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As the balmy spring days turn into some sweltering summer afternoons, St. Louis residents retreat to destinations where they can catch a break from the heat. When it’s a bit too hot for a day in Forest Park or a stroll downtown, there are several great places to cool off around St. Louis. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly option or a place to meet a friend or two, here are a few places to beat the heat and enjoy an afternoon this summer:
The major draw for this family-friendly spot is its proximity to St. Louis. At only about twenty minutes from downtown St. Louis, the Bangert Swimming Pool in Florissant is a great place to swim and relax. If you’re not up for swimming, you can easily catch some shade with a good book while your kids have fun. Safety is a priority here, and lifeguards are always present and attentive. The atmosphere is fun, with a concession stand to grab a bite and music playing in the background. Children under 4 are free, youth 4-17 are $3.00/resident or $8.00/non-residents, and adults are $4.00/resident or $10.00/non-residents. Open weekdays in the summer from 12:30PM - 7:30PM, and weekend days 11:30AM - 7:30PM, the Bangert Swimming Pool is a convenient, fun option for cooling off this summer.
Another family-friendly attraction close by is the Aquaport in Maryland Heights, just a 20-minute drive from downtown St. Louis. This municipal outdoor water park is a blast for kids of all ages to splash around. With several slides including the Flume, Racer, and Wacky Water, they make sure there’s something fun for most age brackets. Their unique “Extreme Bowl” attraction is an adventurous slide where riders funnel into a swirling bowl before landing in the pool. They have a large pool with bubblers, sprinklers, and fountains for the youngest to enjoy, and a huge lazy river to relax in. The proximity to St. Louis is just one of the major draws of the Aquaport. It’s also much more affordable and less crowded than other major water parks, with an admission of $10 for youth and seniors, and $15 for adults.
This water park is more expansive than the aforementioned Aquaport, so it’s worth a day trip when you’re willing to travel a bit further. Located under an hour from the St. Louis area in Grafton, IL, this water park has plenty to keep you busy. The park spans 24 acres and has 11 different attractions, including exciting body flumes, slide flumes, rafts, a “Swirlpool”, and kiddie areas for the youngest visitors. Rather than traveling to a coast, Raging Rivers gives you a way to experience the sensation of the ocean in their Breaker Beach Wave Pool. The tranquil Lazy River is a great spot for parents to float along and cool off as well. Rates range from $16.95 to $25.95 depending on age and time of day.
If water parks aren’t what you’re after, the Big River in Washington State Park offers a way to splash around in nature. An hour south of St. Louis, you’ll find DeSoto, where you can cool off in the Big River. You can choose to rent canoes, rafts, kayaks, and tubes to explore the river. Swimming, fishing, and lounging on the sandy beach are also popular ways to enjoy the park. In addition to the river, you’ll also find a swimming pool here as well. Washington State Park is a natural wonder and contains some historic Petroglyphs to check out. It also has great trails to hike, bike, and camp among the gorgeous Ozark vistas and overlooks.
Whether you’re looking for some quick relief from the summer heat, or you’re wanting a day of adventure, there are several spots to cool off around the St. Louis area. If you’re looking for a quick option for your kids right in St. Louis, the Muckerman Children's Fountain & Wading Pool is a convenient option in Tower Grove Park. If you have the time to venture just outside the city though, there are several great places to spend a weekend day relaxing with your family or cooling off with a friend.