With endless days and long, sultry nights, a St. Louis summer boasts a staggering number of activities. We've chosen some of the ones we think you really ought to try.Have A Ball
Now, here's a news flash for you: Baseball is not the only game in town. While the St. Louis Aces' season may be shorter, the World TeamTennis Pro League team packs a lot of star power into seven home matches throughout July. Lindsay Davenport is the Aces', well, No. 1 ace this year, and she'll play alongside and/or against other greats, including Anna Kournikova (Saturday, July 17) and Venus Williams (Saturday, July 10) in Forest Park's Dwight Davis Tennis Center (5620 Grand Drive). Tickets cost $15 to $50; visit www.stlouisaces.com for details about ticket sales and theme nights.
The Saint Louis Athletica, one of the founding franchises of the Women's Professional Soccer league, also has a full summer planned with matches stretching into September. With only a handful of home games each month — played at Anheuser-Busch Conference & Sports Center (1 Soccer Park Road, Fenton) — be sure to check the Athletica schedule at www.stlouisathletica.com and plan a time to catch these soccer luminaries in action. Tickets run $12 to $60.Just Eat It
One trip is planned each month from May through September, including visits to Brightflower Nursery up north in Stockton, Illinois (Friday, August 13), and Mulberry Hill Farm in Carbondale (Friday, June 18). Lunch is included in your $20 tour price, and reservations should be made at least one week in advance by calling 217-241-4644 or visiting http://web.extension.illinois.edu/smallfarm.
Of course, actually enjoying the farm-fresh eats should remain a focal point. Might we recommend a picnic? Nothing enhances a vine-ripened, fresh-picked tomato like a warm summer evening spent outside at a spot like Lone Elk Park (1 Lone Elk Park Road, Valley Park; www.co.st-louis.mo.us/parks/loneelk.html), where there are picnic tables, barbecue pits and several elk (not just a lone elk) to take a gander at after dinner.Get Your Act Together
Now, if some of that childlike wonder you feel after spending time at the one-ring show isn't overwhelmed by your very reasonable adultlike fear of danger (perceived or otherwise), perhaps you will be inspired to try out the trapeze arts yourself. Bumbershoot Aerial Arts Studio (2200 Gravois Avenue; 314-898-3259 or www.thebumbershoot.com) is happy to help. Every Saturday from 4 to 5 p.m., newbies can swing around — for free! — during the Try It Out Trapeze! class (no experience necessary; drop-ins are welcome).
And as if that weren't enough high-flying fun, the Caveman Zipline has opened at everyone's favorite James Gang hideout, Meramec Caverns (exit 230, off I-44 west of St. Louis, Stanton; 573-468-3166 or www.americascave.com). This 80-minute adventure course ($39 to $49) features three rope bridges, four zips — over the river, through the trees! — and plenty of opportunities to catch great views and other high-up thrills. The zipline attraction operates daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday, October 31; reservations are recommended.Fairs to Remember
Plus, there are smaller municipality fairs — enjoy rides, crafts and games at Ballwin Days from Friday, June 25, through Sunday, June 27 (www.ballwin.mo.us) — and mondo events, such as the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia (www.mostatefair.com). This last one is the big dog of summer fairs, with livestock and human competitions, concerts, motocross events, comedy acts and so much more, all packed into eleven days in August (Thursday, August 12, through Sunday, August 22). General admission is $2 to $8; additional charges apply for certain happenings within the fair.By Land, Air And River
If you'd rather check out the metropolis' skyline from above, helicopter tours also depart from the riverfront by the Gateway Arch. Flying high costs $35 to $150, and you can lift off any day of the week from 11 a.m. to sunset. Check out www.gatewayhelicoptertours.com to see the various touring options.
Then, for the land lovers, Gateway International Raceway (700 Raceway Boulevard, Madison, Illinois; 866-357-7333 or www.gatewayraceway.com) has a full summer schedule, with drag races throughout the season and a NASCAR double-header weekend happening Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17 (regular admission costs $20 to $65), featuring all manner of high-speed entertainment and roaring engines — BYO earplugs.
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