Looking for a free indoor place to play, and maybe sneak in a little education to boot? Then head over to the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in St. Louis County. Tucked within the hills right next Hwy 44 and Hwy 270 near Kirkwood, Powder Valley is easy to get to for most anyone.
The nature center is run by the Missouri Department of Conservation. It’s like a mini-natural history museum with lots of hands-on activities for the kids. There’s also a viewing area to watch the birds in the park and a library of nature related books.
If the weather is decent, you can take a hike one of three paved (yes, I said paved!) trails, but beware, only the trail marked “handicap accessible” is flat. The others are SERIOUSLY hilly. Like 45 degrees, marching up a mountain, hilly.
The park is open 8 am to 8 pm during daylight saving time, and 8a. to 6 pm the rest of the year. The Nature Center (the indoor bit)is open from 8 am to 5pm, but closed on Sunday and Monday. Blame the economy, they reduced hours during a big budget crunch in 2010–and never brought it back.
Note: The park doesn’t allow dogs if you’re thinking about hitting the trails.