Now that it’s finally starting to feel a little more like spring out there, we thought we’d share some outdoor destinations in the St. Louis area perfect for families.
These places are all fully accessible, and many have special features that make playing and learning fun for kids and teens of all abilities. They are also perfect for this time of year – when it is just warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, but not quite hot enough to hit the pool.
Interested in learning more? Click on the title of the attraction or destination for a link to their website.
Not only does Missouri Botanical Garden offer beautiful blooms this time of year, this attraction also offers visitors a wide range of accessibility accommodations.
The Garden tram is manual wheelchair-accessible, and those who utilize power chairs are welcome to secure their chair at the tram shelter and transfer to a complimentary manual chair to enjoy the tour. Featuring raised beds with multi-sensory plants, the Zimmerman Sensory Garden is perfect for those who want to touch and smell the plants, and each plant is also labeled with Braille. The Garden for All in the Kemper Center for Home Gardening is “devoted to individuals with physical disabilities.”
And that’s not all – pre-visit tools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensory needs are available online, and a calming corner is set aside in Edward Jones Hall for those who may need to take a break.
You may know that the free St. Louis Zoo is one of the best family-friendly attractions in the St. Louis area, but did you know that they offer great accommodations for people with special needs?
Equal Access Passes offer alternative access to attractions, like the Zooline Railroad, Stingrays at Caribbean Cove and Penguin & Puffin Coast, that does not include waiting in a long line. These free passes can be found at the Visitor Relations booth at Lakeside Crossing and the Rentals Desks at both entrances to the Zoo.
Online, you can also find the Visual Schedule, which was created to provide information and suggestions to caregivers of individuals with special needs. This information is designed to help those with unique abilities make the most of a visit to the Zoo, and includes helpful hints and notes on each section of the Zoo so that families can be better prepared in advance.
If hiking and exploring the outdoors is your thing, there are a number of paved trails throughout the St. Louis area.
Rock Hollow Trail in West County winds through a heavily wooded valley, and features beautiful flowers, especially in the spring. Creve Coeur Park offers a multitude of paved trails, and even a connection to the Katy Trail. If it’s water you’re looking for, Spanish Lake Park offers a Lakeside Trail and Meramec Greenway Trail in Lower Meramec Park traverses woodlands along the Meramec River. And those are just a few!
In South County, there is a paved trail that will lead you right to our next attraction. Grant’s Trail is a flat, rails-to-trails path that allows for a more urban experience, and passes Grant’s Farm.
At Grant’s Farm, you’ll find a plethora of animals, including camels, tortoises, goats and, every St. Louisan’s favorite horse, Clydesdales.
Grant’s Farm is an entirely wheelchair-accessible facility, and their trams are wheelchair accessible as well. In fact, the tram ride is often a highlight of the trip, as you are taken through Deer Park where exotic animals from around the world are allowed to roam free.
Trips to Grant’s Farm also include a lot of interaction with the animals, including a chance to feed goats and parakeets! There are also many fun and educational shows.
Did we miss somewhere? Where do you like to go with your family in the springtime? Let us know!