Missouri - St. Louis and Branson areas

Old Jun 7th, 2012, 09:42 AM
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Missouri - St. Louis and Branson areas

Traveling to Missouri at the end of April 2013. I've never really visited the midwest before. We'll be headed out there with our 3 and 4 year old boys, as well as my in-laws (mid 60s).

My thought is to fly into St. Louis and spend 3 nights, then drive to the Branson area for 3 nights. The final night will be near whatever airport we fly home from...probably St. Louis.

St. Louis: stay at Drury by the Arch, unless you all guide me someplace else. I'd like to be able to walk to dinner and maybe some attractions. We want to visit the Arch, take a river boat cruise (short 1-2 hour one), Grant's Farm, City Garden, the zoo. Not interested in the brewery since we have one here, along with the Clydesdales.

Branson: no idea where to stay. We prefer suite style hotels so we can give the boys their own room...actually it's more to give us our own room! We also like to have breakfast included...it's just easier with little kids.

Inlaws want to see some shows...we don't. So we'll probably take the boys to Silver Dollar City and find some places for hiking/nature walks.

Any recs on caverns to visit with little ones?

Thanks for your help!
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Welcome to the Midwest! St. Louis is a great city for family vacations. I live on the other side of the state, but have visited St. Louis several times--none particularly recent, but here's my thoughts:

--Here is a riverboat cruise link: http://www.gatewayarch.com/experienc...rboat-cruises/

It's not something we've ever done, but it does look kind of cool--an hour would probably be enough time for kids the ages of yours

--Highly recommend Grant's Farm--your guys will love it. Free, but you need to make reservations. Usually there are Clydesdales there I think.

--St. Louis has a transportation museum and my DS loved it when he was that age: http://transportmuseumassociation.org/

As for Branson, Silver Dollar City is really nice. The first time I went I was surprised at how pretty it is. They have a cave as part of the grounds there so if you can check that off if you want. The owners of SDC also have a water park and a more traditional "amusement" park. Branson has lots of independent (i.e. not chain) motels so it can be kind of overwhelming to sort through. Hopefully someone on here who has been there more recently can help with that.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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musicfan - thanks for the info on the transportation museum. my boys would love that. hadn't come across that yet. and yes, the choices in branson are overwhelming. i don't know if we should stay in branson itself, or on the lake (tabletop???).
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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Tablerock Lake. Stay in Branson, it will be more interesting for the kids and your parents. There is an airport near Branson now that has some national flights and of course the Springfield airport, in case you don't want the long drive back to St. Louis. Your children might enjoy The Magic House & the Children's Museum in St. Louis.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Slw - thanks. i've discovered flying to the midwest is expensive! it's going to cost us more to fly from boston to missouri than it did to travel from boston to california! st. louis saves us quite a bit of money, so we'll at least fly IN there, but maybe we'll go out of springfield. and i'll check those places out now. thanks again!
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Look at the possibility of flying out of nearby Springfield rather than going all the way back to St. Louis. You can actually fly out of Branson itself but connections aren't as extensive vs. Springfield.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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I think that transportation museum gets overlooked a lot so that's one of the reasons I bring it up when applicable. DS is now 20, but he loved all kinds of vehicles as a little guy and he LOVED that museum.

Also, kind of on your way out of St. Louis going to the Branson area is: http://www.purina.com/purina-farms/purinafarms.aspx

It doesn't really take the place of Grant's Farm (it's a completely different kind of place), but it was a fun enough stop.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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I've not stayed in Branson, but I live in St. Louis. Staying at the Drury downtown will be fine for seeing the Arch, the river boat cruise, and the City Garden on foot. The weather in April can be iffy though - some days are beautiful and springy, then the next it's chilly and rainy or even snowing. I'm sure you can relate being from Boston.

Forest Park is a short drive from downtown and has the Zoo, the Missouri History Museum, and the Science Center, which your little ones might enjoy also. http://www.slsc.org/
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 11:03 AM
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Not sure if you meant "City Museum" instead of "City Garden," but if not, I'd definitely recommend seeing the City Museum if you have kids -- it strikes me as a really fun place for youngsters.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is another St. Louis option not mentioned yet which may hold appeal to older and younger folks.

For places to eat, consider The Hill neighborhood for Italian food, as well as eateries in the Delmar Loop area near Washington University such as Blueberry Hill or Fitz's, both kid-friendly.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 11:09 AM
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Yes, I meant City Museum!!!

Misty - is there a better location for us? would we be better off near Forest Park?

bachslunch - my inlaws would really enjoy the botanical garderns...thanks!

weather - our choices are end of april or end of june. i'm afraid june could be very hot, so we are going to take our chances with april.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 11:34 AM
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The botanical garden is beautiful and they have a children's garden specifically for little ones.

I think you'll be fine staying downtown. It's pretty quiet in the evenings (unless there is a baseball game that weekend), and it's less than a 15 min drive away from the other attractions in Forest Park and on The Hill. It's six of one, half dozen of the other, in my opinion.

A great local custard place near The Hill is Ted Drewes. Definitely a St. Louis original.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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In Branson, there is a Residence Inn that has 2 bedroom suites. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...e-inn-branson/
We like to stay at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing.
http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/mis...RHH/index.html.
You might consider a condo. Let us know if that is an option. There are a lot of great places to choose from both in town and at the lake.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 08:28 PM
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japw - a condo is definitely and option. we would do either a 3 bedroom and share with the inlaws, or two smaller units. two smaller ones may be better for my sanity!
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 09:02 PM
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We've stayed at the Drury by the Arch in St. Louis. It's quite nice and in easy walking distance to the Arch. Lots to do in Branson and in St. Louis. Have fun!
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 04:23 PM
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I have stayed at both Thousand Hills and Branson Hills. They are both in Branson and close to everything.

http://www.thousandhills.com/
http://www.bransonhillsdevelopment.com/Lodging.html
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Old Jun 10th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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April's a lovely time to be here.

Do check out City Garden, still. It's fun for the children, and sometimes good food trucks parked alongside.

I'd stay near a Metro stop, anyway, which would get you access to the (free and excellent) Zoo and Art Museum in Forest Park via shuttle, downtown/Arch, City Museum, fun restaurants in the Loop.

With little ones, and a combo of early birds and sleepers-in, Drury Hotels are good for their quick n easy breakfasts.
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