On the western edge of downtown St. Louis, 1,300 acres of forest, trails, attractions, and history play host to more than 13 million visitors a year. Forest Park, voted the No. 1 city park in the country by USA Today readers in 2016, is overflowing with free events and entertainment for all ages.
Dedicated on June 24, 1876, Forest Park is home to miles of walking and bike trails, three golf courses, 45,000 trees, and several cultural institutions. Luckily for Tri-State families, the sixth most visited urban park in the country is only a three-hour drive from Evansville.
“Forest Park contains multitudes,” says Stephen Schenkenberg, vice president of communications and marketing at Forest Park Forever, a nonprofit that helps maintain, sustain, and restore the park. “It’s impossible to visit and not soon be smiling. Even — or perhaps especially — during tough years like this one, Forest Park is our region’s happy place, and you’ll soon find out why.”
The Saint Louis Science Center, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Saint Louis Zoo are all free and family-friendly attractions inside the park.
Visitors can also see a show at The Muny, the country’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre, in the summer or fall; glide under the lights at Steinberg Skating Rink, the largest outdoor ice rink in the nation, in the winter; relax at the Boathouse, featuring a fine-dining restaurant and seasonal paddle boat rentals; snap a picture with several remaining structures from the 1904 World’s Fair, hosted in Forest Park; or take in the views from the iconic Emerson Grand Basin, a large man-made pond resting at the base of Art Hill, which is also a popular sledding destination on snow days.
With free options for the whole family to learn and have fun, Forest Park is the perfect day trip, weekend getaway, or holiday destination.
“Spaces like Forest Park help create a great quality of life and bring an entire community together,” says Schenkenberg. “Even during the toughest of times, spaces like Forest Park can create joy and pride for those who call a region home.”
Day In The Park