2. The Magic House: What better way to spend a winter day than with fun and play? Climb Jack's beanstalk, catch pretend fish in the Children's Village and even run the nation from the Oval Office at The Magic House.
3. Saint Louis Science Center: For families that need a little SPACE after being cooped up inside, the Saint Louis Science Center is the place to find it. Do some stargazing at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, create your own fun in the Makerspace, and learn about life in space with a tour of the Boeing Space Station. On cold days, warm up at the Omnimax Theater or explore the Discovery Room with preschoolers.
4. Myseum: Heat up your child's love of science with a visit to Myseum, a fun and educational children's museum located in Town & Country. Kids can explore scientific concepts with exhibits like a liquid crystal wall and a magnetic ball wall.
5. Missouri History Museum: The Missouri History Museum offers plenty of fun ways to escape summer heat or beat the winter blahs, including storytelling, free movies, crafts, concerts and activities. Be sure set aside plenty of time to explore the History Clubhouse during your visit.
6. Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden: When spring just can't come fast enough, get your green fix with a visit to the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Little adventurers will love exploring this unique geodesic dome and its waterfall, hut, aquarium and bridge. Also, be sure to stop by the recently renovated Brookings Exploration Center.
7. Indoor action: For a day of fun that's sure to leave your kids exhausted but happy, climb, jump and bounce at Rockin' Jump, mega-indoor trampoline parks with locations in O'Fallon and Shrewsbury; Amp Up Action Park, located in Town & Country, which houses laser tag, kart racing, a ropes course and an arcade; and Flying Spider, an extreme air sports park in Ballwin.
8. Gateway Arch: When your spirit is in desperate need of a mid-winter lift — literally — treat yourself to a visit to the Gateway Arch.
9. BounceU: Burn off that off excess energy on the indoor inflatables at BounceU.
10. America's Incredible Pizza: Spend an afternoon exploring the sprawling entertainment options at America's Incredible Pizza, like glow golf, laser tag, carnival games and go karts, and forget the weather outside.
11. Edwardsville Children's Museum: Little visitors can play pretend on a big scale at the Edwardsville Children's Museum in Edwardsville, Illinois, which features a Dairy Queen Ice Cream Parlor, fire department, café, crime lab and more.
12. Saint Louis Art Museum: Escape even the bleakest winter days with a trip to the Saint Louis Art Museum. Visit during Family Sundays for crafts and activities designed to help children connect to the museum's exhibits.
13. Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House: For an instant spirit boost, surround yourself with more than a thousand tropical butterflies at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, which also features lush foliage, colorful flowers and balmy climate. Note that the Butterfly House is typically closed in January for maintenance.
14. Bowling: If you've got a day to "spare," spend it knocking down pins at the bowling alley. Brunswick Zone, located in Chesterfield, St. Peters and Valley Park, offers plenty of fun in a family environment. Tropicana Lanes, located in Richmond Heights, is Missouri's largest bowling center and has hosted the Professional Bowlers Tour.
15. Playtime Party Center: Occupy kids of all ages with a visit to Playtime Party Center in Wentzville. Younger children can explore the indoor playground and inflatables, while older children can play arcade games.
16. Pole Position Raceway: Leave wicked weather in the dust, at least temporarily, while navigating a go-kart around the euro-style course at Pole Position Raceway. Note that children must be at least 6 years old and 48 inches tall to race.
17. Edison's Entertainment Complex: Comfort food meets carnival-style fun at Edison's Entertainment Complex, located in Edwardsville, Illinois. Work up an appetite with bowling or laser tag, then stop and refuel with a hearty meal at Inventive Eats-n-Drinks.
18. "Check out" the local library: Today's public libraries offer fun programming, thought-provoking guest speakers, children's centers and more. When planning a visit, check out the online calendars for St. Louis County Library, St. Louis Public Library, St. Charles City-County Library, Ferguson Public Library, Kirkwood Public Library and Edwardsville Public Library and register for a story time, craft, author visit or other activity. Added bonus: Mom and Dad can take home a travel book and dream of a sunny beach!
19. World Chess Hall of Fame: Tired of feeling like Old Man Winter's pawn? Declare a check mate with a visit to the World Chess Hall of Fame in Central West End. In addition to housing a collection of chess exhibitions, artifacts and memorabilia, the World Chess Hall of Fame also offers a Family Day, Toddler Tuesdays and other activities and events.
20. Sweetology: Spend a rainy day creating a scrumptious masterpiece at Sweetology at its new location in Town and Country.
21. Chesterfield Mall: Chesterfield Mall is the only mall in the St. Louis area to offer an American Girl Store, which in itself is a great indoor destination. Visit the store, then venture into the mall for a ride on the double-decker carousel.
22. Pools, water parks and aquatic centers: Escape rain and snow at one of the area's many premiere aquatic centers. Find one in our Ultimate Pool Guide.
23. Indoor play: Work off those weather-induced frustrations with a friendly game of dodgeball at Chesterfield Sports Fusion. The facility also features rock wall climbing, laser tag, inflatables, an indoor playground and more. If laser tag is more your style, plan a trip to Epic 6 Laser Tag & Sports Arena in Fenton or Kokomo Joe's in St. Peters.
24. Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles: Need a pick-me up on a rainy day? Join the Foundry Art Centre in Historic St. Charles for a children's book club, sign up for a children's art class or just explore this lovely spot and watch artists in residence hard at work.
25. Ice skating: Whether your child dreams of being a graceful ice princess or a fearsome St. Louis Blues hockey player, spending a day on the ice at an indoor rink at the St. Peters Rec-Plex can be great fun.
26. Movie Theaters: Like a great book, a great movie can also be the perfect way to escape, so catch a movie at one of the many Marcus Wehrenberg Theatres, AMC Theatres or B&B Theatres.
27. Old Courthouse: Spend a rainy day roaming the halls of the Old Courthouse and learn how Dred Scott sued for his freedom or how Virginia Minor fought for her right to vote.
28. Roller skating: For moms and dads that grew up in the '80s, chances are the local roller rink was a wintertime staple. Introduce kids to this time-honored tradition at Great Skate Roller Rink in St. Peters and Skateport Plaza in Ballwin.
29. National Great Rivers Museum: Though tours of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam make the National Great Rivers Museum a great destination during nice weather, the museum and its breathtaking views are worth a visit in cold weather, too. The museum, located in Alton, Illinois, features several fun, interactive exhibits designed to help visitors better understand our nation's big rivers.
30. Saint Louis Zoo: Don't let it rain on your safari! Move the fun indoors at the Saint Louis Zoo. Greet the creepy crawlies in the Monsanto Insectarium, go eye-to-eye with a naked mole rat in the Emerson's Children's Zoo or explore the Wild Wonder Outpost in the Monsanto Education Gallery.
31. Contemporary Art Museum: Break out of the ordinary with a visit to the Contemporary Art Museum, which offers stroller tours, preschool playdates and programs aimed at connecting teens to art, making it a great rainy day destination.
32. We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym: For a day of indoor fun for children of all abilities, plan a trip to We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym in Fenton.
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.
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