Day Camp: Camp KangaZoo (Saint Louis Zoo)
|Holiday Light Display: Wild Lights (Saint Louis Zoo)
It doesn't take a lot to brighten up a home for the holidays. A string or two of colored lights wrapped along your porch or shrub can do the trick. But to be named best holiday light display, your strands of lights have to stand out from the crowd. Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo certainly does that. Unlike a lot of light displays that require families to inch through traffic in their cars, the zoo lets you ditch your car in the parking lot and take a walk on the wild side to enjoy light displays that replicate penguins, butterflies, prairie dogs and more. Other activities include storytelling, performances and crafts.
Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Zoo.
|Fall Farm: Eckert's Millstadt Farm
A quick search through Sprout's archives reveals a deep and abiding appreciation for Eckert's Millstadt Farm. It's made our Best Bets lists for both hayrides and Christmas farms and was included in our Ultimate St. Louis Birthday Party Planner earlier this year. But while we love Eckert's Millstadt all year round, the farm is arguably at its best during the crisp fall months when the apples are ripe, the vines are heavy with pumpkins and the tractors are loaded with families. Fall also sees the annual opening of Eckert's Fun Farm, which features a massive corn maze, jumping pillows, a petting zoo, pig races, live music and more.
Photo by J. Pupillo.
|Egg Hunt: Hunt for a Cure (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)
There are Easter egg hunts and then there are Easter egg hunts. Sponsored by the Gateway Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the annual Hunt for a Cure event certainly falls in the latter category. When it comes to sheer size, no other egg hunt comes close. Last year's hunt featured a whopping 50,000 eggs hidden throughout Forest Park's Central Field. The event also includes a petting zoo, the Castlewood Stable Clydesdales and more. Oh, and the Easter Bunny arrives by helicopter. So there's that.
Photo by Diane Anderson, courtesy of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
|Festival, Fair or Special Event: Bark in the Park (Humane Society of Missouri)
Among animal lovers, there is no finer event in St. Louis than the Humane Society of Missouri's annual Bark in the Park, held at Cricket Field in Forest Park. Thousands of people and their beloved pooches descend on the park for a full day of fun activities. The centerpiece of the event is a one-mile fun walk for both two-legged and four-legged attendees, but the day also features a pancake breakfast, pet contests and multiple performances by the Purina Incredible Dog Team. Next year's event, scheduled for May 18, will include a 5K run.
Photo by Greg Landrum, courtesy of Humane Society of Missouri.
|Special Exhibit: Lantern Festival (Missouri Botanical Garden)
From May 26 to Aug. 19, 2012, more than 100,000 people streamed into the Missouri Botanical Garden to experience something rarely seen in the United States: a massive lantern festival depicting the history and fables of China. The event — impressive by day and mind-blowing by night — featured more than two dozen massive sets created by Chinese artisans who stretched colorful silk over steel frames to create dragons, temples, butterflies, goldfish, Buddhas and more. When lit up at night, the lanterns provided an enchanting journey through an ancient civilization.
Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden.
|Fireworks Display: Fair Saint Louis
Through the years, dozens of new July Fourth fireworks displays have launched in 'burbs throughout the St. Louis area. But there can be only one champion, and in this town the undisputed king is still Fair Saint Louis. The fair's three-night fireworks extravaganza features thousands of massive color bursts exploding across the downtown skyline. In a year when many local fireworks displays were canceled due to dangerously dry conditions, Fair Saint Louis' show was more popular than ever. Of course, even the champion is not immune to bad weather: This year the fair's third night of fireworks was canceled when Mother Nature decided to unleash her own lightning-fueled light display.
Photo courtesy of Fair St. Louis.
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