Visitors Guide to
Forest Park
St. Louis, MO
314-781-0900 or 1-800-966-8877

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Missouri Historic Sites Accessible Pathways Accessible Bike Paths Accessible Fishing Accessible Boat Rentals Accessible Wildlife Viewing Accessible Food Service Facilities Accessible Gift Shops Accessible Restrooms MetroLink Station Nearby


Forest Park is the one of the largest urban parks in the United States, a natural oasis in the urban environment of St. Louis, 500 acres larger than New York City’s Central Park. The Park was created from in 1876 of 1,293 acres of land west of downtown St. Louis. The Park contains many of St. Louis’ major attractions - the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, the Municipal Opera and the world famous Saint Louis Zoo.

The western half of the Park was chosen as the site for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904 with the stipulation the land would be restored as a park afterwards. The Saint Louis Art Museum occupies the Fine Arts Palace (photo left,) one of the few remaining structures built for the Fair. The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation's leading comprehensive art museums, containing more than 30,000 works of art. The Jefferson Memorial Building of the Missouri History Museum was built using proceeds from fair. The Missouri History Museum pays tribute to important moments in history including the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery, Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic, and the history of the St. Louis area. The new The Emerson Electric Center added new exhibit space to the museum in 2000. 

The Saint Louis Zoo occupies 79 acres of Forest Park and is widely recognized as one of the finest zoos in the world. The Zoo has 22,000 animals, many of them rare and endangered, which represent all the major continents and habitats of the world. A railroad line circles the zoo and provides visitors with an easy way to get around and view the animals. The Rivers’ Edge, one of the Zoo’s newest attractions, gives visitors the feel of walking along an African river and an opportunity to get up close to the elephants (photo left,) rhinos, and hippos. Also new at the Zoo is Penguin & Puffin Coast and a conservation carousel. The Fragile Forest, a new habitat for Chimpanzees and Orangutans, opened in 2005. A natural amphitheater near Art Hill was developed as the Municipal Opera in 1917 with proceeds from a theatrical production performed on a stage built over part of the Grand Basin. The Municipal Opera (The Muny) is the nation’s oldest and largest outdoor theatre.
The Saint Louis Science Center is one of only two science centers in the country with no admission charge. The Science Center has two three buildings: the main Science Center Building and the Exploreadome across from Forest Park, and the McDonnell Planetarium (photo left) located in the Park. The buildings are connected by a covered walkway that crosses over I-64. The main building houses a number of hands-on exhibits, the Omnimax Theater, and The Exploradome, an inflatable structure, which gives the Science Center more room for large traveling exhibitions. The Boeing Space Station, which teaches about life in space, is located inside the Planetarium.
The Jewel Box, an Art Deco-style Conservatory that opened in 1936, is an elaborate greenhouse that houses a permanent collection of displays of tropical trees, foliage plants and flowers. The Jewel Box sits on a 17-acres site surrounded by rose gardens, lily ponds, statuary and monuments, and houses seasonal displays. The sparkling glass panes of the 50-foot tall building give the structure a distinctive look, much like a crystal jewel box and is listed on the National Historic Register. Peninsular Lake, the Park’s only natural lake, was renamed “The Grand Basin,” and reshaped and connected via a series of lagoons for the 1904 fair. A lodge-style Boat House opened in 2003 where visitors can rent canoes and paddleboats to enjoy gliding along the park’s enlarged waterways. The Park has two 7.5-mile paths for walking, running, biking, and rollerblading. One path has a soft surface and the other is paved. Steinberg Rink offers ice-skating in the colder months and a variety of outdoor activities in the summer. Numerous picnic sites dot the landscape, and the Park is a popular place to picnic during the summer. The Park also has an archery range, ball fields, handball courts, a a 27-hole golf course, and the Dwight Davis Tennis Center.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest consists of approximately 90 acres of varied habitat in the southwest corner of Forest Park. Of the 90 acres, 13 acres south of Wells Drive are what can be called an urban park habitat with mown grass and picnic areas. There are “islands” of forest south of Wells Drive and combined with the forested area north of this thoroughfare, there are approximately 68 acres of timberland. Interspersed along the northern edge of the forest is the oak savanna restoration project which encompasses nearly 9 acres of this rare and endangered habitat. Bicycle and hiking trails criss cross the area.

Visiting Forest Park
     Visiting Hours
          The Park is open daily year round from 6 am - 10 pm
Admission to Forest Park is free. There are fees charged for certain activities and attractions. Check the links above for additional information on the major attractions or the link to the Forest Park website below for additional details.

Metro Forest Park Trolley Service
The Metro Forest Park Trolley Service line offers visitors to the park an easy way of getting around to Forest Park’s attractions. The Trolley Service for 2019 has ended. There are two routes. The blue route serves the western side of the Park, with stops at the World’s Fair Pavilion, Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum and Emerson Grand Basin. The green route serves the eastern side of Forest Park, with stops at the Jewel Box and the Saint Louis Science Center's Planetarium. Both trolley routes make stops at the Missouri History Museum, Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center, The Muny and Boathouse as well as the Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink Station. Two convenient Park N’ Ride options are available for visitors. Free on Saturdays and Sundays. Adult Trolley fares are $2 per adult. Children 5-12, seniors and disabled passengers ride for $1. Click here for additional information.

Directions: Forest Park is bounded by I-64, Kingshighway, Lindell and Skinker, six miles west of downtown. The MetroLink light rail system stops at the Forest Park exit. From the station, visitors can walk one block south to the Missouri History Museum or catch a Metro bus to travel to other parts of the park. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Zip2 Forest Park shuttle takes visitors from Forest Park MetroLink station to stops at the attractions in the park. Riders can use the shuttle all day for just $1.

Learn more about the St. Louis area.

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