St. Louis is one of those cities within an easy drive of Chicago
that I had never visited. I've driven through and waved at the
Arch, but never stopped. Until now.
My daughter and I are visiting for three days during her spring
break. We're staying as guests of the newly renovated Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. It's a
beautiful hotel that is better for business people than families,
mostly because it lacks the No. 1 most critical kid amenity: a
swimming pool. On the plus side, the service is incredible and it's
conveniently located just a block away from the Arch, the iconic
St. Louis attraction.
The Arch is not free, but the accompanying Museum of Westward
Expansion is. We had only about 45 minutes there to learn about the
Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisana Purchase. If you
want to go up to the top of the 630-foot Arch, book your tickets
online before you go to reserve your spot. Seats are limited and
were sold out by mid-day when we visited.
The Free Stuff
I love free. Especially traveling with kids. All those admission
fees can add up quickly. That's one of the reasons we chose St. Louis
for our spring break trip was the plethora of free things to do in
In addition to the museum at the Arch, there's the Old
Courthouse, where we learned about the Dred Scott trial and the
history of slavery, the calming Citygarden sculpture park where we
had a lovely picnic lunch, and the incredible wealth of
family-friendly and free attractions in Forest Park. Attractions at
the park include the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Science
Center and the St. Louis Zoo, one of only three free zoos in the
country (the others are Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and the
National Zoo in Washington D.C.).
Our favorite, hands down, is the zoo. Could be it was the
picture perfect spring day that brought out a crowd and seemed to
energize the animals. Or it could be that zoos are just so cool. I
never get enough of watching the faces of the children the first
time they see a real bear or watch a monkey swing from one vine to
the next. It's one of the most basic pleasures of parenthood.
Cindy Richards is the travel writer for Chicago Parent and
the editor of TravelingMom.com.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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