I love a good picnic, but I’m usually too busy (or scatter brained) to actually plan a good picnic. Besides, I pack enough lunches for school, so when it comes to picnic time…I cheat. My family picnics are usually pretty spontaneous, like after a fun day at the Train Museum or a hike around the Botanical Garden, we’ll have a picnic. It’s cheaper than eating at the snack bar and sometimes the kids are just too grubby after play to go inside somewhere. So I keep a blanket in the backety-back of my SUV and whenever the mood strikes for a picnic, we’re ready! We pull into our favorite fast food place, order up some lunch and hightail it to a nearby park. These days I’m pretty fond of stopping at KFC for my spontaneous picnic food–after all, nothing says picnic time more than fried chicken!
The Best Picnic Parks in St. Louis
Here’s a list of our favorite picnic parks…and the fun stuff your family will find in and around them:
CityGarden: One of the best parks in the city proper, CityGarden is a joy to visit. Two blocks of city park smack in the middle of downtown, full of outdoor art and splashy fountains that your kids can run through. It’s close to the Arch, City Museum and Busch Stadium, but you might want to grab your picnic lunch on the way in…there’s a fancy pants restaurant next to the park, but I don’t think your toddler will want Turnip miso ramen. Or maybe they do. I’ll stick with a bucket of chicken, just the same.
Forest Park: You can’t have a list about picnicking in St. Louis without including the grand daddy of them all, Forest Park. There are plenty of picnic grounds and of course the St. Louis Zoo, the Science Center, History Museum, Art Museum and the fabulous Variety Wonderland Playground. Though all of the venues in Forest Park have free admission, food is not cheap. So plan that picnic! There’s some good fast food options on Hampton and on Lindell, just blocks from the park…plus it’s just a hop and skip from the Delmar Loop.
Sugar Creek Park: This Des Pere park is small, but it’s got it all: a nice picnic area and a super cute playground with faux logs and “rock” caves to play on. It’s practically across the street from the Museum of Transportation.
Laumeier Sculpture Park: This is another great park for introducing your kids to art in a casual way. Laumeier is full great picnic spots under massive pieces of outdoor modern art. There’s no playground, but there’s plenty of trails and neat things to explore in hidden corners of the woods.
Creve Coeur Park: There’s actually two halves to this park, one with a playground and splash park and the other with lake access. If you’re up for more adventure with your picnic, you can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle around the lake! Creve Coeur Park is also home to Go Ape Tree Top Adventure, a fantastic ropes course for adults and kids over 10.