St. Louis’ Forest Park a great regional destination
By Steve Hill
If you find yourself meeting someone in St. Louis, it’s hard to beat a couple of its classic outdoor spaces for a rendezvous or two.
The Hill family recently had an opportunity to visit old friends who were themselves in Missouri for a conference. Their trip encouraged us to spend a couple of days there, and we took advantage of Forest Park and its free zoo, as well as the St. Louis Arboretum, for some quality outside time.
This week I’ll focus solely on the first. There’s no doubt that Forest Park, about five miles west of downtown St. Louis, is one of the venerable old city parks in the United States.
Site of the 1904 World’s Fair, the park covers 1,371 acres and is host to an extraordinary range of recreational and cultural activities. The park has an interesting early history that reminds us how difficult it sometimes is to get folks to support park facilities — and how justified parks supporters probably would be in using the phrase “told you so” after getting one established.
Now the park gets more than 12 million visitors a year, outpacing the combined visitation of Busch Stadium (home of the Cardinals) and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (the Gateway Arch and its accompanying attractions).
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