St. Louis with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

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St. Louis with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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St. Louis -- the "Gateway to the West" -- has much to offer when it comes to a family vacation. While the city offers a variety of attractions throughout the year, the summer months are the best time to visit St. Louis with tweens, with the Cardinals playing at Busch Stadium and the outdoor theater season alive in Forest Park. Even better, a lot of the attractions are free.


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Morning


A great way to start the day is in the downtown area, where the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial includes the Old Courthouse (11 North 4th Street, St Louis, MO 63102, 314-655-1600), where the Dred Scott trial took place, and St. Louis' iconic Gateway Arch (707 North First St., St. Louis, MO 63102; 877-982-1410). The tram to the top of the Arch offers a panoramic view of both sides of the Mississippi River. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 15. Also part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the Museum of Westward Expansion is located under the Arch and admission is free.

In this same area is the Basilica of St. Louis, King or The Old Cathedral (209 Walnut Street, St Louis, MO 63102; 314-231-3250) an d Busch Stadium (700 Clark St., St. Louis, MO 63102; 314-345-9600), where the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team plays. Tickets start at $19 for adults and $7 for children 15 and under. Pro sports are always fun when you visit big cities like St. Louis with tweens.


Afternoon


About two miles from the downtown area is Forest Park, where an afternoon can easily be spent at any one of the offerings, all of which are free (although there are fees for some of the extra attractions). These include such family-friendly attractions as the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110; 314-289-4400); the St. Louis Art Museum (One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63110; 314-721-0072); and the St. Louis Zoo (One Government Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110; 314-781-0900), which is celebrating its 100th year in 2010.

Southwest of Forest Park, is the Museum of Transportation (2967 Barrett Station Road, St. Louis, MO 63122, 314-965-6885), which features some of the largest train engines ever made. Children are allowed to get on board and walk through them. Tickets are $4 for children 5 to 12 and $6 for adults. Also, close by is the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110; 314-577-5100. Tickets are free for children 12 and under, $8 for adults.


Evening


Back in Forest Park, the Municipal Theater Association of St. Louis -- or The Muny (One Theatre Drive, St. Louis, MO 63112; 314-361-1900) -- is considered the oldest and largest outdoor theater in the nation. All productions start at 8:15 p.m. and are family friendly. Tickets start at $9/person but they also have a section of free seats for those that arrive early.

Before you leave town, there is one last place that you must visit in St. Louis with tweens: Ted Drewes, known worldwide for their famous frozen custard ice cream. It is said that Elvis Presley use to fly into St. Louis just to have one of Ted's favorite ice creams. He even had one that was named after him called the All Shook Up. There are two in the area. However the original, located at 6726 Chippewa, St. Louis, MO 63109; 314-481-2652, is a stop not to miss.

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