This week we are doing a series of features on  “Why We Love St. Louis” and we are giving away tickets to some of the various attractions. with each entry. Reason #4 The Parks and Nature Preserves




Reason #3 why we love st. louis; the culture, arts & entertainment

Now for Reason #4: The Parks and Nature Preserves

It is hard to believe but St. Louis--though a major metropolitan city-- also offers the simple life, like fishing, hiking, camping, bird watching, and other nature experiences.

St. Louis has a great Parks Department and the Missouri Conservation Dept. plays a big role in the enjoyment of the natural environment for visitors and locals. St. Louisans take pride in the nature aspect of our area and many support these efforts with their volunteerism and/or their monetary donations. It was with a great sense of pride that we watched our sons contribute to this while earning their Eagle Scout rank. B.J. orchestrated a butterfly garden in the Clair Gemp Nature Preserve in South County off of Sappington Rd. and Mike helped build wooden steps in the Watson Trails Park in Sunset Hills.

We have always shared family time at the wonderful parks in the St. Louis area and also on day trips to the other nearby parks in Missouri.  We also appreciate the volunteers with Gateway Greening who planted flowers in Kiener Plaza. 

Many of the municipalities around the Gateway City have parks and of course the Grandaddy of them all is Forest Park, which we mentioned in the previous article.

Fishing in the St. Louis Area

 According to an article by’s Travel/Food Editor Suzanne Corbett: The Missouri Department of Conversation (MDC) has a great suggestion on how to spend your summer. Go fishing: urban fishing, a program established by the Missouri Department of Conversation in 1969 providing close to home fishing opportunities at 17 St Louis city and county area parks. Some locations such as Lafayette Park, Benton Park and Forest Park are just minutes from the Gateway Arch, making it a convenient activity for visitors who love to fish

Summertime is prime catfish season. Here are a few of St. Louis’ most popular urban lakes where the fish are biting.

Jefferson Lake in Forest Park: Fourteen acre Jefferson Lake is located on the east end of Forest Park, by Kingshighway and the skating rink. Prime catch: Largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish.

Benton Park Lake: The acre-sized lake located at South Jefferson and Arsenal Street, is situated in one of St. Louis’ oldest parks dating to 1866. Prime catch: Bullhead and channel catfish.

Boathouse Lake and Horseshoe Lake at Carondelet Park: Ranked as St. Louis’ third largest park, renown for dockside fishing from its historic pergolas on Boathouse Lake. Prime Catch: Channel catfish, largemouth bass and rainbow trout.

Susan Park Lake: Located in south St. Louis County, Susan offers 98-acres of fishing lakes along with picnic areas and an animal farm for kids to enjoy. Prime catch: Channel catfish, largemouth bass and rainbow trout.

Lafayette Park Lake: St. Louis’ oldest park. Lafayette Park’s Main Lake was once used by Victorians for boating. The park is located at Lafayette Square (Lafayette and Missouri Ave) just 10 minutes form the Gateway Arch. Prime catch: Channel catfish.

Tilles Park Lake: Located in St Louis County in Tilles Park at McKnight Road south of Interstate 64-40 provides a two-acre lake that features dock fishing. Prime catch: Channel catfish, rainbow trout, largemouth bass and sunfish.

 (For more on Fishing in St. Louis read: )

 Parks Sponsored by the St. Louis Parks Dept.


·       18 - Bella Fontaine

·       11 - Bissell House

·       65 - Castlepoint (shown left)

·       24 - Endicott

·       29 - Fort Belle Fontaine

·       33 - King

·       32 - Kinloch

·       21 - Larimore

·       60 - McDonnell

·       34 - Sioux Passage

·       39 - Spanish Lake

·       59 - St Vincent Park/Community Center & Water Park

·       40 - Veterans Memorial/North County Recreation Complex


·       6 - Buder

·       2 - Creve Coeur

·       56 - Ebsworth

·       43 - Faust

·       30 - Greensfelder

·       31 - Lone Elk (buffalo shown left)

·       14 - Love

·       8 - Memorial

·       73 - Museum of Transportation

·       38 - Queeny/Greensfelder Recreation Complex

·       57 - Simpson

·       7 - Tilles

·       53 - Unger

·       5 - West Tyson


·       22 - Affton White Rodgers Community Center

·       35 - Bee Tree

·       10 - Black Forest

·       13 - Bohrer

·       41 - Cliff Cave

·       49 - Clydesdale

·       45 - George Winter

·       4 - Jefferson Barracks

·       44 - Kennedy Recreation Complex

·       37 - Laumeier

·       15 - Lemay

·       17 - Mathilda-Welmering

·       16 - Ohlendorf

·       12 - St George

·       28 - Suson

·       3 - Sylvan Springs 

For more information on the St. Louis Parks Dept:


Some of the State Parks near St. Louis are:

·       Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park

·       Castlewood State Park

·       Deutschheim State Historic Site

·       Gov. Daniel Dunklin's Grave State Historic Site

·       First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site

·       Hawn State Park

·       Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park

·       Scott Joplin House State Historic Site

·       Katy Trail State Park

·       Mastodon State Historic Site

·       Meramec State Park

·       Missouri Mines State Historic Site

·       Robertsville State Park

·       Route 66 State Park

·       St. Francois State Park

·       St. Joe State Park

·       Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site

·       Felix Valle House State Historic Site

·       Washington State Park

For more information on local State Parks:

Nature Preserves

One reason we love St. Louis is the people who invest in the beauty of Missouri by supporting the many nature preserves. A favorite activity for us was to get the kids in the car and drive through Lone Elk Park. It’s a beautiful little park in south St. Louis County and a drive through affords the viewer to see deer, buffalo, ducks, and other forms of wild life that one would not expect to see in a booming metropolitan city like St. Louis.

Here is a short list of some of our favorites:

1. Grant’s Farm—Our favorite!
Plan to stay: 2-3 hours
For more information:
More than 1,000 animals from six continents live in the 281-acre wildlife preserve at Grant’s Farm, the former homestead of President Ulysses S. Grant and the ancestral home of the Busch brewing family. In addition to being one of the Budweiser Clydesdale breeding and training facilities, the facility offers tram rides through a wildlife preserve, animal shows and a petting zoo. The Bauernhof courtyard complex is a 19th century farmstead that houses the Busch family’s historic carriage collection. Open free-of-charge from mid-April to mid-October.

2. Lone Elk Park- Our second favorite
Plan to stay: 2-3 hours
One of St. Louis’ most exciting natural places is Lone Elk Park where visitors can visit a drive-through animal range where bison, deer, elk and other animals roam. Travel in that portion of the 526-acre park is in motor vehicle only to allow visitors a truly “up close” encounter with the animals in their natural habitat. Here’s a tip for your visit: plan to visit the park in the early morning or in the evening when your chances of animal sightings are best.

3.  Powder Valley Conservation Area
Plan to stay: 1-2 hours
For more information: 
Powder Valley Conservation Area features a nature center with exhibits on the botany and wildlife of Missouri and a nature preserve with three hiking trails. An underwater viewing area allows visitors to view bass, bluegill and catfish in their native habitat and a wildlife viewing area looks out onto a wooded corner where visitors can observe songbirds, wild turkey and small mammals in the feeding areas outside. The exhibit “St. Louis: Founded with Wildlife” demonstrates the role of wildlife trade in the development of St. Louis.

4.  Endangered Wolf Sanctuary 
Plan to stay: 1 hour
For more information:
For a truly unique experience, visit the Endangered Wolf Sanctuary where you can see wolves from all over the world. The Center offers education programs about wolves and hosts a renowned captive breeding facility for endangered wolf species.

5. World Bird Sanctuary
Plan to stay: 1-1.5 hours
For more information:
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about wild birds at the World Bird Sanctuary, one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. Birds and reptile species from around the globe are on display at the sanctuary, which offers a variety of special events and innovative programs. Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes tour of the WBS breeding facilities and there’s no better place to observe numerous species of local songbirds.

6. Butterfly House
Plan to stay: 1-1.5 hours
For more information:
At the Butterfly House and Education Center in Faust Park, visitors can walk through a lively butterfly habitat and thrill to the sight of hundreds of butterflies in free flight. You’ll also be able to watch the process of metamorphosis and see native butterflies in their natural environment.

(The information supplied about the nature preserves was supplied by Check out their website for more great ideas.)

Family fun starts at Drury is a family-owned business and we like to promote family fun whenever we can. We travel a lot and love the Drury Hotels.There is often fresh popcorn  and soft drinks in the lobby, and the cost of the hotel room includes enough food that you don't really need to spend money going to a restaurant.

They start you off with  their free Hot QUIKSTART Breakfast, and then the Kickback®
5:30 to 7:00 with free hot food & cold beverages for all guests. Check out the Drury Hotels,