You all know I love St. Louis. The Gateway City is such a great family friendly destination, but even more so with the addition of the newly re-imagined St. Louis Union Station. Here’s everything you need to know about the St. Louis Union Station.
Disclosure: A huge thank you to Explore St. Louis and their partners for providing complimentary tickets and hotel stay for my family. Read full disclosure policy here.
History of the St. Louis Union Station
First things first, the St. Louis Union Station’s has such a rich history. In 1894, Union Station was built and thrived as the busiest rail terminal with 10,000 passengers passing through every single day.This former train station is an absolute architectural marvel. I could have spent days just photographing all the nooks and crannies.
Things to Do at St. Louis Union Station
The St. Louis Wheel
One of the bigger attractions at the St. Louis Union Station is St. Louis Wheel. Standing at 200 feet, it is as tall as 1.3 Statues of Liberty. Although the temps were in the 50s, we were nice and toasty in climate enclosed gondolas. I appreciated them sanitizing in between seatings. Allow 15- 20 minutes or so with 3-4 rotations.
Fun fact: Did you know the Ferris wheel was originally debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in none other than St. Louis.
Tip: Try to go as the sun sets. The views are ah-mazing and the observation wheel is all lit up!
As we were leaving, the Wheel was all lit up pink and people were cheering. We later learned that it was part of a gender revel. Super cute!
Located past the carousel and Drink station. Can’t miss The Wheel!
St. Louis Aquarium
The 120,000 foot Aquarium where you can navigate through 6 different areas with over 13,000 animals and 250 species. Our underwater adventure started at the rivers then made our way to the ocean. What we noticed was that there are many hands on areas. For example, Doctor Fish gently nibbled on our hands. We saw firsthand how Archer fish spit water to catch their food. And of course, who could resist touching stingray? It is not a huge aquarium so we took our time going through the exhibits which made for a more relaxed visit. I would allow 1-2 hours for your visit.
COVID precautions: Timed entry, masks required, temperatures taken, advance tickets required
Tip: Take a behind the scenes tour to watch them feed sharks, stingrays, and fish. You can even cross a rope bridge over the aquarium!
Going on the ropes course was my middle son’s request. It’s a ton of fun with a “choose your own adventure” feel. Really fun if you like adventure. And heights. Although, we only completed three tracks, we were quite satisfied with our run. For little ones 48″ and under, they have a cute Sky Tykes course that my daughter absolutely conquered.
Allow 30-45 minutes to complete the course.
Located indoors by the Aquarium.
Want to get lost in a maze? Not only will you find a mirror maze, but this fun house takes you back to the 1904 World’s Fair with activities from that time. Take your time because it goes fast! My kids zipped through it lasting less than 10 minutes.
Located indoors on the second floor by the Aquarium.
COVID precautions taken seriously here. Masks required, sanitizer required before use, and gloves (provided) are asked to be worn.
My kids especially my daughter LOVES carousels and this one at Union Station did not disappoint. Choose from one of the 30 favorite animals including horses or exotic animals like a rhino or lion.
Located by mini golf and small train play structure.
The kids challenged each other to a game of mini golf at the 18-hole course, while us adults indulged in drinks.
See the light shows
If you’re here during the evening, then you must check out the state-of-the-art light shows at the Union Station’s Grand Hall. Amazing! Every hour on the hour there is a new show and it’s chosen randomly.
Fun fact: The same people who designed the lighting for Cirque du Soleil did this light show.
There’s even a fire and light show on the water. We missed this but we did see it from high above on the Carousel.
Love trains? The little ones will have a ball on the small train play structure.
Located by mini golf and Carousel.
Where to eat at St. Louis Union Station
The Train Shed
Wanting to have a restful night in, we decided to order carryout from The Train Shed. We ordered a Margherita pizza, Trio pizza with sausage, pepperoni, and bacon, and a deliciousCaesar Salad. Our favorite no doubt was the Margherita – wish we ordered two!
Located indoors by Aquarium entrance.
St. Louis Station Soda Fountain
Oh, how I wanted to have a freak shake, but it wasn’t meant to be. It’s dine in only and on one day they couldn’t accommodate us one hour before closing. The following day we tried again but it was a 45 minute wait at around 11 a.m. Next time!
View this post on Instagram
Other places to dine include Landry’s Seafood House and 1894 Cafe.
Thirsty? Stop by the drinks stand where you can pick up beer and non-alcoholic beverages of your choice.
Where to stay at St. Louis Union Station
Stay and play at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel where you’re literally steps away from all the attractions. Today, the AAA Four Diamond Hotel boasts over 500 rooms. Although the hotel has been completely revamped, the beautiful architectural details are still there. Read all about our stay here.
Tips to Enjoy St. Louis Union Station
- Want to try it all? Save on a combo pass.
- If you want to try St. Louis Fountain, try to add your name down on the list right away. If you time it right, you can even watch the fire and light show from their patio.
- Visit my friends at Explore St. Louis to find more family-friendly things to do in the area.
Address: 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103
Parking: Paid parking lot.
Looking for more St. Louis fun?
- Explore the great outdoors and enjoy art at Laumeier Sculpture Park.
- The Missouri Botanical Gardens has one of the best Japanese Gardens that we’ve been to.