School is almost out for the summer here. Students and teachers are rejoicing while parents try to figure out summer plans. If you are looking for some St. Louis staycation or vacation ideas, you will be happy to know how many free attractions there are to visit.

Free or Almost Free St. Louis Attractions

at the zoo


St. Louis Zoo

Admission to the St. Louis Zoo is free. Parents Magazine listed the St. Louis Zoo as Number 3 in the nation for kid-friendly zoos. There are portions of the zoo that charge an admission fee, but there is so much to see for free. You can look for on street parking if you are willing to arrive early or walk a bit or you can choose to pay to park in one of two large lots.


St. Louis Science Center

The St. Louis Science Center is a great place to take the kids when the weather is too rainy or hot this summer. Admission is free. There is a small free parking lot by the Planetarium and a bigger lot which costs $10 to park. The Omnimax and some exhibitions charge admission, but there are many hands-on activities and displays that are free and you could easily spend a couple hours here without paying for the extra exhibitions.

Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum admission is free. There is a fee for special exhibitions. The Missouri History Museum also hosts a free Twilight Tuesday Concert Series in May.

St. Louis Art Museum

Admission to the St. Louis Art Museum is free. They are open Tuesdays – Sundays. The Art Museum is preparing for the opening of 21 new galleries in the East Building and will be closed from June 17 – 28th.

Muny Opera

The Muny reserves approximately 1500 free seats in the last nine rows of the outdoor theater. The 2013 season opens on June 17th with Monty Python’s Spamalot. Other shows include Shrek the Musical, Nunsense – Muny Style, South Pacific, Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and West Side Story.

Grant’s Farm

It costs $12 to park at Grant’s Farm, but once you are parked, everything else is free, including the admission, animal shows and a tram ride. The U.S. Family Travel Guide Zagat Survey ranked Grant’s Farm as Number 7 on its list of family attractions nationwide. My business manager has been enjoying the many free family friendly St. Louis attractions for years and compiled the list of some of her favorites below.

Museum of Westward Expansion at the Arch

You have to pay to ride the tram to the top of the Arch, but this great museum on the Arch grounds is free.

Old Courthouse

The Old Courthouse is located across the street from the Museum of Westward Expansion. The courthouse is over 150 years old. The first two Dred Scott cases were held here in 1847 and 1850.

Anheuser Busch Brewery Tours

Anheuser Busch offers free brewery tours 7 days a week. Visit their website linked to above for more information.

Cathedral Basilica

Visit their website linked to above to see information regarding free visit and tour times available. Admission is free, but the Mosaic Museum located there requests a $2 donation if you want to visit the museum.

World Bird Sanctuary

The World Bird Sanctuary is located in Valley Park and is open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Free parking and free admission.

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park is located in Sunset Hills. Both the outdoor park and the indoor museum are free and open to the public.

Purina Farms Visitor Center

Located in Gray Summit, Missouri. Admission and parking are free except for special events. The Purina Farms Visitor Center offers dog shows, a baby animal petting area, wagon rides, animal barn and loft play area and cow-milking demonstrations.