Metro-East Living

12 signs spring is just around the corner

See the sea lions are in spring training at the St. Louis Zoo.
See the sea lions are in spring training at the St. Louis Zoo. St. Louis Zoo

Beyond daffodils and crocus coming up, there are other signs in the metro-east that give us a glimpse of spring beyond our front yards.

While the season does not arrive officially until March 20, we spotted a dozen harbingers of spring that make us smile.

1. Dairy Haven in Caseyville beat everyone to the punch. Its 62nd season serving signature orange sherbet and other ice cream treats began March 1.

2. White Cottage in Belleville opens March 7 with more than a dozen homemade ice cream flavors and amazing patty melts with waffle fries (and other sandwiches/sides). It’s at 102 Lebanon Ave.

3. Bobby’s Frozen Custard in Maryville starts swirling soft serve and favorite candy treats on March 10.

4. Centerfield Park in Fairview Heights is open on Saturdays and Sundays, starting March 5 and 6, with miniature golf and batting cages from 10 a.m. to dark.

5. Belleville’s Skyview Drive-In reopens March 25 — five days after spring starts — with an 8 p.m. showing of “Batman vs. Superman.” Expect a line. Check the Skyview Facebook page for more information, including the March 10 release of a Groupon discount and the official trailer for the movie.

6. At the St. Louis Zoo, spring training is under way for the sea lions at Sea Lion Sound and you're invited to cheer them on from the bleachers (1 and 2:30 p.m., $2) on March 12 and 13 and March 19-24. Fans can watch the slinky, big-eyed water creatures working on new behaviors with their trainers, including a few baseball-themed maneuvers, during this sneak peek. (Those slithery stingrays at Caribbean Cove won’t be back until April.) Information:

For International Polar Day 2018, visitors to the St. Louis Zoo were treated to plenty of antics by Kali, a male polar bear there. He's named for the Alaskan town near where he was rescued as a cub.

7. Itchin’ to get in the boat and do some fishing? Steve Henkel at Henkel’s Hook & Arrow in Carlyle said he will start putting out his fishing reports for Carlyle Lake and the Kaskaskia River in the next couple days. He’s starting a bit early because fishermen already are bringing back crappie and catfish, mostly from the river. He said he’ll post the report on the business’s Facebook page.

8. Muny season tickets for the Forest Park open-air summer theater go on sale March 5. You’ll have to wait until May 28 for individual show tickets to be available. The first show, “The Wizard of Oz” opens June 13. Box office: 314-361-1900 and online at

9. If it’s green you’re after, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is planning its St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 11 a.m. March 12 on Main Street in downtown Belleville. The Leprechaun 5K starts at 9 a.m., and there will be live music on Main following the parade.

10. St. Louis Cardinals single-game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. March 4. First home game is April 11 at 3:15 p.m. against Milwaukee. Buy at or the box office, beginning March 4, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; closed Saturday and Sunday. For all home games, the box office will open at 9 a.m. and will close two hours after scheduled game time.

St. Louis Cardinals baseball gear was packed up Thursday at Busch Stadium for the trip to Jupiter, Fla., and Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday.

11. At Sandy’s Back Porch in Belleville, owner Sandy Richter says cool-weather vegetable plants are expected any day now, from spinach and lettuce to broccoli and cauliflower. Right now, Sandy and her crew are potting annuals in the greenhouses and trimming leaves on hanging baskets filled with five different, but color-coordinated, blooms, from peaches to blues.

12. Owner Rick Effinger Effinger at Garden Center in Belleville says early spring is all about pansies. The vivid, cool-weather flowers can be planted or potted and put outdoors now to give gardeners some color to admire.

Tips to getting the right start for your outdoor plants