Forest Park in St. Louis, Home of the Zoo

Forest Park Visitors Guide

A guide to Forest Park in Saint Louis, an urban oasis in the Gateway City.

Forest Park is a breath of fresh air amid the concrete and steel of the great city of St. Louis. Even though 10 million people visit the park each year, it feels uncrowded, since the over 1,000 acres provide enough lush green space for all to enjoy.

The Zoo, Art Museum, Muny and the World’s Fair

The park is easy to access off of either U. S. Route 40 (I-64) or Forest Park Boulevard from I-170, both limited access routes. There are large parking lots in the park, but these do fill on summer days. There is street parking in the park and along the streets surrounding the park.

There is a visitor center with helpful staff, maps, concessions and restrooms on Grand Drive. Live music is performed on some summer evenings.

Attractions

There are many tourist spots in the park, starting with The St. Louis Zoological Park, simply known as the Zoo. It is one of America’s great zoos, and there is no admission fee. Nearby is the St. Louis Science Center with The Art Museum is also free, except for special exhibitions. The Museum has exceptional collections of the world’s great art. Equally fantastic is the view from the front over the Great Basin. A short walk down the hill brings you to an area with benches for relaxation and reflection.

The Missouri History Museum has entertaining and educational exhibits and stands as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson. The Muny offers musical theater in summer when The Jewel Box’s floral gardens are ablaze in color. A brief summer run of Shakespeare in the Park is held in July.

The 1904 World’s Fair was held in St. Louis, and the World’s Fair Pavilion, erected after the fair, stands high on a hill in Forest Park commemorating the event. The views are spectacular, but the trip up can be arduous, and there are no concessions at the top.

Activities

There are two separate golf courses in the park with a total of 45 holes, and three areas for tennis, including the Dwight Davis Tennis Center. There is an ice-skating rink, and the most popular feature is a bike and walking trail that covers the park, over hills, and along the lakes and streams.

Food is available at the venues, and a full-service restaurant is located at the Boathouse, where you can rent paddleboats in season. There are a number of restaurants in the surrounding area.

Forest Park is a wonderful place for picnics, walking, or just enjoying a green oasis in the Gateway City

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