Families can go on an outdoor adventure at the Life Outside festival June 10.Photo courtesy Great Rivers Greenway.
A quiet day of fishing, a float trip along a peaceful river or a weekend getaway at a nearby campground are great ways to reconnect with your kids, but for those who don’t know a tent pole from a fishing pole, it can be a bit daunting. Whether you're a seasoned outdoorsman whose skills have gotten a bit rusty or a nature newbie looking to venture beyond your backyard, several outdoor events will help you ease into nature by providing an opportunity to build your skills and try new activities.
Discover Nature Fishing | Ongoing MDC offers Discover Nature Fishing, a four-part instructional fishing program for children ages 7-15, at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles and Forest Park. The program is free and equipment is provided. Parental supervision is required. The program is offered on Saturday mornings and select Tuesday evenings beginning in April. A complete schedule will be available at mdc.mo.gov.
Wetlands for Kids | April 1 Learn about fly fishing and see reptiles and amphibians at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation at Wetlands for Kids April 1. This free event, which is presented by Missouri Department of Conservation, is designed to introduce children to the types of wildlife living in Missouri’s wetlands and to inspire a greater interest in protecting these special habitats.
Meet Me (Outdoors) in St. Louis | April 1-2 The Missouri Botanical Garden and its family of attractions kicks off spring with Meet Me (Outdoors) in St. Louis, a weekend of activities designed to introduce visitors to the joy of spending time outdoors. Guests can create toad abodes, learn tree identification, try geocaching, go canoeing and even go on a canopy climb. Activities will be offered at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Shaw Nature Reserve and the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. The festival is included with general admission at each attraction. Activities vary by location.
Snores ’n Smores Family Campout | April 21-22 Enjoy an evening of hiking, stargazing, hayrides, games and a campfire in Kirkwood Park at Snores ‘n Smores Family Campout April 21-22. Registration is $10 for nonresidents and $8 for residents. Campers should bring camping equipment; hot dogs, soft drinks and s’mores fixings will be provided.
Ride the River with a Ranger | April 29 and May 13 Can you canoe? St. Charles County Parks and Recreation is leading river adventures April 29 and May 13 for participants ages 12 and up. Ride the River with a Ranger is designed to teach individuals, families and groups how to canoe safely. On April 29, guests will ride the Mississippi River from Hideaway Harbor Park near Portage de Sioux to West Alton. On May 13, participants will float the Missouri River from Klondike Park near Augusta to St. Charles. Cost is $100 per person and includes lunch and transportation back to the park. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 636-795-1137. All those participating must also attend a training seminar 10 a.m.-noon April 15 at Broemmelsiek Park.
Discover Nature Families: Hiking 101 | May 6 Learn the basics to enjoy hiking together as a family at Discover Nature Families: Hiking 101 from 10 a.m.-noon May 6 at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center. Reservations must be made by May 5 for this free Missouri Department of Conservation program.
Riverlands Paddle Festival | May 20 Though most associate the Mississippi River with riverboats and barges, it has become a popular destination for kayaks and canoes as well. Visitors to the Riverlands Paddle Festival May 20 at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary can learn how to safely use paddle equipment to explore the Mississippi River Water Trail with their families.
Life Outside | June 10 If your soul longs for adventure but your brain just isn’t quite sure where to begin, turn to the experts at the Life Outside festival, which returns to Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 10. At this free festival, which is presented by Great Rivers Greenway, visitors can try out kayaking, tree climbing, rock climbing, standup paddle boarding, yoga and a host of other activities designed to entice participants to spend more time outdoors.
Free Fishing Days | June 10-11 Families can also discover the “al-LURE” of fishing without the commitment during Free Fishing Days June 10-11. During Free Fishing Days, anglers may fish in state waters without an MDC fishing permit, trout permit or prescribed area daily tag. Note that fees and permits may still be required at other fishing areas, and other fishing regulations still apply.
Family Campout | Sept. 16-17 Pitch a tent at Bluebird Park in Ellisville Sept. 16. The Family Campout will include a bonfire, games, hiking and campfire songs. Cost is $30 for a family of four and includes dinner and breakfast ($7 per additional family member). Families should provide their own tents and sleeping bags. Visit the City of Ellisville’s activity guide for details.
WOW St. Louis | Oct. 7-8 For a program that offers a bit of everything—fishing, geocaching, kayaking, archery, canoeing, orienteering, outdoor cooking and even stargazing—register for WOW St. Louis, a two-day outdoors school that will be offered in Forest Park Oct. 7-8. The program is designed to give families the skills and confidence to enjoy the outdoors. Visit wondersofwildlife.org for more information.