Discover Forest Park in Saint Louis
An Insider Look at One Of the Country's Largest Urban Parks
When searching for fun in St. Louis, look no further than Forest Park. With over 1,300 acres to explore, there are endless possibilities of activities, attractions and events to enjoy throughout the year. Anne Grossmann, Volunteer, Visitor Services and Community Relations Manager at Forest Park Forever, describes Forest Park as being “very special to St. Louisans and to the entire region.” This “shared backyard” Grossmann says, “hosts a variety of institutions and cultural attractions all residing within the boundaries.”
Surprisingly, these institutions come at little or no cost. The St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center and Missouri History Museum always have free admission—although with fees sometimes applicable for specials exhibits. “Just because it’s free doesn’t mean that the museums are not well done. They have high quality partnerships with other museums across the world. There’s been a Monet exhibit every few years.”
Beyond the museums, there’s a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy at Forest Park, especially during the summer months. Shakespeare Glen is an area of the park where the annual Shakespeare Festival is held. The works of William Shakespeare are celebrated as actors select a piece to perform nightly. Visitors can enjoy these performances free of charge as they enjoy a summer evening in the park. This festival is typically held in the beginning of the summer and runs into the MUNY season. The MUNY, short for the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis, is an outdoor musical amphitheater in Forest Park which hosts a variety of musical performances throughout the summer. As the largest and oldest outdoor theater in the US, it hosts just under 12,000 seats. (Best part about the MUNY? The back section of the theater is always free—around 1,000 seats!) “When I was in high school, we were always looking for cheap things to do…we could catch a show for free,” remembers Grossmann.
For visitors looking to stay active, Forest Park has an abundance of recreational activities. With running trails and walking paths, people can cycle and rollerblade. The park is home to a tennis center and two golf courses. Boats are available for rent at the Boathouse, which is also a full service restaurant facility with an outdoor, dog-friendly, seating area. In the winter, Steinberg Skating Rink is open. There are activities year-round in Forest Park for everyone to enjoy.
Visitors can navigate the park with ease with Forest Park’s online map. “This is one of our heavily visited pages, our guests are using this as an info source. It gives key tips, for example, road closures. It’s a great resource,” explains Grossmann. The park is easily accessible for tourists as there’s access with several MetroLink stops and the MetroBus servicing about a third of the park. In the summer months, a trolley runs a circulated loop around the park.
Visitor Tip from Grossmann: Allow more than one day to see everything in Forest Park - it can't be done in a single day!
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, PAULA MARINO
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