What’s more fun than museums? Free museums!
During day two of our trip to St. Louis, we explored some of the free museums in the area. Without the worry of admission, we didn’t feel the need to stay in any one place for too long. This is a great way to keep the kids entertained with their shorter attention spans.
Plus, it was a cloudy, rainy day, so an indoor activity was perfect.
As I mentioned in my previous post about St. Louis, our hotel was located near Forest Park. Within the park, you can find The St. Louis Art Museum, The St. Louis Zoo, The St. Louis Science Center, and the Missouri History Museum. It’s a huge beautiful park, with fountains, ponds, and man-made lakes. All of the attractions, including the zoo, are free to visitors. There may be special exhibits within each that have a cost, but there is no general admission cost.
Our first stop of the day was the St. Louis Art Museum. Both my husband and I are artists, and the kids love to draw, so we were excited to show them all the works of art. In a happy coincidence, one of my husband’s friends works at the museum.
After finding a parking spot on the street in the park, we explored some of the art on the outside of the building first.
It was then time to head in!
If you know our children in person, or if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might know that my boys are not two things: Quiet or Still
So, before heading inside, we tried to talk to them about the importance of using “inside” voices (although, do kids really even have those?) not touching anything, and not running around. We then crossed our fingers and headed to the information desk.
We got a map of the museum and figured out the things we didn’t want to miss. Mr. B loves anything Egyptian, so we didn’t want to miss any of the Egyptian art. I also wanted to see the Impressionist paintings, and our friend thought the boys would love to look at the armor collection.
There was one paid main exhibition, but we decided not to see that.
The museum is beautiful with a wide range of media and artists. We saw paintings from Monet and Van Gogh, pottery from ancient China, and a sarcophagus from Egypt. There were sculptures from Rome and a Balinese installation. I even got to see an installation called The Bauhaus and its Legacy: Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet, which contained a video of a ballet dance done in geometric costumes.
As for the kids, I’d have to say Mr. B did the best. He appreciated looking at the art, and he is really fascinated by history. The twins were not so great the whole time. They didn’t touch anything, which was awesome, but they weren’t always super quiet. They did like that there were couches and chairs in many of the rooms, so they would take a seat while we looked around.
The museum does offer a free hour long docent led tour, but there was no way the twins could have behaved that whole time. So, we just wandered on our own, which was fine.
The twins are more of the hands-on type, so our next stop was perfect for them.
The St. Louis Science Center
Before we headed to the Science Center, we decided to go have lunch with my husband’s friend. They have both a cafe and a sit down restaurant at the Art Museum, but the boys were ready to get outside for a bit.
So, after looking at the fountain, we walked to our car, and drove to a cute diner up the road.
After lunch, we parked at the Science Center. There is a charge for parking, but again it one of the free museums, so we were excited to explore. There is an IMAX theater, a Planetarium, and a special exhibit that you can pay for, but we opted to only do the free stuff.
Hands On Everything
From the moment you arrive at the St. Louis Science Center, there are things for all the little hands….and feet and bodies.
The boys started running in what looked like a giant hamster wheel, and I don’t think they stopped moving and exploring during our entire visit.
We learned about energy, space, and dinosaurs. We got to make our own boats our of clothespins and fabric, and then we got to race them. There was an entire area dedicated to gaming, which I think was the boys favorite. Not only were there video games, but giant board games, sports games, puzzles, and even a game where you moved things with your mind.
There’s also an outdoor garden and farm area. The boys could ride small tractors/tricycles, get inside a big tractor, learn about water, and see how milk is processed.
Free Museums for the Win
Our second day in St. Louis was fun and budget friendly. It was so nice not having to worry about getting our money’s worth. Even though we probably could have squeezed in the Missouri History Museum, I’m glad we didn’t rush and just did the two.
Now we have a reason to go back!
We did visit the zoo on day four, so I will share that soon. I also will be sharing our review of the City Museum, so I hope you’ll have a reason to come back here.
Scarlet | Family Focus Blog says
Thanks for the awesome list of free museums. These will be so fun to visit with my kiddos!