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Park Info, Rules & FAQ

Submitted by stephen on

Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, is considered one of the nation’s greatest urban public parks. The Park’s 1,300 acres feature beautiful landscapes sprinkled with forests, ecosystems, nature reserves, lakes and streams, as well as five of the region’s major cultural institutions and endless opportunities for recreation. Forest Park attracts 15 million visitors each year and in multiple years has been voted #1 City Park in the country in USA Today's 10Best poll.

Who owns, operates and takes care of Forest Park?
Forest Park is owned and operated by the City of St. Louis. Forest Park Forever partners with the City of St. Louis to provide landscaping, maintenance, operations, education, visitor services and capital project management for Forest Park. This public-private partnership is now a national model.

Does Forest Park have closing hours? 
Yes. The Park is closed from 10:00 p.m.-6:00 a.m.

Is the Park patrolled by security?
Yes. The Park is patrolled by the St. Louis Police Department and by Park Rangers.

Who do I contact about gaining a permit for an event?
This is the best page to start with. In general, for Forest Park permits, including weddings, picnic pavilions, Jewel Box, World's Fair Pavilion and Cabanne House rentals, athletic field reservations and special events, you'll want to call the Parks Department at 314.289.5300.

Is there a Lost & Found?
Items are occasionally returned to the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center (5595 Grand Drive). Please call us at 314.367.7275.

Can I bring my pet? 
Yes. Per City Ordinance, pets are required to be on leashes.

Is fishing allowed in Forest Park?
Fishing is permitted in the lakes and lagoons in Forest Park, except where restrictions are posted. A valid Missouri fishing license is required. Jefferson Lake is the only lake stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Fishing is not permitted in the Fish Hatchery, except through programs administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Fishing is also not permitted in Post-Dispatch Lake.

Are walkers and runners allowed to be on the asphalt path often used by cyclists?
Yes. Forest Park's popular dual path around the Park has both asphalt and gravel surfaces. While the former is more often home to cyclists and the latter is more often home to runners/walkers, visitors are free to use either. Within the Park, the mutli-use asphalt connector paths also welcome multiple uses. All Forest Park path users are encouraged to be respectful and responsible as they share the path they're using. As a pedestrian, please be aware that cyclists, rollerbladers and runners may pass on your left – walking single file will help make room for everyone.

Are there bike rentals?
Yes, Big Muddy Adventures at the Boathouse rents bicycles, as well as water craft for use on Post-Dispatch Lake.

Are electric and motorized scooters allowed on the trails? 
No, electric and motorized scooters are not permitted on Forest Park's trails and paths. The scooters are allowed in the streets only.

Can I fly a drone in Forest Park? 
If you would like to fly a drone in Forest Park, you will need to submit an application for a City of St. Louis Board of Public Service Permit to BPS Secretary Cherise Jones, Room 305, City Hall. With your application, you will need to submit a copy of your pilot's license, drone specs and a certificate of insurance for $1,000,000. Please contact the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry at 314.289.5300 with additional questions.

Can I bring my own boat or kayak?
No, Park visitors are not allowed to bring their own boats, kayaks, paddleboards, etc. into or on any park waterways or lakes.

Is swimming allowed?
No, swimming is not allowed anywhere in Forest Park, however wading/playing in the water at the Anne O'C. Albrecht Nature Playscape is part of this feature's design.

Is ice-skating allowed on frozen bodies of water in the Park?
No, this is not allowed. We suggest paying a visit to Steinberg Skating Rink during their open season (mid-November through March 1).

How about sledding?
Winter sledding is permitted (and greatly enjoyed) on Art Hill, unless restrictions are posted.

Are there designated parking areas for buses with proper permits?
Yes, there are four. You can view a map of them here.

Can I hang a hammock in Forest Park? 
Per the City of St. Louis' Tree Ordinance, visitors are prohibited from using trees to hang hammocks. Visitors may use freestanding hammocks or else use the hammock garden, with posts to hang hammocks, along the north shore of Post-Dispatch Lake near the Boathouse.

Looking for a downloadable PDF map?
Here you go!

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