15 Best Things to Do in Eureka, MO

Eureka, MO
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On the edges of the Greater St. Louis Metro Area lies one of the premier entertainment centers in Missouri: the charming city of Eureka.

This city proudly offers a “country living” ambiance without sacrificing the conveniences of modern life.

And since it’s the seat of Six Flags St. Louis, the city has become synonymous with thrilling rides and fun memories.

The options are not limited to manmade attractions as the city has plenty of nature-related destinations.

These include parks, the Meramec River, and large swaths of forests that belong to the vast Washington University Tyson Research Center.

So if you’re looking for a low-key destination that isn’t too far from the big city, this is it!

Here are the 15 best things to do in Eureka, MO:

Experience the Thrill at Six Flags St. Louis

Tall, bright orange and green coloured boomerang ride.
Jeremy Thompson from Los Angeles, California, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Six Flags is synonymous with extreme rides, and Six Flags St. Louis is no different.

This exhilarating theme park first opened in 1971 and was originally called Six Flags Over Mid-America before it was renamed to its current designation.

Clear blue sky with blue coloured rollercoaster ride.
Jeremy Thompson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Like other Six Flag establishments, this one features characters and settings from Warner Bros. films and TV shows.

There are eight sections to explore, such as the 1904 World's Fair, DC Comics Plaza, Bugs Bunny National Park, and Studio Backlot, among others.

People riding a wooden rollercoaster.
Chris Hagerman from New Port Richey, FL, US, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also visit the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, a seasonal water park you can access as long as you have a ticket.

Within these sections, you’ll find extreme roller coasters, towering rides, entertainment venues, shops, and dining establishments.

During holidays and special occasions, the park hosts events that bring the experience to the next level.

Check out their calendar to see what’s in store!

People splashed with water during a ride in Six flags.
Tomasz Szymanski / Shutterstock.com

Play a Few Rounds at The Legends Country Club

The Legends Country Club is one of the premier outdoor facilities in Eureka, featuring many modern amenities and attractions.

These include two scenic golf courses, the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. course with 18 holes and the Gary Kern course with nine holes.

Thanks to the gentle terrain on this side of Missouri, the architects were able to incorporate their design seamlessly into the landscape.

The result is a magnificent layout with well-manicured greens and fairways, trees, and water hazards.

So whichever course you choose to play in, you’re guaranteed a scenic and excellent gameplay.

If you’re not up for golfing yet, you can visit the club's two restaurants, swimming pool, and tennis courts.

The clubhouse itself is a sight to behold, with its stately Greek Revival architecture, large balcony, and magnificent views.

Trek the Trails of Route 66 State Park

Body of water and chain rocks bridge.
Curtis Harsh / Shutterstock.com

Route 66 was a vital road famous for being one of the first major highways in America.

There are many attractions to see along its length, including the scenic Route 66 State Park in Eureka.

Rock hill, and green trees on abandoned Route 66.
Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This public recreation area is unusual, as it sits on a ghost town—Times Beach.

It was the site of widespread dioxin contamination in the 1980s, so the residents had to be evacuated.

Today, remnants of the long-gone community can be seen as you explore the interiors of the state park.

An abandoned trail of Route 66, with green trees and grass framing the walkway.
Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

There are around 418 acres of land to explore, accessible via the crisscrossing trails.

And don’t worry—the site has been completely decontaminated.

Thanks to the lack of human inhabitants, wildlife has flourished over the years, so watch out for small mammals, birds, and insects.

A closer view of the abandoned Route 66 bridge.
Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Unique Finds at Great Midwest Antique Mall

If you’re looking for a place where you can get something rare and unusual, make a stopover at the Great Midwest Antique Mall.

This thriving establishment boasts 20,000 square feet of space, with as many as 120 dealers at any time.

While perusing their stalls, you’d find one-of-a-kind items from the past on shelves and tables.

These include antique furniture, old jewelry, rare paintings and sculptures, fancy home decor, intricate glassware, and unique collectibles.

It’s a haven for antique lovers, so if you’re one, make it a top spot in your itinerary!

This place is also the best destination to find a fancy souvenir that will remind you of your Eureka adventures.

Go Fishing at Meramec River

View of the Meramec River waters with an empty boat at the right, and green trees around.
Jeffrey T. Kreulen / Shutterstock.com

The meandering Meramec River is an important water source that irrigates the agricultural lands in the region.

It creates Eureka's eastern and southern borders as well, making it a significant geographical feature.

Because of this, it has become one of the main water recreation destinations for residents and visitors of the city.

Thanks to the river’s relatively pristine condition, swimming on the shallower banks has become a favorite activity.

Scenic view of the still waters on Meramec River on a cloudy day.
Kbh3rd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On Route 66 State Park, there are boat launches for kayaks and other small watercraft, allowing you to explore the sections of the river within the park.

Fishing is also a great option, as there’s a bounty of freshwater species swimming in the depths.

These include various types of bass, Channel catfish, freshwater drum, and golden redhorse.

Daylight view of the Meramec River under the abandoned Route 66 bridge.
Kbh3rd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swim a Few Laps at The Timbers of Eureka

The Timbers of Eureka is one of the more modern attractions in the city, a recreation center that opened only in 2013.

Since then, it has become one of the favorite destinations thanks to its many contemporary facilities.

The 30,000-square-foot center is home to indoor and outdoor attractions, most notably a large pool akin to a water park.

One section is ideal for laps and professional swimming, while another has zero-depth entry ideal for kids.

It also has a lazy river where you can float on for hours and forget about your worries.

There’s also a basketball court where you can shoot a few hoops if you don’t want to get wet yet.

The indoor facilities include a Fitness Center with cardio and strength equipment and a gymnasium open for events.

In addition, you’ll find locker rooms to stash your things and saunas for a relaxing afternoon in the steam.

Marvel at the Lights of Santa's Magical Kingdom

Santa's Magical Kingdom is a marvelous seasonal attraction located near Six Flags St. Louis.

They are only open from November to January, so there’s a small time window for you to see all the wonders.

This place is where you’ll feel the holiday spirit at its peak, with millions of twinkling lights, Christmas-themed structures, and wacky characters.

Aside from these, the attraction holds special activities like Santa meet and greets, caroling, and rides for all ages.

There are also heaps of holiday food and drinks served by local and in-house vendors.

Best of all, they are open during three major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

So if you’re looking for the perfect yuletide destination for the whole family, this is it!

Go Camping at West Tyson County Park

A man riding the bike along the West Tyson Park trail.
Kbh3rd, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the opposite side of Route 66 State Park is West Tyson County Park, a tranquil outdoor attraction for adventurers.

Within an area a little over a square mile, you’ll find features that exhibit the best of the Ozark region.

These include steep bluffs, large swaths of forests, waterfalls, and flood plains with grassy meadows.

There are many trails in the country park, accessible on foot, mountain bike, or horseback.

Via these routes, you’ll reach some of the most beautiful points of the park, including ridges that offer views of the surrounding area.

There are also campsites where you can stay for a few days while exploring the whole attraction.

These can accommodate RVs and traditional tents and are equipped with modern amenities.

Join the Eureka Scarecrow Festival

The arrival of fall is often celebrated in various locations of the US, and Eureka has its own unique twist to the occasion.

The Eureka Scarecrow Festival is a much-anticipated event where the whole community participates.

Everywhere you look—homes, businesses, government institutions—you’ll see scarecrows of all kinds sitting on stairs, next to doors, and on patios.

These scarecrows come in various colors, forms, and materials, so you might see animal versions next to larger-than-life characters.

They are usually accompanied by other fall and farm elements, such as haystacks, pumpkin, and the occasional spooky entity.

By the end of October, there’s usually a raffle for the best selfies with scarecrows filled with exciting prizes.

Everyone is welcome to participate, so take a few photos and hope that you’re lucky stars align during the draw.

Hear the Howls at Endangered Wolf Center

Two Mexican gray wolves inside a cage at Endangered Wolf Center.
Fredlyfish4, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Within the confines of the larger Washington University Tyson Research Center lies the Endangered Wolf Center, a refuge for these large canine predators.

It was established in 1971 by renowned naturalist Marlin Perkins to help endangered wolf species recuperate from their dwindling populations.

Today, the center remains a sanctuary for these apex predators and keystone species.

There are seven species currently in the facility, including the rare Mexican wolf, whose population is almost extinct in the wild.

You’ll also find arctic foxes, maned wolves, and red wolves within separate enclosures.

Most of them are part of active breeding programs and are usually released back in the wild once deemed fit to survive.

Tours are available for those who want to get up close and personal with the majestic animals.

But most people join the evening wolf howl tours, which let you hear the wolves howl as the night comes—a spine-chilling experience.

Bring the Family to Drewel Park

Most of Eureka’s “parks” mentioned are really large wilderness areas with a few modern amenities.

Thankfully, there are places like Drewel Park with a family-friendly atmosphere, modern equipment, and other conveniences.

Because of these factors, the attraction has become the go-to place for those who want a quick escape from busy lives.

The park spans 16 acres, and within it lie sports grounds, trails, and patches of woodland.

It’s also the first park in the city to have ADA-compliant playgrounds, so every kid can come and play.

For those who want to try more sporty activities, you’ll find well-maintained sand volleyball and basketball courts in the park.

Neighboring Legion Park is also accessible via one of the nature trails, so you can visit it for a match or two on its several baseball diamonds.

Conquer the Obstacles at Eureka Mountain Bike Park

Near the Timbers of Eureka is an outdoor attraction created specifically for cyclists, the challenging Eureka Mountain Bike Park.

There are 1.5 miles of progressive trails in the attraction, offering plenty of playtime for off-road bikers.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, as certain sections cater to particular skill levels.

There’s even a trail made for kids!

The more intermediate paths have elevated wooden ramps, tight turns, and dual slalom.

So your balancing, coordination, and endurance will definitely be tested.

Before entering the park, be sure that you’re wearing a helmet, as this is an enforced requirement.

Protective gear is also highly recommended, and be mindful of other riders in the park for everyone’s safety.

Other Things to Do Nearby

After your tour of Eureka, check out these other places that are just a few minutes away!

Pay a Visit to Hidden Valley Ski Resort

A few people skiing the snowy mountains at hidden valley.
Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The mountains of the Ozark region offer plenty of gentle slopes for skiing activities, and it just so happens that one of the premier ski resorts in the region is near Eureka.

After driving 10 minutes north to Wildwood, you’d find the beautiful Hidden Valley Ski Resort.

With 17 trails, two terrain parks, and two peaks, the resort offers plenty of space for skiing and snow tubing.

Snow covered mountain view of Hidden Valley, with cable cars on top.
Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

So bring your thickest coats and have fun sliding down the gentle slopes.

To reach the top of the slopes, choose any of the nine ski lifts located at key locations on the resort.

And for those who don’t know how to ski or want to upgrade their skills, the resort’s Snowsports Academy offers classes open for all levels.

Join one today and learn the basics of various winter-related activities.

People sitting on the round table and chairs below the ski mountain.
Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Butterflies at Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House

Further north is the vibrant city of Chesterfield, filled with outdoor and indoor attractions for the whole family.

One of these is the magnificent Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, a climate-controlled greenhouse and garden filled with colorful species.

You’ll find the winged insects fluttering about between flowers, showing off their hypnotizing colors to an awe-struck crowd.

There are sections for native species and another for tropical ones, so you’d be able to see exotic butterflies from warmer climates.

Don’t miss the facility’s own butterfly movie as well as the other events.

There’s also a gift shop where you can shop colorful memorabilia of your trip to the attraction.

Take a Sightseeing Tour at the National Museum of Transportation

Old trains parked under a shed in national museum of transportation.
David Ackerman from St. Louis, Missouri, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Kirkwood, the expansive National Museum of Transportation is less than 30 minutes away from Eureka.

This private facility gathers, restores, and maintains vehicles that showcase the transportation history of the US for the past 15 decades.

So you’re going to find cars, boats, aircraft, and other artifacts on display.

But the most prominent in these collections are the trains.

The facility has its own railway spur connecting to an active mainline, making it easy for the management to collect locomotives and cars.

In fact, the place has some of the rarest railroad artifacts in the country, such as aerotrains and the strongest-pulling steam locomotive in existence.

A black coloured train called "New York Central".
David Ackerman from St. Louis, Missouri, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Eureka takes recreation to another level, with extreme rollercoaster rides, challenging bike tracks, expansive parks, and so much more.

So whether you’re a thrill-seeker, an adventurer, or a nature lover, there’s something for you here.

Reference this list when making your itinerary so you won’t miss the top spots!