If you are coming to the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) Family Conference this July— and who isn’t?!— you may want to add some extra days to your trip to see the sights in St. Louis (the Conference is being held in Chesterfield, Missouri, which is a suburb). Make it a family vacation!
Our fair city boasts an incredible number of things for you and your family to do on your vacation. And, lots of them are free!
The NFED office is located just across the Mississippi river in Fairview Heights, Illinois. It’s about 15 minutes east of the famed Gateway Arch (be sure and ride the tram to the top for an aerial view of the “Lou”). We welcome you to our “hometown.”
The Johnson family recently gave you the best 8 Reasons to Attend the NFED Family Conference. The following places to explore are “bonus reasons” to further entice you. These are some of our favorite places to visit. We think you’ll love them, too.
For the Sports Fanatics
When you are in St. Louis, you are in Cardinals nation! Head to Busch Stadium to see the St. Louis Cardinals play the Philadelphia Phillies, the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Cincinnati Reds depending on which you night you go—they have a series of home games every night, July 8 – 17. While you are there, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants across the street at Ballpark Village. Or, you can take in a Gateway Grizzlies minor league baseball game for more family fun.
The Artist’s Way
The Saint Louis Art Museum has an extraordinary collection to enjoy for free! In July, you can catch the Impressionism and Beyond exhibit. Or, you can take the kids to the Laumeier Sculpture Park for a picnic lunch. Art lovers might also enjoy the Contemporary Art Museum or the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
For Nature Lovers
In the middle of the city is a beautiful oasis called the Missouri Botanical Garden. It’s the oldest botanical garden in the United States and a National Historic Landmark. They have a Children’s Garden with a fun playground that the kids can explore. Or, head to the Jewel Box in Forest Park which is a display greenhouse. You can hike the trails at Shaw Nature Reserve or visit the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. If you are downtown, stop to see City Garden.
The brewery industry has a long history in St. Louis. You can take a brewery tour of Anheuser-Busch. Head to Grant’s Farm if you want to see the iconic Budweiser Clydesdale horses along with other exotic animals. Or, visit Schlafly Bottleworks or Urban Chestnut for other types of ale. If root beer is more your speed, be sure and take your family to Fitz’s Delmar to see their root beer factory and have a yummy meal.
In the heart of our beloved city sits Forest Park. If you only have time to do one thing, head there, where there’s a little bit of something for everyone in your group. With 1,300 acres, Forest Park has trails to walk, the free Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Science Center, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum and The Muny. You can also take a paddle boat ride after lunch at The Boathouse or play a round of golf.
See a Show
If musicals make you happy, visit the country’s oldest outdoor theater, The Muny. You can catch either Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins from July 5-13 or Sweeney Todd, July 16-22. You can also take in shows at The Stifel Theater or The Fabulous Fox Theater. Touring the Fabulous Fox Theater is also a must if you like to see behind the curtains and learn about this grand theater’s incredible history and transformation!
For the Young and Young at Heart
The Magic House is the St. Louis Children’s Museum. It offers hands-on exhibits and other interactive learning experiences. If you are heading to City Museum instead, you know you are there when you see the building with a school bus hanging off the roof! Housed in a former shoe factory warehouse, it boasts a unique blend of children’s playground and funhouse—all made from found and repurposed objects.
St. Louis Union Station
The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station and The St. Louis Wheel are two of the city’s newest family attractions. See the city of St. Louis from 200-foot high observation wheel. And the gondolas are climate controlled so you will stay cool! Both of these attractions are at St. Louis’ historic Union Station.
Part of the experience of visiting a city is tasting its food—our favorite part! Here are some foods that are uniquely St. Louis. We hope you are tempted to try one of them!
- Toasted Ravioli – While many St. Louis restaurants offer them, the best ones are found at one of the many Italian restaurants on The Hill.
- Imo’s pizza – Square pieces with provel cheese make this a St. Louis original.
- Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard – They will turn your concrete upside down just to show you how thick it is! Don’t be turned off by the lines…they move fast!
- Gooey Butter Cake – You will find it in lots of bakeries and restaurants. It’s a coffee cake with a custard-like center and lots of powdered sugar on top. Pure sugar heaven!
- BBQ Pork Steaks – Pork steaks are a staple for St. Louis summer dinners! It’s a cut of meat from the shoulder/rump section of the hog.
- St. Louis Style Ribs – These pork ribs usually are dry rubbed and are then coated with a yummy sauce.
Is your mouth watering yet? Ours is!
Time to Register
Hopefully, our tips will help you plan your itinerary. Here are your next steps:
- Register for Family Conference. (The deadline to apply for financial assistance is April 1.)
- Reserve your hotel room(s) at The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Chesterfield online or by calling 800-315-5459 (ask for the NFED 2022 Family Conference block. Be sure to reserve your room by June 14 to receive the special rate.
See you in the Lou in July!