We are always looking for new places around the area to explore. This weekend we decided to take a quick trip out of town to celebrate the last few days of freedom before school starts. So we drove over to St. Louis, Missouri (one of our favorite places to go for a long weekend) and visited Grant’s Farm for the first time.
The farm covers 281 acres and is named after former US President Ulysses Grant, who once lived on the property. It is owned by the Busch family of Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which President Grant married into.
The Farm is an animal reserve and is open to the public for free (the only charge is $12 for parking).
The park opens at 9 am but we had a late start yesterday and didn’t get to leave our hotel until 11. It was an easy 15-minute drive from the West End of St. Louis. Parking was full and we had to go around the lot a couple of times before we found something. We actually almost decided to turn back, but we would have truly regretted doing that!
The farm is clean and very well organized. There was a long but steadily-moving line at the entrance, where everyone boards a tram that brings you to their main attractions.
There are several trams and a new one departs every few minutes. We rode through the Preserve, which was absolutely breathtaking! Horses, deer, buffalo roamed free. Ducks and geese surrounded the lakes. None of them were fenced in, and some came close enough to our tram to actually touch (though visitors are asked not to touch any of the animals).
The ride ends at the zoo, where we were able to see kangaroos, elephants, llamas and alpacas, lemurs, bald eagles, beautiful parrots, a giant tortoise, and various farm animals.
There were camel rides, and visitors were allowed to feed the goats (my kids found this to be the highlight of our visit!). There is also a carousel (who doesn’t love those?).
Guests are not allowed to bring food or beverages into the farm. There are several kiosks inside that offer refreshments (Snow cones, popcorn, candy, pretzels) but there is also a Deli that offers sandwiches and salads, and the BratHaus, where you can get authentic bratwurst. The brats on pretzel buns were our lunch pick and I have to say the calories were totally worth it! I don’t drink beer but for those who do, there is free beer tasting for those over 21. I think that made for some pretty happy parents.
Apparently, Zagat’s US Family Guide Survey ranked Grant’s Farm the 7th best family attraction in the US. I can absolutely see why! We saw some interesting animals, my kids enjoyed hanging with the goats (getting rid of the stench afterwards is a different story), had a great meal, and were truly impressed with the trip through the Preserve. Although there were many visitors, we never felt like the place was too crowded, and over-all it was a fun and stress-free trip. We are definitely going back!
For more information on Grant’s Farm, check out their website http://anheuser-busch.com/index.php/our-heritage/grants-farm/