The Ultimate holiday events for kids in St. Louis
The Garden Glow, Botanical Gardens
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” at the Missouri Botanical Gardens! This year, create some new family traditions at “Garden Glow,” which runs from November 17th to January 1st, and is a perfect way to see the beautiful gardens in a new light…over one million lights to be exact!
This year the boys and I met up with some friends to walk around the botanical garden and take in all of the beautiful lights and displays, sip some holiday drinks, listen to some music and get some always appreciated fresh air and exercise. New to the event this year is a huge 24-foot pixelated tree and flower xylophones kids can play that change color with the beat.
You can also step inside a huge snow globe and have a visit with Santa, who comes to the garden Monday to Thursday nights.
If your kids are a little nervous around Santa they have a book they can write their wish in. It looks like Logan is wishing for a hamster this year. (OMG)
Garden Glow is mostly outdoors, so make sure to bundle up if the forecast is chilly! The walk itself is only around a mile, so it’s perfect for kids who tire out easily. The event also allows strollers and wagons for moms with littler ones in tow. (I was wishing I had this after Mason started whining his legs hurt).
This year, the general admission also includes the Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train show, which features G-scale trains of all different styles weaving around holiday landscapes and thousands of fresh plants and flowers. “Garden Glow” also features family night every Wednesday from November 21st to December 12th, where tickets for the kids are only $3!
If you need to warm up check out the Victorian Christmas at the Tower Grove House with our admission. All decked out in Victorian style with plant decorations, Henry Shaw’s country home was a beautiful addition to our night.
We all had such a fun time at “Garden Glow” this year, strolling around to see the light displays and spending some much needed time outdoors. If you’re looking for a fun new tradition to add to your holidays, make this your next family night out!
Christmas Traditions, St Charles
The St. Charles Christmas Traditions filled with all sorts of fun events such as parades, caroling, Christmas characters, and card collecting and more!
After we got all settled and checked into the Drury, we decided to take the trolley that night into the downtown area to catch some fun holiday festivities. We used the Ride Saint Charles app to find out the trolley route and times which show you when the trolley will be in your area. It was free and best of all we didn’t have to park.
When we got onto Main Street in the downtown area, I felt like I had stepped straight into a Hallmark Christmas movie! Everything was so festive and jolly, with carolers, music, lights, decorations and even Christmas characters. They had Santas and Magical Legends of Christmas, who were in character all over Main Street. They give you a brief background of who they are, and even carry around cards with their name and a little picture of themselves, with a description on the back so you can remember them! Some of them were jokesters and others seemed to take a page straight from Ebenezer Scrooge himself. My boys got really into meeting and talking to all of them, especially the Christmas Angel who was Logan’s favorite.
Another great event that everyone from 1 to 92 will get a kick out of is the Santa Parade! Every Saturday and Sunday during the festival, the Santa Parade rolls on down Main Street with music, floats, and even international Santas. The grand finale features Santa and Mrs. Claus riding in their horse-drawn carriage. The Ice Block Party is also a fun way to end the day with a bang. It starts every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
After strolling around for a bit, we took a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets to take in all the holiday cheer.
The horse-drawn carriages are parked along the street. You can take a short or long ride and they are equipped with cozy blankets to keep you warm. We could not resist this cute horse. I mean look at the glitter hoofs.
To see our entire St Charles staycation holiday post check it out here.
The Polar Express
All aboard the Polar Express! This holiday season, spend a festive night with your family riding St. Louis Union Station’s very own Polar Express. It’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit with Christmas carols, hot cocoa, yummy treats, a reading of Polar Express, and even a visit from Kris Kringle himself! Kids and adults can wear pajamas if they would like, but don’t sweat it if you don’t want to. The dress code isn’t a big deal! All in all, we had the best time and my kids loved every minute of it.
We booked our tickets for the train ride through Xplorcity.com under their events tab. When we arrived, we parked near the main entrance, which is across from where the old Hard Rock Café was located. There we picked up our tickets and our wristbands and were ushered to a tent area to wait for the train. They tell you to arrive at least an hour before your train departs, but don’t worry because there are plenty of fun little activities for the kids. Coloring pages, build a bear, and cute photo opportunities are just some of the things we enjoyed while waiting. There aren’t a ton of bathroom options so make sure the kids make use of the deluxe porta-potty before boarding the train!
When it was time to board, we were lined up according to what car we booked as they put on a little production. Then, we climbed aboard and found colossal sized cookies waiting in each of our assigned seats! My kids were so excited to eat them. And no cookie is complete without a cup of delicious hot cocoa which was then served to everyone as the train left the station. Just like the book, chef characters came out to greet us to make sure everyone got a cup. It was great because the hot cocoa was the perfect temperature for the kids so they didn’t burn their mouths.
After they came around and punched our tickets just like the story, the characters read aloud the The Polar Express and walked up and down the aisles with large books so the kids could see the illustrations. And before we knew it, we were at the “North Pole!” Outside we saw a fun little light display and then Santa himself!
You don’t get off at the “North Pole” stop, but that doesn’t mean a certain someone doesn’t get on. Santa Claus came aboard the train and made his way around to every kid to give them a little gift (as well as making sure everyone was on the nice list). He asked Mason if he was eating all his vegetables and Logan if he was picking up all his toys! The kids went nuts seeing Santa, and it also reminded them to get their act together in time for Christmas presents!
I highly recommend The Polar Express Train Ride to anyone wanting to experience a little Christmas magic this year. My kids were dancing in the aisles, screaming for Santa, and fa-la-la-ing the whole ride! It’s a perfect way to switch into Christmas time mode for the whole family. Stay tuned for St Louis event holiday updates.
**Thank you Xplor for hosting us at this fun event. All thoughts and opinions are my own.