Metro-East Living

You’d need at least three summers to do all of this free stuff with your family

Sea lion entertains onlookers at St. Louis Zoo

A sea lion at the St. Louis Zoo is excited it's feeding time. The sea lion, at the direction of a zoo staffer, performs for a large crowd of spectators.
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A sea lion at the St. Louis Zoo is excited it's feeding time. The sea lion, at the direction of a zoo staffer, performs for a large crowd of spectators.

Now that summer has arrived, are you looking for things to do? Start with this list of fun — and free — activities, events and places to visit in the metro-east and St. Louis area. Have an event or activity to add to this list? Send an email to

Free Movies and Shows

O’Fallon Public Library Summer Movie Series. 120 Civic Plaza, O’Fallon,, 618-632-3783. “The Greatest Showman,” 12 p.m. June 22.

Marcus O’Fallon Cine Free “Toy Story 4” Party. Come see the movie, build your own Forky, Toy Story photo booth, coloring stations, free snacks and more. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. June 22 and 23, 1320 Central Park Drive, O’Fallon, 618-624-7363.

Free Family Movie Night: ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’. Leu Civic Center, 213 N. Market St., Mascoutah, 8:30 p.m. June 27. Free movie night on the lawn. Concessions available for purchase. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Marcus O’Fallon Cine Free “Lion King” Party. Celebrate one of the summer’s most anticipated films. Partygoers will enjoy a variety of crafts and snacks. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. July 20-21, 1320 Central Park Drive, O’Fallon, 618-624-7363.

Troy Park Summer Movies. Tri-Township Park District, 410 Wickliffe St., Troy. The fun starts at 6 p.m. with the movie starting at 8 p.m. Aug. 2, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Back to School Night School Supplies Giveaway., 618-667-8769.

Marcus O’Fallon Cine Free “The Angry Birds Movie 2” Party. The flightless birds and green pigs are back! Activities will include a variety of crafts and snacks. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Aug. 17-18, 1320 Central Park Drive, O’Fallon, 618-624-7363.

Lincoln Theatre Summer Movie Series. 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 103 E. Main St., Belleville,, 618-233-0123. The series runs through Aug. 14.

Edge 5 Theatres Summer Movie Series. 10 a.m. every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 701 S. Belt W., Belleville,, 618-236-2101. The series runs through Aug. 14.

The Muny. 1 Theatre Drive, St. Louis,, 314-361-1900. “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” runs July 8-16. “Roald Dahl’s Matilda” runs Aug. 5-11. For more information contact the theater. Gates to the free seats open at 7 p.m. each evening.

Fire and Light Show at Union Station. 1820 Market St., St. Louis,, 314-621-5262. Show times are daily at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Lory Theater Summer Movie Series. 810 Main St., Highland,, 618-882-4977. 10 a.m. Wednesdays in July. Doors open 9 a.m. First-come, first-served. Concessions available for purchase.

Kids can cool off this summer when they play in the water at the O’Fallon splash pad. The water park hours are daily from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is located at the Family Sports Park 301 Obernuefemann Road, O’Fallon. Derik Holtmann

Playgrounds with Splash Pads

Leon Corlew Park. 333 S. Main St., Edwardsville,, 618-692-7538.

O’Fallon Family Sports Park. 301 Obernuefemann Road, O’Fallon,, 618-624-0139.

Schranz Memorial Park. 377 Honeysuckle Lane, Swansea,, 618-234-0044.

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. 442 S. Demazenod Drive,, 618-397-6700.

Citygarden. 801 Market St., St. Louis,, 314-241-3337.

Kiener Plaza. 500 Chestnut St., St. Louis,, 314-622-4800.

Tower Grove Park. 4256 Magnolia Ave., St. Louis,, 314-771-2679.

Tilles Park. 9551 Litzsinger Road, St. Louis,, 314-615-4386.

Historic Adventures

Cahokia Mounds. 30 Ramey St., Collinsville,, 618-346-5160. Interpretive Center open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Grounds open daily from dawn until dusk.

Missouri History Museum. 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis,, 314-746-4599. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and open late every Tuesday until 8 p.m.

Old Courthouse. 11 N. 4th St., St. Louis,, 314-655-1600. The courthouse is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Animals and More

Willoughby Farm. 631 Willoughby Lane, Collinsville,, 618-977-0941. Enjoy more than 30 acres of wildlife preserve. The trails at the farm are open from dawn until dusk. Farm hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily unless otherwise posted. Farm House: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Barns: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment.

St. Louis Zoo. One Government Drive, St. Louis,, 314-781-0900. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except major holidays and Zoo special event days. Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

World Bird Sanctuary. 125 Bald Eagle Ridge Road, Valley Park, Mo.,, 636-225-4390. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Suson Park. 6073 Wells Road, St. Louis,, 314-615-8822. The park is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Grant’s Farm. 10501 Gravois Road, St. Louis,, 314-843-1700. Normal operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays. Check the website for holiday and other special event hours.

Purina Farms. 500 William Danforth Way, Gray Summit, Mo.,, 314-982-3232. Summer hours for the Visitors Center are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Treehouse Wildlife Center. 23956 Green Acres Road, Dow,, 618-466-2990. Visit the resident animals and meet recovering ones at this wildlife center. The Education Center and Gift Shop are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The outdoor grounds are open from dawn to dusk.

Lone Elk Park. 1 Lone Elk Park Road, Valley Park, Mo.,, 314-615-4386. See bison, wild turkey, waterfowl, elk and deer. The park officially opens at 7 a.m. in the summer and closes at sunset.

Visit with the goats and other animals at Willoughby Heritage Farm in Collinsville. BND file photo

More Free Attractions

Eckert’s Summer Concert Series. Eckert’s Country Store and Farms, 951 S. Green Mount Road, Belleville,, 800-745-0513. Concerts from 7 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night through Labor Day. Dogs allowed as long as they are leashed.May bring lawn chairs, as the tables and chairs fill up quickly. No outside food or drinks.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company. 5025 Pattison Ave., St. Louis,, 314-338-3501. Free tours offered every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tours also available Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. by reservation only. The factory will be closed June 30 through July 8 for maintenance.

Excel Bottling Plant Tour. 448 S. Broadway, Breese,, 618-526-7159. The soda plant offers free tours to the public. Call ahead if you plan to go. Tours by appointment on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. The plant is open 8 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

St. Louis Science Center. 5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis,, 314-289-4400.

St. Louis Art Museum. One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park, St. Louis,, 314-721-0072. Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Monday. Family Sunday events every week from 1 to 4 p.m.

National Great Rivers Museum. 2 Lock and Dam Way, East Alton,, 618-462-6979. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Picnic at Art Hill in Forest Park. 35-43 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis,, 314-367-7275. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Planet Walk. 6177-6691 Delmar Blvd., University City, Mo.,, 636-978-8907.

Magic House. 516 Kirkwood Road, St. Louis,, 314-822-8900. This attraction is free from 5 to 8 p.m. every third Friday of the month.

The electrostaic ball at the Magic House will make your hair stand out. There are fun activities for both kids and adults. BND file photo

Powder Valley Nature Center. 11715 Cragwold Road, Kirkwood, Mo.,, 314-301-1500. Area hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Building hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Jewel Box. 1 Wells Drive and McKinley Drive, St. Louis,, 314-531-0800. This greenhouse is free Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Laumeier Sculpture Park. 12580 Rott Road, St. Louis,, 314-615-5278.

Summer reading programs are always an option. Check with your local library for a schedule.

Festivals, Events and Culture

June 28-29 — Marine Homecoming. Marine Village Park, 300 block of Duncan St., Marine, Parades at 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. Food, rides, bingo, an antique tractor display and music.

June 29 — Heritage Day. City Hall, 10025 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights, 12 to 5 p.m. Crafts, vendors, inflatables, live music, petting zoo, food and beverages.

July 2-4 — Annual Carnival and 4th of July Celebration. Centralia Foundation Park, 600 N. Pleasant Ave., Centralia,, 618-533-7623. Carnival, rides, games, food vendors, parade and fireworks display. On July 4 at 10 a.m. the Veterans Parade will be held along West Broadway and finishes at Fairview Park. Fireworks begin at dark.

July 3 — Albers Blast-Off Parade & Fireworks. American Legion, 600 N. Bertha St., Albers, Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m.

July 3 — 44th of July Fireworks - Alton. River Front Park, 3 Riverfront Drive, Alton. 9 p.m.

July 4 — 4th of July Bike Parade. Metter Park, 124 S. Metter Ave., Columbia, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Children decorate their bikes for the 4th and join the parade to Metter Park where they enjoy games, activities and treats.

July 4 — An 1819 Fourth of July Celebration. Gateway Arch Visitor Center, 11 N. Fourth St., St. Louis, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discover the story of Missouri statehood and experience how St. Louisans celebrated the Fourth of July in 1819. Living history volunteers will lead speeches and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Participants will enjoy period music and dancing from 12-4 p.m. Costumes are not required to participate.

July 4 — Mascoutah July 4th Celebration & Fireworks. Scheve Park, 6th and Harnett streets, Mascoutah, 4 p.m. Music, food, drinks, kids games, pony rides and more. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.

July 4 — 42nd Millstadt annual Fireworks Display. Millstadt Village Park, Millstadt. 9 p.m.

July 9-13 — Washington County Fair. Washington County Fairgrounds, 101 W. Court St., Nashville, 618-327-3298. Includes tractor pulls, demolition derby, food, rides for kids, 4-H shows and much more.

July 12-13 — Lebanon Fireman’s Picnic & Parade. Downtown Lebanon, W. St. Louis St., Lebanon,, 618-537-8420. LIve music, food, carnival rides, a parade on both nights and more.

July 13 — Family Day Block Party. Grand Center Arts District, Grand and Washington boulevards, St. Louis, register at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Art activities, music, performances and more. Recommended for ages 3-12.

July 18-20 — St. Jacob Homecoming. Downtown St. Jacob, Douglas and 2nd streets, St. Jacob,

July 20-28 — Monroe County Fair. Monroe County Fairgrounds, 4177 IL-156, Waterloo,, 618-939-7796.

July 23-28 — Madison County Fair. Madison County Fairgrounds, 2025 Parkhill Drive, Highland,, 618-654-6656.