How to keep your family occupied in St. Louis
Are you sick of waiting around for graduation with family members invading your personal space? St. Louis may not have Times Square or the Golden Gate Bridge, but it still has plenty of attractions. Scene has selected four locations to entertain them and keep the pressure off of you.
Saint Louis Art Museum
St. Louis, MO 63110
It turns out that sledding isn’t the only thing to do on Art Hill. If members of your family fawn over color and composition, steer them toward the Saint Louis Art Museum. SLAM is a short walk from Wash. U., and is easily one of the premiere attractions in St. Louis. Boasting works that date all the way back to ancient Egypt (including mummies actually owned by the University) to Andy Warhol and beyond, the collection is one of the best in the Midwest. Highlights include works by Monet, El Greco, Rodin and Matisse. While in the neighborhood, your family can also check out the Saint Louis Zoo, the Missouri History Museum and the Saint Louis Science Center.
Movie at Chase Park Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63108
Admission: adults $8.50, students and seniors $6.50, children $5.50
Forget that movie theater you visit back home. You know, the one where the floor behind the snack counter is covered in an avalanche of dirty popcorn and where you occasionally get lost in the labyrinth that leads to screen 37B. The Chase Park Plaza’s cinema offers one of the nicest movie-going experiences in St. Louis. Here the popcorn is steamy, the floors clean and the seats red and cushy. Its five screens show mainstream movies, so you’ll probably find something you like without feeling completely overwhelmed. And don’t let the swanky Chase Park Plaza building (which also functions as a hotel) fool you: At $6.50 per student and $8.50 per adult, tickets here are a pretty good deal.
St. Louis, MO 63102
Admission: adults $7, children $5
The Arch is the symbol of St. Louis, and your family would regret never observing the city’s skyline from its top. Completed in 1968, the Arch serves as a memorial to American expansion. Beneath the monument and underground is the Museum of Westward Expansion, operated by the National Parks Service. The museum charts the history of manifest destiny, ever since St. Louis was considered the Far West. Expansion affected every American, and the museum does a good job showing who gains and who loses from the change (spoiler: Native Americans lose a whole lot). The exhibits range from an explanation of Jefferson’s vision for the country and the Lewis and Clark expedition to the near extinction of the American bison (complete with a stuffed bison). Your family can also see two films. One documents the construction of the Arch; the other concerns Western Expansion. All in all, an afternoon at the Arch is an afternoon well spent.
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis, MO 63110
Admission: adults $8, seniors $3, children free
Now that the weather is warming up, a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden is a must for St. Louis newcomers and veterans alike. Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a plant enthusiast, there is a cornucopia of beautiful greenery, statues and architecture to discover within the garden’s 79 acres. But be warned, you will want to block out a significant amount of time to explore, as there are about 12 different themed areas throughout the garden, including: The Japanese garden (with a pond full of Koi for you to feed); Chinese garden; the Climatron, a large dome housing a vast collection of plants in their natural setting along with various tropical birds; and so much more. You can also check out the many events going on throughout the month, such as the Chinese Culture Days celebration happening May 21 and 22.
Fun fact: The Botanical Garden has one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered orchids, and is the nation’s oldest operating botanical garden.