- The Magic House: When this popular Kirkwood children’s museum waives admission for two parents and four children per family on the third Friday of each month, it’s overrun — and while parents may cringe, the kids revel in the crowds and the action that goes on until 9 p.m. In addition, during the summer months there’s usually one free night per week (in 2008 it’s Wednesday). Party! For details on the museum, visit the Web site or call 314.822.8900.
- The Children’s Garden Club: Organized by the Fox 2 TV station, this monthly event introduces kids to dirt through hands-on, seasonal activities. The location varies, but it’s typically in one of the participating garden centers. For a calendar of upcoming dates and topics, visit the Fox homepage.
- Great Green Adventures: The Missouri Botanical Garden invites kids ages 6 to 12 (along with younger siblings and at least one adult per three kids) to 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. session on the third Saturday of each month. Topics include everything from signs of spring to tree identification to special features of the MoBot garden itself. For details, visit the homepage or call 314.577.5100.
- First Fridays: The Saint Louis Science Center is keeping its doors open until 9:30 p.m. once a month for all the usual activities plus speakers and demonstrations — and best of all, public telescope viewings (weather permitting). Parents of small kids, note that the Discovery Room closes at 7 p.m. Check the SLSC homepage or call 314.289.4464 for details on each month’s activities.
- Gateway Kite Club: This group of kite enthusiasts typically meets in Forest Park once a month (except July and August — not enough breeze during the St. Louis summer!) to fly kites and talk with anyone who stops by. To see when the next date is, check the club’s homepage.
- Movies at St. Louis Public Libraries: Various branches offer age-specific screenings for young kids, elementary students, families and adults. To see a schedule, visit the library’s events page — and be aware that there is no single comprehensive list; activities are separated by age in the scroll-down menu. Dates and times vary.
- Family Movie Night: On the third Wednesday of each month, Hartford Coffee Company invites everyone over to have supper and watch a kid-friendly flick from 5:30 to roughly 7:30 p.m. It’s free, but you’ll naturally want to purchase beverages and supper there. To find out what’s showing, call the coffeehouse at 314.771.5282.
- Saint Louis Art Museum: Each month the Family Sundays sport a different theme (portraiture, quilts, mosaics, sculpture, etc.) but there’s always an opportunity to tour the collections and to make art yourself, using materials related to that month’s topic. For details, visit the museum’s calendar listing and click on the Sunday you plan to attend. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m.
- Free @ Three at COCA: Instructors introduce kids to art in one-hour sessions each month, often with a theme tied to the season (from Earth Day to Black History Month). The sessions are free, but kids must arrive 10 minutes early to register before they can participate. Details are on the COCA site (you have to browse the calendar to find them) 314.725.6555.
- Kids’ ArtStart: Although it’s affiliated with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, don’t be fooled — these classes cover a range of media and genres, including dance, drama and visual arts. Held the first Saturday of the month between October and April. For details, visit the Web site or call 314.968.7340.
- Blues City Deli: This tasty sandwich shop in Benton Park is jammed every Saturday afternoon with music-loving customers. The “expanded” seating area is still very small and seats are at a premium. However, it’s the kind of place where customers will give up their table for a family with small kids, and the intimacy of the performers and audience makes it well worth fighting the crowds if your children are into music at all. For a list of performers, see the Web calendar.
Outdoor free summer concert series (not a comprehensive list, just some of our favorites)
- Sounds at the Station: The third Thursday of the month, April to September, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. See the schedule of bands (usually two per evening) at the Union Station Web site.
- Twilight Tuesdays: Each Tuesday from April 29 through June 24, and again in the late summer and fall (dates TBD), the front lawn of the Missouri History Museum, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The monthly calendar listing has the band schedule and details on VIP seating and boxed lunch purchases.
More coming soon!