St. Louis Long Weekend Road Trip With the Kids
So many people have said how amazing it is that I travel with and have started to instill and share my passion of traveling with my kiddos. Many people also say how crazy it is that I travel with my kiddos (sometimes even travel with them alone!). This is my 3rd trip that I've traveled with the kiddos alone and each and every time gets easier and easier. This time, my mom came along with my cousin and her two kiddos but they did drive separately so I was really on my own for the journey there and back!
I've shared some road trip details on a previous post here from when I drove to Nashville with the kiddos. This drive, I prepped in an almost identical way and although it was about half the time it was also SO incredibly easy. The kids were so well behaved. Being that I was the only adult in the car, I just planned accordingly. I had all of their games and toys easily accessible and reachable for myself. I had snack an arms length away, movies ready to hit play on, and of course we couldn't do this drive without listening to the Encanto Soundtrack at least once (IYKYK 🤪) Planning here is key.
Since we left so early, I planned to feed them breakfast after our first stop. What's a road trip without some McDonalds stops. We all used the restroom and I ordered food and back on the road, kiddos with breakfast in hand. The rest of the trip was a breeze and it's always so exciting to come into your destination and see the end goal.
Where we Stayed:
We stayed at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark and it was perfect for what we needed. We got connecting rooms and although the hotel was quite large it was easily manageable with the kids. There was valet parking (not included in the rate we booked) and the staff were all very kind. They got our cars of us as often as we wanted and never once complained about our speed of loading kids, strollers, and stuff. There was an on site bar and restaurant which we got breakfast at each morning and there was a small but nice pool. The day we went swimming it was SO busy in there but the kiddos loved it regardless. The rooms we got overlooked the Union Station side so the kids could look out and see the ferris wheel in the distance and even better it was right across the street from the baseball park. It was about a 2 block walk to the Gateway arch, so for our needs the location was perfect! (I'm realizing now I neglected to take pictures of the room but it was a nice basic hotel room with two beds, a sitting area, large mirror, tv, desk space, and mini fridge)
What we Did:
After getting early check-in at the hotel and dropping our carloads of junk- I mean stuff- we headed out to the children's museum called The Magic House which was highly suggested for our kids ages. It did not disappoint. We got a quick visit with the Easter Bunny who my kids both hated, and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying a wonderful kids museum.
They loved all of the real life play experiences like getting to grocery shop, fix a car and go fishing. The other favorite for my kiddos was the bubble room! A room full of all things bubbles- what kiddo doesn't like that. If you have little kids this is a must do when you are in St. Louis. We really wanted to do the City Museum and know how amazing that would have been but it just wasn't appropriate for our kiddos ages. Just gives us an excuse to venture back again one day!
That night we had dinner at the ball park and the service was slow and honestly not great. The food however was delish! The kiddos loved getting to see the park and play with a mini connect four as we waited for what seemed like ever for our food. Partly everyone was hungry from a long journey and day of travel and exploration!
The next day we committed to Union Station. We decided the 20 minute walk was easier than getting cars out and would give everyone some outdoor time, but BOY it was cold and windy on the way there. Once there, we realized there is SO much to see and do at Union Station. It was an amazing old building with the history of it honored in many unique and creative ways. Of course with it being Spring Break season everything was so incredibly busy but we walked in and got tickets to the Aquarium.
This was really fun for the kids and unlike any aquarium we've ever visited (we have an obsession with seeing new locations aquariums) this one had so many fun hands on exhibits, from petting stingrays, to a massive water table with boats, to sand, and even a kids play area with tunnels, dress up items, and more. Another must visit with kids in St. Louis. We had lunch there and enjoyed some music and dancing afterwards outside.
We realllllly wanted to get some fun ice cream treats at the Soda Fountain there but it was too long of a wait sadly. Instead we stumbled upon another darling ice cream place and drove there after we rested ourselves back at the hotel for a bit. Clementines Naughty and Nice did not disappoint, there was boozy ice cream for mom and regular ice cream for the kiddos in the most darling shop!
That evening we walked to check out The Gateway Arch which was Leonas highlight of the trip! The kids got to run and jump and play on the grounds just below and thought it was so cool that they could even touch and hold up the Arch.
When we returned to the hotel we opted to UberEats food to our hotel from a Mexican restaurant called Dos Reyes Mexican Restaurant nearby and while it was being ordered, prepped, and arriving we took a cold but nice swim in the hotel pool. Naturally Porter was fearless and Leona is really coming a long way with her swimming. They both enjoyed jumping in and playing with a fun ball in the pool but with purple lips were ready to get out and eat tacos!
The last morning we were there we went to the St. Louis Zoo which is free, I could not believe it. Parking is $15 per car and there are two lots so lots of availability. The zoo itself was really unique and beautiful. There were so many places to stop and grab snack and treats and the exhibits were all huge and nicely kept up. The grounds were also really pleasing on the eyes. It was still early in the season so many of the animals were not overly active or out but we did see some really fun and playful animals of the ones that were out. The layout was very confusing for me and the signage was not great, but for a free zoo I was really impressed. As and FYI you do have do make reservations on line even though it is free and there are only two time slots. You must arrive within your slot but can stay as long as you'd like.
We had the car all packed up and when we left the zoo we hopped back on the road to head home. As we passed the Gateway Arch on the way out of town Leona's sweet soul said "Bye Arch, Bye St. Louis, I love you!" and in that moment my heart was so full. We got a few miles up the road and I heard her crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she didn't want the best weekend ever to end. I know this was the first trip that she really understood and appreciated and it honestly makes it all worth it. All the planning, stress, coordinating, long drives, early mornings etc fade away when I understand how much it means to my babies and seeing the world through their eyes is such a magical experience.
St. Louis, we'll definitely be back!
If you are nervous about traveling with your kiddos don't be! They read off of your energy and if you are calm and enjoying your time, they will too! 😀. Kids love to explore new places and see new things!
Feel free to reach out with any questions about things we did or saw or my experience traveling with the kids.
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