While the outdoor sculptures are visually stimulating, children naturally will want to interact with the arts. Climbing on most pieces is off limits, but here are some approaches that can heighten your child's excitement during a visit.
- Have your kids pick up a site map from the museum's galleries building located at the North entrance to the park. The map features small images of all the sculptures and can be used to create your own "treasure hunt" or matching game for younger kids.
- The park's sculptures and natural setting feature an abundance of opportunities for shape recognition and texture and counting exploration. There is also a beautiful harmony between the sculptures and nature throughout the park. See if your children can discover similarities or differences between the environment and the sculpture or even have them recreate a sculpture using natural objects such as sticks, grass and leaves.
- If your child is interested in creating art, bring paper and supplies to draw or paint images that reference the sculptures. For photography fans, encourage your kids to run free with a camera. They will probably find some views of the sculptures you may not have seen yourself.
- Are your children in love with pretend play? Charles Ginnever's steel Crete looms like a sinister spaceship; Jackie Ferrara's Laumeier Project is an impromptu playhouse; Robert Lobe's biting yet whimsical piece The Palm at the End of the Parking Lot just may transform into a magical tree; and Beverly Pepper's grassy and step-filled Cromlech Glen seems to embody another planet.
When planning your visit with younger children, focus on just one area of the sprawling park at a time. The Eastern Woodland and the Children's Sculpture Garden have a good concentration of sculptures close together. Strollers can easily glide along on paved walkways that go around most of the park, but if you want to get close to sculptures you might want to bring a baby sling. Also, note that the Eastern Woodland paths are all gravel. Consider packing a picnic, your dog, a kite, and some good walking shoes for a delightful and inspiring day out.
Laumeier Sculpture Park has some worthwhile upcoming events including the Art Fair, the Red Thread Project: Dance of Hats, the summer Music and Movies series, free docent-led tours and the numerous summer art education classes for kids and adults.
Laumeier Sculpture Park is located at12580 Rott Road, St. Louis, Mo., 63127. Call 314-615-5278 for details. The park is free and open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to a half-hour past sunset.Looking for More Outdoor Art?
To experience more outdoor art in the St. Louis region, visit the Citygarden in downtown St. Louis (little climbers are embraced here). Detailed guides to outdoor art can be found through the St. Louis Public Art Consortium website and the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission.
Photos by Mike Venso/Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Jennifer Lin is a nonprofit arts consultant specializing in marketing, public relations, and social media and also writes for CultureMama. She has worked for performing and visual arts organizations including the Sacramento Opera, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.