Voting is now open for Sprout Seven: The 7 Best Family Events of 2010. You may vote for your three favorite family events once a day through Sunday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. Nominations for Sprout Seven were based on reader feedback and official nominations received last week. Nominations were open to public events that occurred between Dec. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2010.
The Sprout Seven will be announced on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010.
And the Nominees Are....
1. Dinosaurs Unearthed, Saint Louis Science Center
Kids guided the movements of animatronic dinosaurs, viewed life-size skeletons and learned about the latest theories in paleontology. More than 20 life-size dinosaurs were on display during this special Saint Louis Science Center exhibit.
2. St. Louis Holiday Magic
With its full-size indoor carnival rides, train rides, shopping, entertainment, demonstrations, and holiday lights and decorations, families turned a cold December weekend into a warm holiday tradition at America's Center.
3. Easter Village, Purina Farms
March 17 - April 3, 2010
Nothing says spring like newborn animals, and Purina Farms' Easter Village had a barn full of bunnies, puppies, chicks, ducklings, kittens, piglets and lambs. Peter Cottontail posed for photos and offered paw-shakes, and families could walk through a giant Easter egg.
4. DinoQuest: A Tropical Trek Through Time, Missouri Botanical Garden
Dozens of realistic, prehistoric creatures took up residence inside the Climatron® dome last summer. Visitors of all ages were transported back in time to the golden age of dinosaurs, and discovered the important connections between living creatures and Earth's ecosystems.
5. "Ingenioso," Circus Flora
June 3-27, 2010
With sizzling Spanish flair and classic circus acts, including galloping conquistadors, hilarious farmyard animals, classic equestrian ballet, breathtaking aerial acts and an awe-inspiring low-wire walker, the Circus Flora ensemble brought the memorable tale of Don Quixote to life in "Ingenioso."
6. Festival of Nations
Aug. 28-29, 2010
The multicultural event in St. Louis, Festival of Nations features international foods, dance, music, crafts, performances and storytelling in the heart of Tower Grove Park.
Aug. 28-29, 2010
This first-annual music festival rocked Forest Park's Central Field with great music. But this family-friendly event also encourage kids to jam in the Kids Village, which had its own stage, performers, food and even magic acts and a climbing wall.
8. Japanese Festival, Missouri Botanical Garden
Sept. 4-6, 2010
Families experienced the reverberating boom of taiko drums, the mighty clash of sumo wrestling, the delicacy of bon odori dances and theatrics of bunraku puppetry. Authentic foods, crafts and displays rounded out this Labor Day tradition at Missouri Botanical Garden.
9. 2010 Airpower Over the Midwest Air Show
Sept. 11-12, 2010
It's not often that little aviators can visit a military base, but Scott Air Force Base rolled out the welcome mat. Families could walk through air planes and watch the nation's finest airmen fly directly over their heads.
10. Balloon Glow, Great Forest Park Balloon Race
Sept. 17, 2010
Foghorns sound, the crowd pauses with anticipation, and then, flames! Dozens of hot air balloons fire their burners simultaneously, illuminating Forest Park's Central Field. This annual event also features fireworks, food, kids' activities, and, of course, balloons.
11. Day Out With Thomas
Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends puffed and chuffed into Granite City, Ill. Little conductors and their families take rides on Thomas and return to the station for play, crafts, mini train rides and pictures with Sir Topham Hatt.
12. Pumpkinland, Thies Farm and Greenhouses, Maryland Heights
Kids love the straw playgrounds, complete with mazes, forts, slides, swings and cable gliders that are the hallmark of Pumpkinland. Pick-your-own pumpkins, hayrides, and corn cannons complete the fall experience at Thies Farm.
13. The Big Read
Oct. 9, 2010
To celebrate authors and promote literacy, The Big Read offers storytelling, hands-on activities, costume characters, author readings, book signings and workshops. More than 20 published authors participated in this free event along the streets of Clayton.
14. Third Friday Open House Blowout, Third Degree Glass Factory
Oct. 15, 2010
This pumpkin-themed evening included glassblowing demonstrations, hot glass games, music and pyrotechnic performances. Audiences watched what happened as glass was blown through a carved pumpkin, and the evening concluded as artists worked together to blow one monumental glass pumpkin.
15. "The Wizard of Oz"
Nov. 26-28, 2010
Young theatre-goers were mesmerized by Dorothy, ToTo and the Wicked Witch of the West as they traveled "Over the Rainbow" with the motley and beloved characters of "The Wizard of Oz." Directed by Nigel West, the performance blew into Fox Theatre.