Your biggest summer adventure awaits along the 128 miles of Great Rivers Greenway trails! Families are invited on the Greenway Quest to see if they can find one of 100 hand-painted turtle rocks that have been hidden along the trails in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County, and even a few hidden at City Museum! Those who find the "turtles" can register them and win prizes, and you can even enter to win prizes before you start your adventure!
The Greenway Quest is a free activity sponsored by Great Rivers Greenway designed to encourage exploration and fun while reminding people to admire the real birds, insects and animals found along the greenways from a distance.
According to Anne Milford, Great Rivers Greenway Communications Coordinator, staff at the organization and volunteers are hiding turtles along the edges of the greenways or at designated trailheads. City Museum is hiding 10 turtles at the Museum. "People should look in places like the base of a tree, tucked along a fence or bench – within 5 to 6 feet of the edge of a greenway. Note that they will not be on neighboring private property, and we ask people to please stay along the greenway."
How the pandemic brought families to the Greenways
When everything locked down in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, families turned to the outdoors for entertainment, fun and to burn off energy. The greenways became a place to find a much-needed change of scenery and something to do that was safe and enjoyable for all ages.
"With a lot of playgrounds closed," Milford said, "people headed to the trails and greenways to explore – and they found that they loved them! [The pandemic] also inspired people to visit new parks and trails they had never been to before. We have electronic counters spread across the nearly 130 miles of greenways in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. They count every time someone on foot or bike passes by that location. This allows us to measure how many trips are taken by that specific location on a given greenway."
"When we compared the data from the calendar year 2019 to calendar year 2020, there was a 72 percent increase in greenway traffic. What is really exciting is that the 2020 numbers are holding steady. That means that the people who discovered or rediscovered the greenways keep coming back."
How to participate in the Greenway Quest:
Head out on a greenway or visit City Museum to see if you can find one of the painted turtle rocks. If you find a turtle rock, take it home and report it at greenwayquest.com. You will be automatically entered into a drawing to win one of several prize packages with goodies like City Museum tickets, greenway swag, and gift certificates from St. Louis area favorites (like Ted Drewes!). You can find a map of all the greenways here, but below are some that Milford recommends as favorites for families:
"With nearly 130 miles of greenway (and more on the way!) there are a lot to choose from," Milford said. "It really depends on the kind of greenway experience you are looking for."
As far as greenways for families - here are a few favorites:
Wondering what there is to do on the greenways other than walk, ride a bike, run, use a wheel chair on a paved path, or push a stroller? Try these activities:
"Another idea, Milford said, "is to visit a greenway and some of the nearby attractions. Example, Grant’s Trail has multiple historic sites and a direct connection to Grant’s Farm!
The Greenway Quest web site also allows you to search for greenways by zip code, greenways with playgrounds, restrooms, picnic shelters, ones located next to water, sunny, hilly, etc.
Plan your greenway visit (and see where turtles have already been found) at GreenwayQuest.com.
Plan your visit to City Museum at citymuseum.org
Enter the STL Parent/Great Rivers Greenway/City Museum Giveaway here
Eye Thrive will provide free, on-site vision screenings, eye exams and prescription glasses to children ages 4 through 12th grade at these clinics held at St. Louis County Library locations.
The Magic House now offers a virtual art experience for children – multi-sensory Virtual Petite Picasso classes. Classes are taught live from the Art Studio at The Magic House, and a different art activity is featured each week.