Set in Purina's spacious Visitor Center and surrounding premises, the five-day event lets fall-fanatic families usher in seasonal scares and crunchy leaves with autumnal activities such as tractor-drawn hayrides, storytelling, meet-and-greets with friendly witches, and magic shows by performers from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. In keeping with Purina's roots as a purveyor of kinship between people and pets, youngsters can feast their primary head orbs on live farmyard animals, duck herding demonstrations, cow-milking displays, and costumed canines competing in a series of flying disc, agility, and diving contests. Bring the entire family or the gaggle of mischievous, otherworldly imps living in your basement for refreshing fall fun.
Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, a USDA–approved big-cat rescue facility, plays motherly host to a roaring family composed of five tigers and a lone lioness with a sultry swagger. Adopting philanthropists can align with their striped or unstriped spirit animal, choosing from noble felines such as the elder Mohan—a white male tiger with blue eyes, a pink nose, and a natural screen presence—or Raja—the relentlessly caring mother of sisters Gracie and Thor.
Though most people hate the feeling of getting lost, that?s the point behind spending a day at the maze at Brookdale Farms. Not because the staff wants guests to wander aimlessly, but because the maze makes for a great way to enjoy the autumn sunshine at a relaxed pace and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Open as a family-friendly jaunt during the day and as a haunted attraction at night, the maze tests navigators? skills and affords a rare view into how scarecrows live when they think no one is looking. Outside the maze, the farm offers other autumnal activities such as pumpkin slingshots, pony rides, adrenaline-pumping ziplines, and a hay jump, inviting families to spend a full day disconnected from their televisions, computers, and employer-mandated tracking devices. The farm also has its very own pumpkin patch, where children and adults can pick their own pumpkins, especially after a nice hayride.
Although it's only a 50-minute drive from St. Louis, Riverside Wildlife Center is a world away. The US Department of Agriculture?licensed indoor and outdoor facility houses more than 400 wild animals, ranging from some of the world's largest cats to exotic birds. Guests can stand 4 feet away from lions and tigers to meet them nearly face-to-face or snap photos of the center's 9-foot alligator. They can also hold, feed, and play with dozens of other creatures, including baby alligators, frogs, snakes, and turtles.
From the black widow spiders to the massive grizzly bear, all of the creatures at The Saint Louis Zoo showcase the beauty and diversity of the natural world. At the same time, they encourage guests to learn about the world's ecosystems, and the importance of protecting species under threat.
Grant's Farm has been home to two titans of the US?one a general and president, the other a brewer who forever changed America's bar scene. The first of these was the farm's namesake, President Ulysses S. Grant, who in 1885 built a four-room cabin, needing only a few days, the help of some loyal friends, and an '80s-style montage. After a few transitional owners, August Busch Sr. bought the farm in 1907 and had that same cabin restored to its original condition.
While visitors to Grant Farm can still view that historic cabin today, the grounds have grown into much, much more. More than 280 acres host over 900 animals from 100 unique species, one of which has starred in commercials for decades: the Budweiser Clydesdales. A behind the scenes tour of the Clydesdale Stables reveals more than 50 of these stallions, from weanlings to full-grown, six-foot-tall equines. Meanwhile, Zebras, Black Buck Antelope, and other exotic animals roam across Deer Park, and Tier Garten hosts interactive elephant shows and goat feedings.
Back indoors, the bauernhof (farmstead) stands as a 19th-century relic with antique stables and carriages. It also houses non-antique bartenders, who pour complimentary samples for of-age visitors. They can also point families to more complete dining locations, including Grant's Farm Deli.