St. Louis Family Memberships Worth the Investment


What are your favorite STL area family memberships?


It is no secret that St. Louis is chock full of wonderful family activities, many of which are free. As a stay-at-home mom, I prided myself on getting out every day while spending as little money as possible. While that was fairly easy to do in St. Louis, there are some memberships that I have found to be worthwhile. I have created a list of some of our favorite memberships we have had over the years and what makes them the best bang for your buck. 


The Magic House in St. Louis, MO


The Magic House

If you have been in St. Louis for any bit of time and you have kids, you have likely taken them to this St. Louis gem. You can quickly spend a ton of money for a day’s entry into The Magic House. The yearly membership is reasonable, starting at as low as $100 a year. However, they run specials where the membership price is half off. (the past couple of years, this was on April Fool’s Day). This is a remarkable deal allowing you free entry all year. You can add a babysitter or grandparent to the membership for just $25. Nobody wants to be at The Magic House all day to get their money’s worth, so we have always gotten the membership so we can pop in for an hour or two at a time and leave with our sanity intact. 


National Museum of Transportation

With two young boys, this was a favorite membership for us. Memberships start at just $50 for the year, which allows you to bring 5 guests with you. This is great for anyone with family out of town as you can bring them along for free, and it is a museum for all ages. Memberships starting at $100 include stamps that are good for the miniature train ride and creation station playroom. This is a great place to visit all year round and the membership is an incredible deal. 


the Welcome to the St. Louis Zoo sign


The Saint Louis Zoo 

While admission to the St. Louis Zoo is typically free (aside from special events), a Zoo membership starting at just $79 provides parking passes, zoo line tickets, and entrance into shows and special exhibits. There are also discounts for special events. We had the zoo membership when my boys were younger, so I could easily answer yes to requests for train rides and park close by for easy entrance and exit. 


The Missouri Botanical Gardens 

Although St. Louis City and County residents can enter the gardens for free on Saturday and Wednesday mornings, the membership is still a great deal. Membership starts at just $50, but the real benefit is at $125 when you get unlimited visits to the incredible children’s garden. The whole garden is a special place, but the children’s garden is truly a wonderful play space with a splash pad. 


the Missouri Botanical Gardens


Urban Fort 

Although Urban Fort does not have a membership, they do have a prepaid punch card and it is totally worth it! For $90, you can have your visits prepaid to drop into this great little play spot with excellent food and coffee and tons of fun for the littles. 


City Museum 

The City Museum is not for the faint of heart, but it is a super incredible play space for kids and adults alike. While an individual visit can run you twenty-five to thirty dollars, a membership costs just $50 per person. This is a great deal if you plan to visit more than once and it also includes rooftop access. 


the sign in front of the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station


The St. Louis Aquarium

The Aquarium will cost you $25 per adult and $18 per child each visit. If you plan to go more than twice, it’s a better bang for your buck to get an annual membership. Membership is based on number of people starting at $55 and reducing in per person cost as more family members are added. This is a great new St. Louis attraction made much cheaper with an annual membership. 


While this is not a comprehensive list, these are some of my favorite memberships and the best deals around. I typically have one to two memberships a year, depending on my kids’ ages and interests. I hope you can find a membership for your family, too! 


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Katie is a Des Peres mom of two young boys, Trace (2014) and Henry (2016). Katie stays home with her boys most of the time but also spends a bit of time away as a high school lacrosse coach. Katie enjoys connecting with other moms to run, meet at parks, explore new restaurants, listen to live music and discuss books. Katie and her boys can be found enjoying many activities around St. Louis including the Science Center, Zoo, Magic House, Museum of Transportation, Urban Fort and Frisco Train Store, but what they enjoy most is just being outdoors. They have tried many of the parks around St. Louis City and county and also love hiking trails at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Powder Valley and Shaw Nature Reserve. Katie and her family love all that St. Louis has to offer for families of young children and can most often be found taking advantage of all of the many opportunities.


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