of gentlemen’s clubs. Now, I don’t have any way to soothe your fears about politics because our former governor terrifies me too, but I can assure you, there are no topless clubs, 24-hour liquor stores and questionable massage parlors within an eight block radius of my house. I swear!
  • Illinois is so far away. It’s a whole other state for goodness’ sake! St. Louis is as close – or even closer – to Edwardsville, Fairview Heights and Collinsville as it is to Chesterfield, St. Charles or Arnold. Really – I Mapquested it!
  • There’s nothing to do there. Maybe our shopping and restaurant choices are smaller, but there’s still plenty for families to do. Here’s just a handful of places you can take your children to for fun this spring and summer:


Smaller than that other children’s museum, The Children’s Museum in Edwardsville offers an inexpensive place where kids’ imaginations can run wild. My 3-year-old loves the dress-up area and the pretend town where she can dream of becoming a doctor or banker.

From May through October, downtown Edwardsville becomes the scene of The Land of Goshen Community Market, featuring locally grown foods, crafts and entertainment in a family-friendly atmosphere.


Mr. and Mrs. P love Grafton for its restaurants and wineries. If the kiddos are with us, Pere Marquette State Park has plenty of activities, including horseback riding and hiking, as well as a lodge on site.

Grafton’s water park, Raging Rivers, has something for everyone – a play area for toddlers, action slides for the older kids and a great view of the Mississippi River. Every time I’ve been there, it’s been busy, but never crowded.


Although Eckert’s Country Store and Farms has locations in Grafton and Millstadt, its Belleville location is home to its restaurant offering homecooking and glorious fried biscuits. Mmmm, fried warm and sweet…sorry, got off track. Take the kids for strawberry picking in May and blackberry and peach picking later in the summer.

Belleville is also home to the Skyview Drive-In Theater and hosts Art on the Square May 14-16, one of the nation’s top art fairs.

These are only a few of the many attractions your family can enjoy. From Splash City in Collinsville to the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget to the Camp River Dubois Lewis and Clark Historic Site in Hartford, a day of fun is waiting for you with one quick journey across the river. For more details on attractions and events, visit the Tourism Bureau Southwestern Illinois website.

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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Things to Do

Explore Purina Farms: Trainer Tips

Purina Farms is bringing the best of the farm to your home every week! You can virtually explore Purina Farms through videos featuring the animals, dog trainers and others who work there, as well as the pets who work and play at Purina Farms every day. Each day of the week features videos on a variety of topics including animal connections, training tips and responsible pet care advice for kids. 

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Magic At Home with The Magic House

The Magic House is bringing innovative, hands-on learning to you at home with its #MagicAtHome series of interactive, instructional online presentations. The Magic At Home series of activities includes lots of fun projects that you can make at home with common materials. The easy-to-follow directions mean your kids can make paper sculpture, do shaving cream marble painting, create make-your-own flowers, go "fishin," make TP roll animals, make salad spin art and more.

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Science @ Home with the Saint Louis Science Center

The Science Louis Science Center is continuing to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning through its online Science @ Home series! Visit the Science Center's web site or social media channels for DIY science experiments that can be done at home, Amazing Science Demonstrations from the Science Center's Energy Stage team, connections to local scientists, astronomy updates from the McDonnell Planetarium, live chats and more. Content is designed for all ages. 

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Teaching in Room 9 from The Nine Network

The Nine Network is producing two hours of literacy and math instruction for prekindergarten through fourth grade weekdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The grade-appropriate instruction is taught by local educators at home, and is available on your St. Louis PBS station, channel 9. 

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Explore Purina Farms: Amazing Canines
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Purina Farms is bringing the best of the farm to your home every week! You can virtually explore Purina Farms through videos featuring the animals, dog trainers and others who work there, as well as the pets who work and play at Purina Farms every day. Each day of the week features videos on a variety of topics including animal connections, training tips and responsible pet care advice for kids. 


View this event »
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