Getaway Ideas for a Quick Family Trip to St. Louis at a Reasonable Cost

My kids at the City Museum!

Sometimes the best vacation is a nearby getaway. This summer I decided to stay close to home for our usual big family trip with a weekend away in Saint Louis. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

If you’re looking for a close getaway that is fun and educational for the whole family, St Louis won’t disappoint! Give Destination Travel me a call at 217-223-8747 ext 102 to get your room booked and plan some fun!

Hotel Choice

Pro Tip: Think as much about what’s near you hotel as you do about what the hotel itself offers.

We stayed at the Courtyard in Creve Coure and loved it!  It was a close location to downtown while keeping us nearby shopping and great restaurants.  The price is great too and they have 1-bedroom suites, which makes for a nice setup with a big family.

Bonus: There is an Aldi’s next door, so we even ran over there and got food and drinks for our daily outings and evening snacks.  Even if you pack them at home, no parent can ever seem to have enough “snacks!”

St. Louis Science Center

Pro Tip: Get there early and plan your day based on the extras you want to see and do.

I cannot say enough about St. Louis Science Center!  We have carried a membership for years.  It is nice, clean, and fun for all ages.  My children range in ages from 2 to 13 and every single one loves going here!

The Science Center is completely free, but they do charge for parking, Omnimax tickets, Discovery Room, Planetarium shows, and other special exhibits.  If you purchase a family membership and do all these things, you will save money that day.

We have not been able to take the children all over the world yet, but they’ve had the opportunity to experience a little bit of it when visiting the Science Center.  In July of this year, we did the Pompeii exhibit.  It was amazing and so educational for all of us.  The exhibit featured artwork, everyday household items, and even some of the bodies unearthed from the ruins.  For all 6 of us, this cost about $55 in total with the discount from being members.

City Museum

Pro Tip: Skip the long line and buy tickets online and wear tennis shoes.

The City Museum was an interesting and new experience for all of us in the family over the Fourth of July weekend. It’s less museum than an old factory turned into a giant playground for both kids and adults. There are caves, a giant whale, a treehouse, a skateless park (could’ve spent all day here), toddler town (awesome for the little ones), pinball machines that run on quarters, and even an art center and art room. One section is filled with salvaged architecture pieces from all over the city.

We did the Rooftop option and climbed everything, even with a little cool-off on the Ferris Wheel with a great view of the city!  I would highly recommend doing the Rooftop first in the morning to make sure you aren’t in the mid-day heat.  The cost for our family of six was only around $115 total with $10 parking right at the entrance. It’s money well spent for an activity that occupied a good part of the day and burned off a chunk of the kids’ energy!

I would recommend wearing tennis shoes and even long pants and knee pads for the most comfortable experience. This is a big place and kids like take off and ran, so be sure to write your telephone number on your child’s wristband in case they get lost.

St. Louis Zoo

Pro Tip: Wait until you need a cool down before going to see the penguins.
Pro Tip 2: Download the zoo app so that you always know where you are to be able to maximize your time and minimize extra walking!

The St. Louis Zoo is another place where it pays to get a family membership.  We buy each year. It includes free parking, tickets for the Zooline Railroad, Children’s Zoo, Sea Lion Show, Conservation Carousel, and Stingrays at Caribbean Cove if you go with a family level membership. All the extras add up quickly without the family membership. There is so much to see here, but my personal favorite are the penguins and gorillas. We went to the 4-D showing of Small Foot.  It was so much fun and only about $20 for all of us.

The zoo is a classic family outing and so are the high concession prices. We tossed a soft-sided cooler into the stroller with snacks, fresh fruit, and water to minimize spending.

St. Louis is such a great place with something for the whole family. It’s so close and answered minimal “are we there yet?” questions. It was great choice for us and we didn’t even go to a ballgame! Get your room booked by either calling Destination Travel at 217-223-8747 ext 102 or email me at

Kassie Casey
I have been a Travel Specialist since 2012 and have found that my favorite aspect of travel is romance travel, i.e. destination weddings, honeymoons, and anniversary trips.