Forest Park Walking Tour, Saint Louis

Forest Park Walking Tour (Self Guided), Saint Louis

Saint Louis boasts a number of entertaining and educational facilities such as museums, zoos and parks. Among the latter, the most outstanding is Saint Louis Forest Park, established in 1876. The park represents an ideal location for a great time out. Take this self guided walking tour to discover the most visited tourist attractions in Saint Louis Forest Park.
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Forest Park Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Forest Park Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Saint Louis (See other walking tours in Saint Louis)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Missouri History Museum
  • The Grand Basin
  • Saint Louis Art Museum
  • St. Louis Zoo
  • Forest Park World's Fair Pavilion
  • Muny Theater
  • Jewel Box
  • Saint Louis Science Center
Missouri History Museum

1) Missouri History Museum (must see)

The Missouri History Museum, operated by the Missouri Historical Society, was founded in 1866. Its main galleries are free through a public subsidy by the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District. The Jefferson Memorial Building, built in 1913 with profits from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, is the current home of the museum. In 1988, the museum joined the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District.

In 2000, the Emerson Center, a significant building addition, was completed, boosting attendance and exhibition capacity. The Emerson Center was selected by the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment as an example of architectural design that protects and enhances the environment. It is an example of a green museum. Its permanent collection includes both national artifacts as well as Missouri- and St. Louis-related materials, such as local colonial and native items, Louisiana Purchase Exposition artifacts, and memorabilia relating to Charles Lindbergh and his trans-Atlantic flight in the "Spirit of St. Louis". A replica of the "Spirit of St. Louis" can be found here, too. A large number of artifacts from the Lewis and Clark Expedition are also housed in the permanent collection. Admission to it is free; however, certain exhibits require a ticket.

Why You Should Visit:
Friendly staff, wonderful location right in Forest Park, and great exhibits make it a good place for a family outing that educates, entertains and inspires.

Check to see if current exhibits are of interest to you. If not, it's still nice to look at the fascinating gift shop and sit down for an upscale lunch at a reasonable price (not typical for a museum).

Operation Hours:
Mon, Wed-Sun: 10am–5pm; Tue: 10am–8pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Grand Basin

2) The Grand Basin

The Grand Basin is one of the best and oldest attractions of Saint Louis Forest Park. It dates back to 1904 when it was the center of the World's Fair. Nowadays, after a thorough renovation, the Basin looks magnificent with its eight fountains and charming promenades. It is a favorite spot for taking photographs, especially at night, when the Basin is beautifully lit.

Even on the hottest St. Louis summer day, the Grand Basin provides a cool breeze and the large trees provide ample shade. Best place for a picnic!
Saint Louis Art Museum

3) Saint Louis Art Museum (must see)

The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the principal U.S. art museums, visited by up to a half million people every year. Admission is free through a subsidy from the cultural tax district for St. Louis City and County. Located in Forest Park in St. Louis, the Museum's three-story building was constructed as the Palace of the Fine Arts for the 1904 World's Fair, also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Architect Cass Gilbert was inspired by the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy.

In addition to the featured exhibitions, the Museum offers rotating exhibitions and installations. These include the Currents series, which showcases contemporary artists, as well as regular exhibitions of new media art and works on paper. The Saint Louis Art Museum began in 1881 as the Saint Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts, an independent entity within Washington University in St. Louis. Originally housed in a building in downtown St. Louis, the Museum moved to its current location in Forest Park after the 1904 World's Fair. During the 1950s, the Museum added an extension to include an auditorium for films, concerts and lectures. The collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum contains more than 30,000 artworks dating from antiquity to the present.

Why You Should Visit:
Very eclectic collection – from paintings to pottery, from sculpture to furniture...
Would you like to see Monet's famous 'Water Lilies' and an Egyptian mummy? You can see them both at this museum.

Entrance to the museum is free; the special exhibits are free on Fridays.
Fine dining in Panorama restaurant on the first floor (reserve in advance), and café in the basement.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu, Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm; Fri: 10am-9pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
St. Louis Zoo

4) St. Louis Zoo (must see)

St. Louis Zoo is a perfect family fun destination. The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair is credited for the birth of the local zoo. The Fair brought the world's attention to the city and Forest Park in particular. The Smithsonian Institution constructed a walk-through bird cage for the World's Fair. Ten days after the World's Fair closure, the citizens of St. Louis chose to buy the 1904 World's Fair Flight Cage for $3,500, rather than have it dismantled and returned to Washington, D.C. This was the first piece of what would become the St. Louis Zoo.

Today, the Zoo hosts an array of animal and bird species from all over the world, including Asian elephants, hippos, cheetahs and many others. There is also a Children's Zoo with Monsanto Insectarium and butterfly garden. A particular attention deserves the charming Hermann Fountain. For a good look around the Zoo, hop on a small train to give your kids a true joy ride.

Why You Should Visit:
Free zoo with world-class exhibits and special events on some evenings. It's walkable, clean and there are areas indoors and out (if you need a break from the weather).

You're unlikely to be able to see all you want in a single day, so spend some time online and select your preferences.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Forest Park World's Fair Pavilion

5) Forest Park World's Fair Pavilion

Located on Government Hill, the World's Fair Pavilion opened in 1910 as a gift from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Committee; it helped fulfill their promise to restore the park after the 1904 World's Fair. The Pavilion offers breathtaking views of the park, and is a beloved spot for weddings and other events. There is a great combination of outdoor beauties and indoor facilities. The fountain in front of the Pavilion makes it particularly attractive.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Muny Theater

6) Muny Theater

The Muny Theater in Forest Park was opened in 1918 and is the nation's oldest outdoor Greek-style amphitheater. Since opening, the theater has had a good number of more or less famous actors perform on its stage. Quality musicals along with a great location have won The Muny its reputation of an ideal spot for a beautiful summer night outing. Operating only in summer, the theater can seat up to 11,000 spectators. The Muny seasons run every year from mid-June to mid-August. It is run by a not-for-profit organization.

Why You Should Visit:
The place to go if you want to enjoy a fun, inexpensive night under the stars. Located in a gorgeous park with lots of amenities.
You can spend the day biking, going to a museum, riding a paddle boat or having a picnic – then head over for a nighttime performance at The Muny.

If there's a show that you have been dying to see, splurge and get tickets closer to the front – in section A or closer – or use binoculars and you will not miss a thing.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Jewel Box

7) Jewel Box

The Jewel Box is a greenhouse in St Louis Forest Park. After renovation it appears particularly stunning, featuring glass walls and Art Deco architectural style. Apart from various wonderful flowers, here you will find a fountain of matching beauty in the middle of the building. The structure boasts all the modern amenities and is a popular venue for weddings.
Saint Louis Science Center

8) Saint Louis Science Center (must see)

The Saint Louis Science Center is a collection of buildings which incorporates a science museum and planetarium in the southeastern corner of Forest Park. With over 750 exhibits in a complex of over 300,000 square feet, it is among the largest of its type in the country, and according to the Association of Science and Technology Centers, is one of the top five science centers in the United States. As of 2007, the complex hosts 1.2 million visitors each year, with another 200,000 served through offsite programs at schools and community centers.

The first building of the current complex, the Planetarium, opened in 1963, hosting about 300,000 visitors per year. In 1983, it was combined with an existing Museum of Science and Natural History that had been located in Clayton, upon which the Planetarium was renamed the Saint Louis Science Center. In 1991, a major expansion increased its size seven-fold, adding a main building and Omnimax theater. In 1997, an air-supported building, the Exploradome, was added next to the main facility, and in 2003, a Community Science Resource Center southeast of the main building was added to the complex. The northern and southern sections of the Science Center are connected via a pedestrian bridge over the interstate, which also has science exhibits, such as radar guns that the visitors can use to investigate traffic patterns.

Why You Should Visit:
You can easily spend the entire afternoon here with your kids. The staff gives talks that are appropriate for every age and level.
Most everything is hands-on and educational – and of course, the IMAX and Planetarium are good for all but little kids.

If you are traveling by yourself, breeze through quickly at a less crowded time; maybe book a Night Sky show, which is better than the kid-oriented planetarium shows.

Operation Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:30am-4:30pm; Sun: 11am-4:30pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Saint Louis, Missouri

Create Your Own Walk in Saint Louis

Create Your Own Walk in Saint Louis

Creating your own self-guided walk in Saint Louis is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Historical Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Saint Louis is considered the perfect destination for those who want to see great architecture that also has an important spiritual value. This old city features some of the famous and interesting churches in the USA as well as other well known religious buildings. Take this self guided walking tour to visit the beautiful religious buildings in Saint Louis.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
Top Museums Walking Tour

Top Museums Walking Tour

Amid an array of diverse cultural attractions fit to delight any tourist in Saint Louis, museums are among the most prominent. If you're an American history buff or have a keen interest in military or architecture, you can discover much to your liking, as well as learn a great deal about the city's past and present by visiting the Museum of Westward Expansion, the City Museum, the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Saint Louis Downtown Walking Tour

Saint Louis Downtown Walking Tour

Missouri's main city, St. Louis, is a prominent metropolis renowned for its cultural diversity, vibrancy and art. Ahead of the Europeans, the area of today's St. Louis was inhabited by the Native American Mississippian tribes.

French fur traders, who settled on the territory in 1764, named it for King Louis IX of France. That same year, the land was ceded to Spain, and in 1800, was...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles