Best kept secret in town? Belleville splash pad is tucked away.
Editor’s note: This list is from 2017 so it may be a bit outdated. Check out this list if you’re looking for free and cheap summer fun in 2019.
Put the fidget spinners away! Summer is the perfect time to get out of the house.
From free movies and festivals to playgrounds with splash pads, check out this list of free things to do around the metro-east and St. Louis.
Bonus freebie: If your child earned an A on their last report card, Raging Rivers will give your student a free ticket between June 17-30. This deal is a one time offer.
Playgrounds with splash pads
▪ Leon Corlew Park. 333 S. Main St., Edwardsville, betterplacetoplay.com, (618)-692-7538.
▪ O’Fallon Family Sports Park. 301 Obernuefemann Road, O’Fallon, ofallonparksandrec.com, (618)-624-0139.
▪ Schranz Memorial Park. 377 Honeysuckle Lane, Swansea, swanseail.org, (618)-234-0044.
▪ National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. 442 S. Demazenod Drive, snows.org, (618)-397-6700.
▪ Citygardern. 801 Market St., citygardenstl.org, (314)-241-3337.
▪ Kiener Plaza. St. Louis, stlouis-mo.gov, (314)-622-4800.
▪ Tower Grove Park. 4256 Magnolia Ave., towergrovepark.org, (314)-771-2679.
▪ Tilles Park. 9551 Litzsinger Road, stlouisco.com, (314)-615-4386.
Free movies and shows
▪ Lincoln Theater Summer Movie Series. 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 103 E. Main St., Belleville, lincolntheatre-belleville.com, (618)-233-0123.
▪ Fire and Light Show at Union Station. 1820 Market St., St. Louis, stlouisunionstation.com, (314)-621-5262. A show runs at the top of hour from 5 to 9 p.m. daily.
▪ Edge 5 Theaters Summer Movies Series. 10 a.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 701 S. Belt West, Belleville, edge5theatres.com, (618)-236-2101.
▪ Movie Night Monday at Ballpark Village. “Kung Fu Panda” 6 p.m. June 19, “Sing” 6 p.m. at July 10 and “Jungle Book” 7 p.m Aug. 14, 601 Clark Avenue, St. Louis, stlballparkvillage.com, (314)-345-9481.
▪ Troy Park Summer Movies. Tri-Township Park District, 410 Wickliffe St., Troy. Series 6 p.m. entertainment begins, 8:15 p.m. movies begins, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, June 9, Sing Aug. 11 and Fantastic beast and Where to Find Them, Sept. 8, troymaryvillecoc.com, (618)-667-8769.
▪ Movies in Park Fairview Heights. “Finding Dory,” 6:30 p.m. July 14, Moody Park, 525 S. Ruby Lane, cofh.org, (618)-489-2040.
▪ O’Fallon Public Library Movie Matinee. “Lego Batman,” 120 Civic Plaza, O’Fallon, 2 p.m. June 25, ofpl.info, (618)-632-3783.
▪ The Muny. 1 Theatre Drive, St. Louis, muny.org, (314)-361-1900 Disney’s Little Mermaid runs June 20 to 29. For more information contact the theater. Gates to the free seats open at 7 p.m. each evening.
▪ Cahokia Mounds. 30 Ramey St. Collinsville, cahokiamounds.org, (618)-346-5160. Interpretive Center open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Grounds open daily from dawn till dusk.
▪ Missouri History Museum. 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, mohistory.org, (314)-746-4599. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and open late every Tuesday night until 8 p.m.
▪ Old Courthouse. 11 N. 4th St., St. Louis, nps.gov/Jeff, (314)-655-1600. The courthouse is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Animals and more
▪ St. Louis Zoo. 1 Government Drive, St. Louis, stlzoo.org, (314)-781-0900. The zoo is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
▪ World Bird Sanctuary. 125 Bald Eagle Ridge Road, Valley Park, worldbirdsanctuary.org, (636)-225-4390. The sanctuary is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
▪ Suson Park. 6073 Wells Road, St. Louis, stlouisco.com, (314)-615-5000. The park is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
▪ Grant’s Farm. 10501 Gravois Road, St. Louis, grantsfarm.com, (314)-843-1700. The farm is closed on Mondays.
▪ Purina Farms. 500 William Danforth Way, Gray Summit, purina.com, (314)-982-3232. During the summer, the visitor’s center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Festivals, events and culture
▪ 9-10 — Holy Rosary Summer Festival. Friday and Saturday, Holy Rosary Church, Fairmont City. Homemade Mexican food, pork steaks, chorizo, fish, brats, hamburgers, hot dogs, half-grand raffle, rides, children’s carnival, game booths. Beer garden, music both nights. Parade and Mass.
▪ 10 — Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Pere Marquette State Park, 13112 Visitor Center Lane, Grafton. Catch-and-release bluegill pond, games, prizes. Free event, no license or fishing gear required. Hosted by Pere Marquette State Park and co-sponsored by Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge. 618-786-3323 ext. 1.
▪ 10 — Moonlight Madness. Noon to midnight, Saturday. Downtown Red Bud. Main Street in Red Bud will be closed for a car cruise and show with kids activities, bounce houses, sand volleyball tournament, euchre tournament and live music. 618-304-8879.
▪ 10 — Germantown Volunteer Fire Dept. 125th Anniversary Street Fair. Street fair from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. Munster St., Germantown. Tour de Flames bike ride at 9 a.m. Antique fire trucks, kid’s corner, live entertainment.
▪ 10-11 — Scott Air Force Base Air Show and Open House. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Scott Air Force Base. Free admission. Many aerial performers including the Thunderbirds. scott.af.mil/airshow2017.
▪ 17 — Alton’s Juneteenth Celebration. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. James H. Killion Park, Salu and Locust, Alton. Celebrate the abolition of slavery, history, heritage and culture. Free event features children’s activities, music, food. 618-910-7422.
▪ 20 — Porta Westfalica German Festival. 4 p.m. Tuesday, Courthouse Square in downtown Waterloo. Free. Pork sausage and potato pancakes. Parade with floats and marching bands at 6 p.m.
▪ 24 — Youth Fishing Derby. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Caseyville Park, 40 W. Reynolds St., Caseyville. Free event for kids 15 and under, accompanied by an adult. Bring fishing pole, bait and bucket for fish. Age group awards, free hotdog and drink. Preregistration at caseyville.org.
▪ 9 — World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Woodland Park, Collinsville. Vendors, entertainment, kids activities. Little Princess Tomato and Sir Catsup contest, car show. Tater tot and hot dog eating contest. catsupbottlefestival.com.
▪ 21-22 — Party in the Park. 5-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Downtown Litchfield starting on corner of Union Ave. (Route 16) and State Street. Carnival, live music, food, vendors, pageants and more. 217-324-2533 or litchfieldchamber.com.
▪ 22 — Hummingbird Festival. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, One Lewis and Clark Trail, Hartford. In cooperation with the Illinois Audubon Society, the site will catch and band hummingbirds. www.campdubois.com/html/special_events1.html.
▪ 23-30 — Monroe County Fair. Sunday, July 23 through Sunday, July 30, Monroe County Fairgrounds, 4177 Illinois 156, Waterloo. Free entry during the day; various entry fees for nighttime events. Fair exhibits include farm implements, farm animals, arts and crafts, 4-H projects, floral arrangements, art and photography, quilts and garden produce. Carnival rides. Food and drink vendors.
▪ 4 — Ice Cream Social. 6-8 p.m. Friday. Moody Park, Fairview Heights. Free ice cream. Music from Babaloo.
▪ 13 — Peach Festival at Pere Marquette Lodge. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 13, 13653 Lodge Blvd. Grafton, (618) 786-2331.
▪ 21 — Solarbration. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. Monroe County Fairgrounds, 4177 Illinois Route 3, Waterloo. Free event, a total eclipse viewing party. Live music, food, crafts and science experts. A limited quantity of solar eclipse viewing glasses will be available. The eclipse will happen at 1:17 p.m.
▪ 25-26 — Holy Childhood Annual Picnic and Fish Fry. Holy Childhood Church, 419 E. Church St., Mascoutah. Fish fry, 5-9:30 p.m. Friday with live music, beer and games. Picnic, 5-11 p.m. Saturday includes chicken dinner, lightning raffle, bingo, petting zoo, games. holychildhoodchurch.com.
More free attractions
▪ Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company. 5025 Pattison Ave., St. Louis, chocolatechocolate.com, (314)-338-3501. Free tours are offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every half hour Monday through Friday. Tours are also available 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Brussels Ferry. Route 100, Brussels, (618)-786-3636. The ferry operates 24 hours a day.
▪ St. Louis Science Center. 5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, slsc.org, (314)-289-4400.
▪ National Great Rivers Museum. Lock and Dam Way, Alton, meetingoftherivers.org, (618)-462-6979.
▪ Picnic at Art Hill in Forest Park. 35-43 Fine Arts Drive, forestparkmap.org, (314)-367-7275.
▪ The Planet Walk. 6177-6691 Delmar Loop, loopplanetwalk.com, (636)-978-8907.
▪ Magic House. 516 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, magichouse.org, (314)-822-8900. This attraction is free from 5:30 to 9 p.m. every third Friday of the month.
▪ Powder Valley Nature Center. 11715 Cragwold Road, St. Louis, nature.mdc.mo.gov, (314)-301-1500. This attraction is closed Sundays and Mondays.
▪ The Jewel Box. 1 Wells and McKinley Drives, St. Louis, stlouis-mo.gov, (314)-531-0080. This greenhouse is free from 9 a.m. until noon on Mondays and Tuesdays.
▪ Laumeier Sculpture Park. 12580 Rott Road, St. Louis, laumeiersculpturepark.org, (314)-615-5278.
▪ Summer reading programs are always an option. Check with your local library for a schedule.
Editorial assistant Heidi Wiechert contributed to this report.