One of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s month is to spend some time on the town with your little lovebugs. From a journey to the Far East to a nighttime trek through St. Louis’ outdoor art museum, the city we love has never been sweeter to families looking for winter adventures.
The Magic House continues taking kids on a trip around the world with its latest immersive exhibit. Fresh off the heels of Kenya’s Kids, your family’s next stop is China where you can be a researcher at a panda preserve, join a dragon parade, and “shop” a traditional neighborhood market. Children’s China kicks off with a Chinese New Year celebration, complete with Lion Dance performances and face painting, on February 2, and features a calligraphy class with visiting artist Jimmy Liu on February 9.
Children’s China runs through October 2019 and is free with Museum admission. For details, visit magichouse.org.
The Saint Louis Zoo will will host the Big Eyes, Big Minds International Children's Film Festival of St. Louis, showcasing the best films from around the world to educate, enrich and inspire kids ages 1 to 16. All programs feature age-appropriate live-action and animated short films which are universally relevant to kids. The mission of the film festival is to expose children to diverse and imaginative works to broaden their view of the world, foster critical thinking and inspire creative expression. Each program includes a series of 6 to 11 short films from various countries, ranging from award-winning animated films to child-produced films. Each film is between 1 and 30 minutes long.
Films will be shown on Saturdays: Feb. 9, 16 and 23. Tickets are available online and at the door. Showtimes are 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Tickets are $9 per person for ages 2 and up. Children under 2 are free. Children under 12 years old must be accompanied by at least one adult. Films are shown in the Anheuser-Busch Theater in the Living World /North Entrance at the Saint Louis Zoo. Learn more and get tickets at stlzoo.org
When Polish immigrant Wanda arrives at her new school, she’s teased about her shabby clothes and funny name. But when her tormenters realize the hurt they’ve caused, is it too late to fix it? Based on the Newbery Honor Book by Eleanor Estes, Metro Theater Company’s The Hundred Dresses shows kids how to follow their hearts, uncover their courage and stand up for what’s right. Tickets for this creative spin on a beloved classic range from $16 for students to $20 for adults.
Performances for The Hundred Dresses will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets can be purchased through Metro Theater Company.
To honor Black History Month, the St. Louis Public Library will host a variety of family-friendly events to educate and inspire. Whether walking in the footsteps of those who joined the Great Migration to the Midwest or learning to paint like renowned African-American artists, kids can discover how families overcame hardships to achieve the incredible here in St. Louis. The highlight of the month is a talk with St. Louis Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith moderated by Rene Knott of KSDK on February 10.
A full calendar of Black History Month events is available on the St. Louis Public Library website.
Laumeier Sculpture Park ignites the night with an evening of family-fueled fun. As part of Laumeier’s After Dark Series, two local artists bring the heat with fire-inspired performances. Watch the sparks fly as blacksmith Andrew Andrasko forges fabrication with art for a twist on metalworking and Six Mile Sculpture Works turns an iron pour into a true performance. The night also includes live music, kids’ art activities, a moonlight scavenger hunt, and fire pits and s’mores. Admission is free, but food and beverages are available to purchase.
Laumeier After Dark: Fire & Light will be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Laumeier Sculpture Park, 12580 Rott Rd. To RSVP, visit the Laumeier Sculpture Park website.
When you’re bundling your kids up in coats and snow boots, summer feels years away. But get ready – shorts, sunglasses and swimsuit season is right around the corner! Start planning your kids’ summer adventures today by attending Parkway-Rockwood Community Ed’s Summer Expo, featuring representatives from more than 100 day and sleep-away camps. No matter what your child is obsessed over – STEAM, theatre or sports – there’s a camp just waiting to be explored. And be sure to stop by the STL Camps booth for giveaways and special entertainment!
The Summer Expo is free to attend and will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Marquette High School, 2351 Clarkson Rd. in Chesterfield. For details, visit summerexpostl.com.
The eagles are still in town for the winter, and that means it’s not too late to get up close and personal with these majestic birds of prey! For two days, the National Great Rivers Museum in East Alton will honor our national mascot with eagle-themed activities, crafts and exhibits. In addition, the Treehouse Wildlife Center will be on hand to present a live bird show. Activities are free, but admission to the show is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 4-12, and free for children 3 and younger.
The National Great Rivers Museum, 2 Lock and Dam Way in East Alton, will be open for free Masters of the Sky activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The live bird show runs at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Learn more at mtrf.org/event/masters-of-the-sky.
Turn the page on a boring winter weekend by celebrating the written word with Ready Readers! On February 24, St. Louis’ favorite early literacy program will host its annual Winter Story Fest. In addition to diving into games, arts and crafts, face painting, and a book pull, young readers will be wowed by a live adaption of The Lion and the Mouse performed by the stars of Circus Kaput. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and copies of The Lion and the Mouse will be available to fans for a $10 donation.
Ready Readers Winter Story Fest will take place at Clayton High School, 1 Mark Twain Circle. Advance tickets can be purchased through the Ready Readers website.
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
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.
Kids and teens ages 6-15 can practice and explore a variety of obstacles, fine tune their skills on a single obstacle, or practice running the customizable courses at Ultimate Ninjas Open Play. Registration is recommended.