5 Totally Free, Toddler-Friendly Activities in Downtown St. Louis

Trying to keep your toddler entertained can be a challenge to say the least. And finding unique, family-friendly experiences that won’t break the bank is even harder. While plenty of destinations offer the much-appreciated “children under 3 are free” policy, that means you’re still paying for your adult admission. Not so at these no-cost destinations!

Grab the kids and head Downtown for an afternoon that’s 100 percent free.

Explore the Gateway Arch Museum

If you’ve so much as spoken to a St. Louisan in the last few years, you know the Gateway Arch National Park recently finished massive renovations. This includes the Museum at the Gateway Arch, which is free and open to the public. The updated space covers the topic of westward expansion and St. Louis’ importance across three centuries. And while historic artifacts are obviously kept preserved, the space is full of interactive exhibits that are sure to interest any curious toddler.

Get Active at Citygarden    

Wander around this expansive outdoor sculpture park to admire the artwork and get active. You can even pack a picnic and enjoy lunch while admiring a stunning view of the Arch. When the weather warms up, there’s even opportunities at Citygarden for the little ones to swim and splash around in fountains.

Story time at Central Library   

The expansive Central Library is famous for its stunning architecture and recent renovation. But did you know about its expansive program opportunities? In addition to hands-on experiences like Creative Kids: Saturday Crafternoon and Makerspace Jr., Central Library hosts free Story Time events that include stories and songs. While you’re there, select a few children’s books to check out with your toddler and bring the magic of the library home with you.

Hands-On at the Inside the Economy Museum

Sure, the topic of this museum will go over your toddler’s head—but that doesn’t mean he or she won’t appreciate the hands-on approach of this colorful, award-winning museum. (And if we’re being honest, couldn’t many adults use a minor refresher on the topic?) Across its five zones, the Inside the Economy Museum features videos, sculptures, games and more for an interactive experience. Your toddler will be entertained as you wander through the space, and you’re sure to leave with a better understanding of the inner workings of the economy.

Soldiers Memorial

After a massive $30 million renovation, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum has reopened and unveiled two new interactive exhibits. While youngsters may not yet be able to comprehend the importance of the veterans the museum honors, its diverse storytelling and artifact-heavy displays make for a unique and educational experience for the family.

About the author

Julia Cain

Julia Cain is a St. Louis reporter and blogger.


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