If it's cognitive development you're looking for, bring your little ROOK-ie to Toddler Tuesdays 9 a.m. Tuesdays at the World Chess Hall of Fame. At Toddler Tuesdays, caregivers can receive tips from an early childhood educator, while infants (through age 3) enjoy socialization, refreshments and activities. Admission is $5 per adult/child pair. Reservations are recommended. The World Chess Hall of Fame is located at 4652 Maryland Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63108.
Let's be honest: Sometimes mom and dad need intellectual stimulation, too, so when you're craving a break from coloring books and cartoons, treat yourself and your baby to a stroller tour at a local art museum. visit the Contemporary Art Museum for a stroller tour. Held at 9:10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of most months, Stroller Tours at the Contemporary Art Museum give parents a chance to enjoy the museum's artwork and chat with other parents. Infants up to 24 months are welcome. CAM is located at 3750 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO, 63108.
Laumeier Sculpture Park offers free docent-led Stroller Tours at 10 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month, May through October. Laumeier will also offer evening tours beginning at 6 p.m. July 20 and Sept. 21. Laumeier Sculpture Park is located at 12580 Rott Rd., St. Louis, MO.
Baby and Me | The Magic House
When your little one is at the four-on-the-floor stage, the Baby and Me play area at The Magic House is a great place to explore. Crawlers can play peek-a-boo in the playhouse, sail the seven seas on a toddler boat, build up their strength and coordination in the baby gym and more. The Magic House is located at 516 S. Kirkwood Rd., St. Louis, MO, 63122. Magic House admission is $11 for everyone age 1 and up.
Discovery Room | Saint Louis Science Center
With a two-story rocket ship play structure, a 270-gallon saltwater aquarium and a number of hands-on activities, the Discovery Room is a great place to explore with toddlers. Designed for scientists ages 1 through 8, the Discovery Room is large enough for toddlers to roam but small enough for caregivers to keep track of them easily. Access to the Discovery Room is offered in 45-minute sessions beginning on the hour. Tickets are $4. The Saint Louis Science Center is located at 5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63110.
Emerson Children's Zoo | Saint Louis Zoo
If your baby likes to go a little wild every now and then, visit the indoor space at the Emerson Children's Zoo at the Saint Louis Zoo. Crawlers will enjoy exploring the treehouse, while cruisers can come eye-to-eye with moon jellies. Admission to the Children's Zoo is $4 per person and free for visitors under 2. Note that admission to the Children's Zoo and Conservation Carousel is free for all visitors the first hour after the zoo opens each day. The Saint Louis Zoo is located at One Government Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63110.
Big Joel's Safari | Wright City
Little critters that aren't quite bit enough for a full-blown safari will enjoy exploring Big Joel's Safari in Wright City. At this petting zoo and educational park, those just learning to walk can get a closer look at zebras, camels, parrots, ostriches and other exotic animals in a smaller setting. Admission to Big Joel's Safari is $6 per person (free for children under 2). The park is open March 25-November 5. For a complete schedule, visit the website. Big Joel's Safari is located at 13187 State Hwy. M, Wright City, MO.
Story times, visits by beloved book characters, arts and crafts, games, movies, parties, summer reading programs, entertainment, play areas — whew, there is a lot to do at local libraries! For lap events, baby time, fun for ones and more, check out the St. Charles City-County Library District, the St. Louis County Library, the St. Louis Public Library and Kirkwood Public Library, and help foster your child's love of reading at an early age.
Many public pools offer toddler areas and designated swim times for little flippers. Visit our Ultimate St. Louis Pool Guide for fun places to make a splash with your little fishies. For fun all year long, visit our best bets for indoor pools.
TRAIN-ing for Little Engineers
If your tot's eyes brighten at the sound of the toot! toot! of a train whistle, make tracks to the Frisco Train Store in Valley Park and Creation Station at the Museum of Transportation. At the Frisco Train Store children can play with a variety of wooden trains; visit the second Friday night of each month for Frisco Fun Night, which includes playtime, face painting and cookies. Admission to Frisco Fun Night is $5 for 18 months and up, and free adults. At the Museum of Transportation's Creation Station, children ages 5 and under are introduced to early learning through transportation. After learning about trains in the play area, treat your little engineer to a trip on the miniature train. Admission to Creation Station is $2 for one hour for ages 1 and up, in addition to museum admission ($8 for adults; $5 for kids 3-12 and free for those under 3). Rides on the miniature train are $5. Frisco Train Store is located at 24 Front St., Valley Park, MO. The Museum of Transportation is located at 2967 Barrett Station Rd., St. Louis, MO.
From the calendar
Brookings Exploration Center | Missouri Botanical Garden
Missouri Botanical Garden's Brookings Exploration Center is designed with the entire family in mind. Be sure to bring your baby to the Family Tree Area featuring an array of books, colored brick blocks and soft toys for pretend play and learning. Brookings Exploration Center is included in regular Garden admission ($6 for St. Louis City and County residents, $12 for visitors from outside the area; children ages 12 and under are free. The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO.
Editorial assistant Tyne Benesek contributed to this article.
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