Need something to do with the whole family but don’t want to spend a lot of money? You can find plenty of fun activities in and around Ellisville, Missouri, that are completely free. Watch a movie, enjoy some good food, see live music, or explore the great outdoors. The Ellisville area has all of that and more. Here are seven free things to do near Ellisville.

Movies in the Park at Bluebird Park

Bluebird Park in Ellisville is already your go-to park for getting the kids on the jungle gyms, splashing in the aquatic center, taking the pup out at the dog park, and playing disc golf. But did you know they also host an evening Movies in the Park series? Bring the whole family to the park to watch a fun, kid-friendly movie on the park’s enormous inflatable movie screen. Get there early to enjoy views of the sunset, set up your chairs, and have a little picnic before the film starts.

Summer Concert Series at Bluebird Park

An infant enjoying a concert on the shoulders of their parent while wearing hearing protection suitable for small children.

Infant Enjoying Metal Concert” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by SteFou!

If you can’t make it to the movies, you can still catch the park’s Summer Concert Series, hosted at the amphitheater. You can bring your own lawn chairs and blankets to sit on as well as snacks and drinks to have while you groove with the music. Or, you can spend a little dough and grab food from one of the vendors at the Thursday-night market hosted just a few steps away from the amphitheater. The lineup for this concert series is usually rockin’, too. Jam to everything from Big Band and swing to ’80s classics.

Hot Dog It’s Chili – Chili Cook-Off

Bluebird Park is one of the most happening places for free events, even those like the Hot Dog It’s Chili – Chili Cook-Off that’s centered on food. If you’re looking for something to warm you up in chipper October, go chili tasting at this activity-packed event. Besides the chili cooks, there are vendors selling other fantastic comfort foods. Make sure to stick around to hear the judges crown the chili champion and see if your favorite wins.

But the chili cook-off isn’t just about eating; there’s stuff for the kids, live music and entertainment all day long, and a dog costume contest, too! And if you fancy yourself a chili cook, get a team together and enter the competition with your own secret recipe.

Castlewood State Park

Get out into Missouri’s great outdoors at Castlewood State Park located about 5 miles away in Ballwin. If yours is an outdoorsy family, you’ll love exploring the park’s eight trails on foot, on horseback, or on bike, along with fishing in the Meramec River for catfish, carp, and bluegill. The kids can get their exercise during these activities or just while monkeying around on the playground. Make a whole day of it and plan a picnic at one of the picnic shelters or at one of the picnic sites around the horse riding areas.

The park is open from 7 a.m. until one hour after sunset all year round so you can enjoy all that it has to offer.

Chesterfield Amphitheater

The Chesterfield Amphitheater is just a 15-minute or so drive from Ellisville, making it a quick trip to hear great music for free under the stars. Pack up some snacks and drinks for the whole family, and get ready to rock out to everything from country to folk to classic ’80s hits from some of the best cover bands in the land. They usually run a summer series dedicated to classic rock that’s free to the public and starts on Saturday evenings right before sunset. If you end up liking the free live music, you may want to grab tickets to see your favorite music stars there, too.

Bring some chairs or blankets to sit on, and bring your dog, too, as long as it stays on the leash. And you might want to stock up on sunscreen and bug spray to keep everyone protected from UV and mosquito bites.

Lights Show at Union Station

Go a little way out of town into St. Louis to see the spectacular light shows over at Union Station. Created by the lighting designers who bring Cirque du Soleil to life, Union Stations Grand Hall Light Show is a gorgeous display of flashing colors, animated flowers, and bursting fireworks. They also have scenes from aquariums and flocks of flying birds as well as a narrated historical picture show of Union Station. These vignettes also feature famous Missourians. This indoor show is held every day on the hour from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Head outside to the lake to see the Fire & Lights Show, featuring waterfalls and spraying nozzles, exploding fire from cannons hovering over the water, and twinkling icicle lights dangling in the nearby trees. Plus, the lights bounce off the water and turn it into a rainbow of colors. All of this is set to music you know and love. Enjoy this show Sunday through Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the top of each hour.

St. Louis Zoo

If you’re in need of a free day trip idea, then head to the St. Louis Zoo. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Ellisville to see tigers, lions, giraffes, and all of your family’s other favorite animals. While admission to the zoo is free, you do have to pay for any extras, like the sea lion show and stingray exhibit. But for all of the extras, any kiddos 2 and younger are free.

While you’re at the zoo, you can learn what it takes to become a zookeeper or wildlife veterinarian, how to save the different animals impacted by climate change, and take part in fun activities like Family Fun Friday Nights, where there are entertainers everywhere you look. The zoo also hosts an adults-only Night at the Zoo, too!

These are just a few of the best free things to do in and around Ellisville, Missouri. Did we miss any of your favorite free activities in the area? If so, contact Crème de la Crème of Ellisville and let us know! We’ll definitely add it to our list.