With so many fun, affordable attractions, museums, destinations and annual events in the St. Louis region, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to know there’s plenty of family fun waiting in 2016! Find out what’s in the works at your family’s favorite hang-outs in the New Year:
Museum must-sees “The Saint Louis Science Center is excited to announce GROW, our new agriculture exhibition scheduled to open in summer 2016. GROW will feature the science and technology around food production, from farm to plate. This one acre exhibit is the first major addition of a permanent exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center since 1991, and incorporates a permanent outdoor learning space with constantly evolving, interactive exhibits and activities, from interviews with local farmers, to interactive displays with big farming machines and live animals. With the global population forecasted to include from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, studying the food production and the local, regional and global issues related to it has never been more relevant.”
“After 38 successful years of educating and inspiring children and families at its facility on Laclede’s Landing in downtown St. Louis, the Delta Dental Health Theatre is set to move to a new location on Macklind Avenue, by the Saint Louis Science Center, and become part of the region’s first-ever kids’ health museum. The new museum, to be named HealthWorks! Kids’ Museum St. Louis, will open to the public in late spring and will work to infectiously contaminate children of all ages to learn, have fun and make great life choices. It will feature a completely unique model of health education, highlighted by expansive program offerings, a multi-station exhibit floor, learning theatre and universally accessible indoor playground.” Shannon Woodcock, President & CEO Delta Dental Health Theatre and HealthWorks! Kids Museum St. Louis Read more about the new HealthWorks! Kids’ Museum.
“In 2016, visitors to the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse will experience a few exciting changes. A new Arch Museum Store will debut this spring, and CityArchRiver renovations to the Arch grounds are scheduled to be completed this summer.
“Throughout the year, we will host special programs celebrating Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, and National Park Week and Junior Ranger Day in April. In addition, the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Aug. 25, and the park is putting together celebratory activities and programs to mark this momentous occasion. Don’t forget about the National Park Service’s Every Kid in a Park pass , which grants free entry for all fourth graders to every national park and federal recreation area.
“Even though we remain under construction, there are plenty of things to do at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and we encourage everyone to visit us! You can find out more by visiting www.nps.gov/jeff or www.gatewayarch.com, where you can find information about our hours, programs, tickets, directions and parking options for your next visit. See you this year!”
Rick Ziino, Interpretive Specialist Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
"We are very excited to open the National Blues Museum at 615 Washington Avenue on April 2, 2016. The museum’s mission is to explore and preserve the historic significance of the blues as the foundation of American music, celebrate its various styles, and recognize the musicians who created, sustain and advance the art form.
"We offer 16,000 square feet of highly interactive exhibit space where guests will trace the roots of the blues and travel to its current state today. To keep things constantly changing at the museum we have our temporary gallery where we will host traveling exhibits from across the United States. To add to our guests' experience, live music will be offered, along with educational programming, making this a unique blues experience for all."
“The Magic House is excited to see our youngest visitors explore Wonder Works, our newly renovated preschool play area. This new exhibit space is designed to encourage family learning and interest in STEAM subjects, including science, technology, engineering, art and math, through hands-on play and exploration!”
"The new year promises to be a fun and educational year for Myseum. In 2016, we will be offering a more structured approach to our field trips along with some new unique STEM-related activities. We will be opening a new space next to the dino dig to house the new activities. These activities are guaranteed to empower kids to collaborate with their schoolmates and to have them thinking three dimensionally as they create and engage with their friends. “Plus, we will have two new exhibits, a Ferrofluid Exhibit and a Magnetic Ball Wall Lift. The Ferrofluid Exhibit promises to be spectacular and unlike anything in the St. Louis area. The hand-cranked Magnetic Ball Wall Lift will lift balls from the bottom to the top of the 10-foot-tall ball wall...sure to be lots of fun."
“Families are going to love riding the 2.2-mile Loop Trolley when construction is complete in late 2016. The historic replica electric trolley cars will run from the University City Library to the Missouri History Museum, where you can catch a shuttle bus to visit everything that Forest Park has to offer. The fixed-track trolley route also includes stops at two Metro stations, a school, several business districts and the Delmar Loop shopping and arts/entertainment district, which was designated by the American Planning Association as one of ‘Ten Great Streets in America.’
“Colorful trolley cars are not new to St. Louis. In fact, the Delmar Loop derived its name from the streetcar system that ran in the area until 1966. For many years, trolleys linked St. Louis neighborhoods, delivered people to their destinations and stimulated economic growth.
“We expect these same great benefits from the Loop Trolley. The trolley creates a unique and special sense of place for the St. Louis region, bringing history to life for local families and tourists alike.”
Playtime predictions Statement from Six Flags St. Louis regarding new attraction, Fireball, opening in 2016: “This high-thrill attraction combines suspense and anticipation, and will be a hit with teens and families alike. With the forward and backward motion as well as the inverted hang-time, Fireball will deliver the kind of intense thrills our guests have come to expect from Six Flags St. Louis.”
“The City of Edwardsville looks forward to an exciting year in 2016 when we open our first new park in over a decade and our first ever splash pad. The Spray & Play Park will be located behind the future Public Safety Facility on South Main Street and will feature a 3,900 square-foot splash pad with zoned areas of play for visitors of all ages and abilities. Also included in this new park development is a 4,750-square-foot dry playground, two pavilions, a fitness trail and a concession and restroom building. The park is slated to be complete by Memorial Day of 2016 and will be free of charge to all visitors.”
"We know families are looking for ways to spend the last few weeks of summer before school starts up and Kid’Cation gives them unique options. Kid’Cation, which will be held the first week of August, is designed to give families with children a great way to explore the region that is also affordable. There will be pirate-themed cruises, scavenger hunts, haunted tours, cookie eating contests, awesome deals to Raging Rivers Water Park, boat races and more featured throughout the 10-day promotion. Families who stay overnight can also receive some great lodging incentives to sweeten the deal.”
Reading resolutions “St. Louis County Library will continue updating and replacing branches in 2016. We recently opened several new and renovated branches, which have received rave reviews from our patrons. Construction at five branches will begin in January. The updated facilities feature many family-friendly amenities including expanded, colorful children’s areas, family restrooms and comfortable seating. In addition to the new branches, we’ll be introducing some exciting new services and programming including Sci-finders kits, everything you need to engage in science activities at home, and a new program called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, to promote reading and encourage parent/child bonding through reading.”
Arts and entertainment “At the Fabulous Fox Theatre, we love seeing the faces of new guests as they walk through our brass doors for the first time. What better way to introduce your little one to the Fox than with ‘Peppa Pig’s Big Splash,’ coming to Fox Theatre Feb. 6, 2016! ‘Peppa Pig’s Big Splash’ is an action-packed live show, based on the popular Peppa Pig television series, designed to deliver to preschoolers and young fans an unforgettable first live theater experience. A fully immersive musical production featuring a dozen familiar and original songs, as well as an interactive sing-a-long, the live stage show will have fans laughing, singing, dancing and of course jumping in muddy puddles too — just like Peppa.”
"COCA is very excited about our Summer Arts Camp line-up for 2016, which we'll unveil on Jan. 30. Some sneak peeks include brand new camps like ‘Who You Gonna Call?’ and ‘Wild Things.' Plus, we're offering past camp favorites including 'Broadway Babies,' ‘Perfectly Powerful Princesses,' and the culinary camp 'Makin' Bacon.' All of our multi-disciplinary arts camps are taught by professional teaching artists. Camps begin June 6, 2016!"
A new year in nature ”We really have a lot of exciting things planned for 2016. Our first dog park, located near the Dog Museum in Queeny Park, will open next spring and will truly be a destination for our community to take their four-legged friends. We will also be celebrating the opening of our first Tree Trail, located in Queeny Park on Arbor Day. This unique trail will allow hikers to learn more about trees that are native to Missouri through a map and interactive signage.
“The Kennedy Recreation Complex located in South County near Suson Park is undergoing a complete renovation and will unveil a new ice rink in October 2016. “Another exciting park upgrade that is planned for next year thanks to the passage of Prop P is a new playground for Bohrer Park.”
“There are a lot of exciting things planned for your greenways in 2016! The long-awaited connection between the Mississippi and River des Peres greenways will begin construction in 2016. When it is finished, you will be able to walk or ride a bike all the way from the Shrewsbury/Lansdowne Metrolink station to Jefferson Barracks Park! Along the way, you can visit parks, neighborhoods and shopping areas, and enjoy stunning views of the Mississippi River through Jefferson Barracks Park. “Work on the Central Riverfront along Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard in front of the Arch grounds will wrap up in 2016 and soon be host to a variety of fun special events, concerts and other activities that will bring our riverfront to life!
“We are also going to create new trail connections within Cliff Cave Park in South St. Louis County. You’ll be able to explore the wooded hillsides, bluffs, and bottomland along the Mississippi River—all on paved trails.
“We are excited about the new park that will come to life in Wellston. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Parks and Recreation Association, Trojan Park will be a welcomed green space for residents of all ages to spend time outside, exercise, play, and connect to the larger St. Vincent Greenway. “And finally, be sure to save the date for the first annual Life Outside Festival in Creve Coeur County Park on June 11, 2016. This free, interactive festival will show you all the ways you can live life outside in our region. We look forward to seeing you on the greenways in 2016!
“Make it a green 2016 with the Missouri Department of Conservation and let us help you discover what nature has to offer! We have over a thousand conservation areas for you to explore throughout the state, including many right here in the St. Louis area. There’s likely one 30 minutes or less from where you live.
“We also have many events and programs to help you get connected to conservation. Our annual Eagle Days Festival at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is happening Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16-17. It offers a chance to see these majestic raptors up close and in the wild. Rockwoods Reservation's Maple Sugar Festival is one of winter’s sweetest treats. It's happening Saturday, Feb.6, and is an experience worth donning your winter coat for. Wetlands for Kids Day at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles is Saturday, April 2, this year. You’ll meet wetland creatures up close and learn why these amazing habitats are so important to us. Later in the year we’ll have our annual National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration at Columbia Bottom and team up with Shaw Nature Reserve for Prairie Day . . . both in the month of September.
“This is just a sample of the many events and programs that MDC has to offer in 2016. But you don’t need a formal program . . . you can also embark on your own outdoor journeys fishing, hiking, hunting, floating, or scoping out wildlife and birds. The best way to stay informed about MDC activities in the St. Louis area is to check our regional webpage or subscribe to our free Conservation Connections Newsletter.”
“We expect 2016 will be a year when many more visitors explore Forest Park’s treasured natural areas, in addition to the Park’s iconic destinations and popular cultural attractions. With new digital offerings like Forestparkmap.org and new interpretive kiosks within our Nature Reserve system, more visitors will happily find themselves 'getting lost' in Kennedy Forest or having a family picnic in the tucked-away Council Circle area.”
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