The weather in St. Louis can be truly unpredictable at times. Sometimes it seems as if all four seasons roll through our city in the span of one day! But autumn in particular is certainly the sweet spot for outdoor activities and it’s a welcome change from that blistering summer heat. Grab a light jacket, venture out to a local St. Louis area park and spend the day amidst the changing leaves and cool breeze. Take advantage of the refreshing fragrance of fall while it lasts!
You’re probably familiar with the St. Louis classic, Forest Park, home to the St. Louis Zoo, History Museum, Art Museum and more. But there are an endless amount of park possibilities to explore! So, we’ve narrowed it down to these 5 parks just off the beaten path.
Laumeier Sculpture Park is totally unlike your typical playground stomping grounds. 60 larger-than-life pieces of art adorn the acreage around the park and you can see all of them for free! This year is also the perfect time to come and celebrate Laumeier’s 40th Anniversary. The park is open every single day from 8 AM until 30 minutes after sunset, so be sure to see every sculpture before dark since daylight savings time already kicked in. If you’re feeling really festive, you can even register to take an art class, where all of the materials are provided and you’re taught by local artists.
Southeast Missouri is home to Elephant Rock State Park, where the sculptures are naturally part of the landscape. They’re not exaggerating when they call the rocks elephant sized! They even line up end-to-end, like a circus-inspired train of elephants. You can stop to have lunch at one of the picnic tables or walk the Braille Trail that was designed for fellow park-goers who may have visual or physical disabilities.
Castlewood State Park is a treasure trove of trails that twist around the Meremac River and intertwine in grassy fields near the playground or underneath the train tracks. One end of the scenic River Scene Trail opens up along a sandy beach where park-goers often sunbathe, walk their dogs and stroll. The park is a gorgeous expanse of multicolored trees and plants native to Missouri. You’ll get your workout in too on upward slopes, sandy or rocky terrain and along paths fit for your feet or wheels. There are spots to fish and pavilions where you can stop to grill or host a picnic.
Faust Park was created on 200 acres of land in Chesterfield almost 50 years ago. It’s the home of a walking trail, playground, butterfly house and the St. Louis Carousel, an original 1920’s carousel from the Dentzel Co. of Philadelphia! The park was intended to preserve the home of Missouri’s second governor, Frederick Bates, and during the fall they offer educational programs and history hayrides that take you back in time to his era. Try your hand at the 4 hour “Farmsteading at Thornhill” program, where you partake in different activities from the 19th century.
We’re giving a special shout-out to Kiener Plaza Park, located in the heart of downtown St. Louis and within walking distance to the Arch. It’s newly renovated with ample seating arrangements and features a children’s playground. It doesn’t seem like it, but it takes up a total of 1.9 acres! This family friendly locale is also just a hop, skip or jump away from City Garden, where, unlike Laumeier, kids can play on the sculptures!