“Be on the lookout for some familiar faces coming to The Magic House in 2017! The Museum will host three new traveling exhibits throughout the year that visitors are sure to love. Our youngest visitors will have the opportunity to play and learn with some of their favorite characters as they explore ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit,’ have some really big 'Adventures With Clifford The Big Red Dog' and hop on board the ‘Dinosaur Train’ traveling exhibit! Plus, by popular demand, ‘Future Play: Art + Technology’ now has a permanent home at The Magic House. Visitors of all ages are sure to enjoy their experiences as they create an interactive town and conduct the light ball orchestra in this one-of-a-kind exhibit.”
Carrie Hutchcraft, Director of Communications
The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum
Saint Louis Zoo will debut a new grizzly bear exhibit, Grizzly Ridge, in 2017. A statement from the Saint Louis Zoo website:
“Grizzly Ridge, will be the result of a complete reconstruction of the historic 1920s-era bear grottos. When Grizzly Ridge opens, visitors will be able to watch grizzly bears through floor-to-ceiling viewing area for the first time at the Zoo. A gigantic glass wall will allow views of the bears catching their food or enjoying the habitat’s waterfalls, pools and rocky bluffs.”
Read more about the first two bears that will call Grizzly Ridge home.
"When the Missouri History Museum opens its exhibit '#1 in Civil Rights The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis' in March of 2017, there will be something a little different about it. Inside the exhibit, visitors will have the opportunity to interact with a St. Louis leader in the fight for Civil Rights for African Americans. Whether it is Charlton Tandy, who forced St. Louis’s streetcar lines to allow seating for African Americans as early as 1870, or Kathryn Johnson, an NAACP employee who came to St. Louis to work against a segregation ordinance in the early 20th century, or an early CORE activist teaching protest songs, the ACTivists project will ensure that no two visits to the exhibit will be the same. The ACTivists are a group of actor-interpreters who will tell stories that many St. Louisans are unfamiliar with, sharing the rich history of our Civil Rights past and how it links to our present. In addition to performing inside the galleries each day that the exhibit is open, the ACTivists will also travel to local classrooms, performing longer plays about early leaders in the struggle, and giving students a strong background in civil rights history so that they can better enjoy a field trip to the exhibit. The ACTivist project is made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS.)"
Elizabeth Pickard, Director, Interpretive Programs
Missouri History Museum
“We're currently working very hard to open a new 750+ square-foot area near our Dino Dig. This new area will be used for field trips as well as general admission. Kids and adults love field trips at Myseum, so we'll be adding more to love. We'll be adding a field trip program, so schools will have the option of adding more structure to their field trip. Schools will be able to choose a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) building and collaboration activity, if they wish.
“During general admission, we'll have Imagination Playground available in the new space. Imagination Playground is larger-than-life foam blocks for giant scale buildings. Imagination Playground encourages STEM learning, social development, movement, and above all, FUN! “
Jeffrey Deutch, Co-owner
"The National Blues Museum's mission is to preserve and celebrate the historic significance of the Blues as the foundation of American music and educate visitors about its impact on world culture. The 16,000-square-foot facility consists of interactive exhibits, temporary galleries with traveling exhibits from across the country and a state-of-the-art performance theater where guests can experience an intimate performance of this time-honored musical genre. For concert performance dates and times, visit www.nationalbluesmuseum.org/events.”
Dion Brown, Executive Director
National Blues Museum
Note: In 2017, the National Blues Museum will host three traveling exhibits: Jan. 7-March 31, 2017: “Women of the Blues: A Coast-to-Coast Collection” by curator Lynn Orman Weiss; April 28-Oct.13, 2017: “The Sepia Magazine Photo Archive: Blues in Review” by curator Carole L. Anthony; and Nov. 2-Jan. 31, 2018: “Kirk West Photography,” by curators Kirsten West and Kirk West.
“We are so excited for 2017 at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial! We would like to extend a personal and friendly invitation to our park neighbors to come check out the familiar spaces in the park and take a look at the new places as additional areas of renovated parks reopen throughout the coming year. A lot of your favorite park experiences continue, and some new surprises are in store for educational and recreational opportunities each season of the year. Please keep in touch, keep your eye on our website and social media, and give us a call if you would like more specific information at the time of year or day of the week you are interested in coming to the park. We will be happy to give you the most up-to-date information and listings of program opportunities at any time you may want to visit and renew your relationship with your local National Park.
“As CityArchRiver renovations near completion, the park will host National Park Service programming and events all year in commemoration of Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, National Park Week and Junior Ranger Day in April, and much more. We also will continue with our ranger-led riverboat cruises, and museum education programs for schoolchildren, Scouts, and community groups. The Old Courthouse’s museum exhibits — highlighting Plains Indians, Lewis & Clark and westward expansion — and restored courtrooms are also free to enjoy.
“In continued celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary that was celebrated in 2016, we want you to experience Missouri’s best-kept secrets — the Show Me State’s six national parks. Take the Passport Challenge, an adventure that will take you to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, George Washington Carver National Monument and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. And you’ll get rewarded for visiting, including the chance to win the grand prize of four tickets to a St. Louis or Kansas City home baseball game, plus a one-night hotel stay. Visit www.monationalparks.com to find out more.
There are plenty of things to do at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and we encourage you to visit us! You can find out about our hours, programs, tickets, parking information and more by visiting www.nps.gov/jeff or www.gatewayarch.com. See you in 2017!”
Rhonda Schier, Chief of Museum Services and Interpretation
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
“HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis opened its doors May 14, 2016, and became the region’s first-ever kids’ health museum. HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis has already infectiously contaminated over 15,000 children of all ages to learn, have fun and make great life choices. It features a completely unique model of health education, highlighted by expansive program offerings, a multi-station exhibit floor, learning theatre and universally accessible indoor playground. We make health fun and teach children to be health advocates for themselves, their family and the entire community. Help us spread the benefit of good health!”
Shannon Woodcock, President & CEO
HealthWorks! Kids Museum St. Louis
“St. Louis County Library recently completed 11 new and renovated branch projects. The updated facilities feature many family-friendly amenities, including colorful children’s areas, family restrooms and comfortable seating. Construction continues throughout 2017; currently three branches are closed for renovations. In addition to the new branches, SLCL will be introducing innovative new programming in 2017 including Sensory Story Time, for families with children experiencing sensory issues or autism, and Parent Packs, bags that parents can check out containing materials on topics like potty training or going to the doctor. The popular Sci-finders kits will be expanded and made available at all open library locations, and early literacy programs like 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and Kindergarten Prep will continue in 2017.”
Jennifer McBride, Communications Manager
St. Louis County Library District
"The St. Charles City-County Library District is a great resource for hundreds of fun, literacy-themed programs for all ages. Families, preschool and elementary age kids can come to the library to enjoy special performers, a dynamic Summer Reading Program, STEM programs, early literacy programs and so much more!"
Maggie Melson, Youth Services Manager
St. Charles City-County Library District
Play time predictions
Six Flags St. Louis will debut Spinsanity, a new thrill ride, in 2017. Read more about Spinsanity.
“The Purina Event Center at Purina Farms is known for hosting some of the most prestigious dog and cat shows in the country. Visitors can see some of the best of the best at various times throughout the year in events called Nationals. Each parent breed club hosts a 'National,' which can last anywhere from 2-10 days, intended to showcase all that that breed has to offer in form and function. Some breed Nationals coming to the Purina Event Center in 2017 include the Japanese Chin, Kerry Blue Terrier, Ibizan Hound, German Shepherd, Afghan Hound, Salukis and more. There will be 31 Nationals throughout the year, so pick your favorite breed, and come out to show your support.
“The new 'Better with Pets' exhibit will re-open for the season on March 18. Pet lovers can take part in this interactive exhibit located inside the Purina Farms Visitor Center. See how pets and people are hardwired to be together and learn how to strengthen the bond between you and your special furry friend. The exhibit features a variety of opportunities to better understand and appreciate the dogs and cats that make life better.
“Honks and Barks are music to our ears. Tough construction vehicles, big farming equipment and emergency service vehicles all have something in common...a dog that works just as hard as them! Shocking, but there are some dynamic duos that don’t get the recognition they deserve until now. Come to Purina Farms on July 16 for Trucks & Tails to learn more about the complementary relationship between dogs and trucks from fire trucks and Dalmatians to combines and herding dogs. Jump inside the trucks, take pictures, meet incredible dogs and learn how these perfect pairings work together during this fun, family-friendly event. “
Purina Event Center, Purina Farms
“In addition to the year-long opportunity to grab yourself some free fresh air along the greenways, we have several great events lined up for 2017. Some — like our Eagle Days event at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in January — will provide the chance for families to connect with nature, while other events — like the Mary Meachum Freedom Festival in May — will provide a glimpse into the rich history of the St. Louis region. We will also have several chances for families to roll up their sleeves in the spirit of volunteering and conservation, and help clean up our rivers and streams at our Trash Bash events in the spring and fall.
“We are especially excited to invite families out to Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park for our second annual Life Outside festival this June. This free festival will provide children of all ages with the chance to see, try and learn about a wide variety of outdoor activities. Want to climb a tree? Want to give kayaking a go? Interested in mountain biking, but not sure how to get started? This festival provides covers all these bases, and so many more.
“Beyond these activities, we are very excited about some new extensions and connections that will be coming to our growing network of greenways in 2017. In particular, we will be completing extensions at both ends of the River des Peres Greenway, linking it to the Mississippi Greenway near the River City Casino. When this work is done, families will be able to walk or ride all the way from Francis Slay Park to Jefferson Barracks Park, separated from traffic the entire distance!”
Seth Treptow, Communications Manager
Great Rivers Greenway
“Grant’s Farm has been a beloved St. Louis attraction since 1954, and we look forward to the 2017 season opening in April. Guests will continue to enjoy the many favorite activities the farm is known for, such as Budweiser Clydesdales tours, baby goat feedings, tram rides through Deer Park, animal shows, camel rides and more. New next summer, we will have extended hours on Friday evenings with special events like food trucks and live music. Keep an eye on grantsfarm.com for more details as they are announced next year.”
Andy Elmore, General Manager
“Let the Missouri Department of Conservation help you discover nature in 2017! Get outside for some fresh air and exercise by hiking a trail at one of our conservation areas. We have a thousand around the state, and a lot of them are right here near St. Louis. Bring the family together for a day of fishing and bonding. The department stocks 17 lakes in the St. Louis metro area. Whether it’s a huge catfish in warmer months, or a colorful rainbow trout during winter, there’s plenty of fishing fun all year round.
“No matter where you are, nature is just a short drive away. Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in North County offers a great trail for biking, massive open expanses to explore, and a commanding view of The Confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
“Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood near I-270 and I-44 is a great stop for both indoor and outdoor nature discovery. The nature center has engaging educational exhibits inside, including a wildlife viewing gallery, and winding trails through oak-hickory forest outside.
“Rockwoods Reservation of Highway 109 in Wildwood has been voted best hiking destination in St. Louis, and for good reason. Why spend time on a treadmill when you can get a real workout on its challenging and beautiful terrain? You’ll never see an owl or a deer or hear the cry of red tail hawk in the gym!
“Learn more about what your Conservation Department has to offer in the St. Louis area with the free Conservation Connections Newsletter.”
Dan Zarlenga, Regional Media Specialist
Missouri Department of Conservation
“2017 is going to be another exciting year for St. Louis County Parks. One major project that is underway is the new 14-field soccer park that will be built in Creve Coeur. This state-of-the-art facility will be a very attractive venue for large soccer tournaments and competitions.
“For our thrill-seekers we will be adding a skate park and pump track at Larimore Park and for our smallest visitors we will be adding a new playground at Bohrer Park and tot additions to the playgrounds at Bee Tree and Buder Parks.
“With help from local partners and volunteers, we will be expanding several trails including the Mississippi Trail at Lemay and Cliff Cave Parks, the McKelvey Woods Trail at Creve Coeur Park and the Maline Creek Trail at Bella Fontaine.”
Tom Ott, Assistant Director
St. Louis County Parks
“Families are going to love riding the Loop Trolley when it opens in the spring of 2017. This electric, fixed-track vintage trolley system will connect the Delmar Loop, which was designated ‘One of the 10 Great Streets in America’ to the world-class attractions in our great Forest Park, which was voted #1 city park in America.
“The 2.2-mile route goes from the library in University City to the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis and connects to two MetroLink stops along the way.
“Explore The Loop’s unique collection of specialty shops, clothing boutiques, toy stores, and galleries. Dine at one of the 60 award-winning, multi-national restaurants. Immerse yourself in the rich social, ethnic, and cultural diversity of this Historic District.
“Colorful trolley cars used to run throughout St. Louis until 1966. In fact, the Delmar Loop derived its nickname from the streetcars that came from downtown to the area and “looped around” for the return trip.
“The Loop Trolley can be a prototype for connecting neighborhoods to each other and to our MetroLink system. Young people, retirees, and others who want to live in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods invest, work and reside in areas that have good transit systems.
“The Loop Trolley can be a source of pride for the entire metropolitan area. Plus, it will be fun to ride for local families and tourists alike. Yes, it’s ‘Back to the future!’”
Joe Edwards, Owner Blueberry Hill
Chairman of the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District
Best Bets articles represent the views and the research completed by St. Louis Sprout & About journalists and are not driven by advertising or requests by vendors or venues. Best Bets do not imply an endorsement of a business or activity.
From the calendar