Lafayette Park - The Old Person Park In East St. Louis

4 stars Review Philosophy

Lafayette Park Takeaway. The "Old Person Park". Great park for adults, not so much three-year-olds to ten-year-olds. One of the oldest parks west of the Mississippi, dedicated in 1851. Playground is not Playground Complete. Features unique 20-30ft climbing net. Fantastic walking paths around the park reminiscent of Tower Grove Park. Highlights include a central pond, a walking bridge, and historical pavilions and buildings. Parking is easy around the perimeter at a 45-degree angle. Bathrooms were closed when we were there in early November. Note: The playground looked to be going under renovations soon, so could be better soon.


Table Of Contents: Experience | Playground | Amenities | Receipt


Lafayette Park climbing net

Details

  • 2023 Lafayette Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104
  • (314) 289-5300
  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Yelp - 4.8 stars - 53 ratings
  • TripAdvisor - 4.5 stars - 110 ratings
  • Google Maps - 4.7 stars - 1,400 ratings

Hours

DayHours
Monday6 AM–10 PM
Tuesday6 AM–10 PM
Wednesday6 AM–10 PM
Thursday6 AM–10 PM
Friday6 AM–10 PM
Saturday6 AM–10 PM
Sunday6 AM–10 PM

Map


Lafayette Park Experience Summary

Lafayette Park is a small park near Tower Grove on the east side of St. Louis.

It is a park better suited for adults than kids, with excellent walking paths, historic buildings and pavilions, and a beautiful central pond.

To be clear, I think Lafayette Park is a fantastic park for adults and highly recommend it as such, but as a more kids-focused blog, the review might come off sounding a bit negative.

Lafayette Park entrance

The playground looked to be prepping for renovation while we were there, but it currently needs more overall equipment to keep my son engaged. My three-year-old got bored in about twenty to thirty minutes, so it is not Playground Complete.

The playground highlight is a unique 20-30ft climbing net. My older seven-year-old would have appreciated that a bit, but once you went up once or twice, it would lose its luster. I did enjoy the view from the top.

Lafayette Park plaground

While the park had limited playground and kid activity, the adult amenities were top-notch, especially for a neighborhood park like this. With an intricate tapestry of interwoven walking paths, a couple of adults could spend several hours here walking, sitting, and enjoying each other's company.

I could see myself coming here when my kids can babysit themselves to spend a morning watching the geese in the pond and reading a book. It's the kind of park my dad would ride his bike to read his latest American Revolution history book while drinking a coffee on a weekend before heading back home to listen to a podcast and watch sports.

Lafayette Park geese

And I'm guessing that's how residents of the surrounding Lafayette Square utilize the park. In my mind, Lafayette Park encapsulates historical St. Louis neighborhood parks perfectly.

Lafayette Park gazebo

Lafayette Park Playground Breakdown

The playground had two three main apparatuses:

There were additional small perks for kids around the park, like a frog statue, old cannons, feeding geese, and crossing a walking bridge into the Grotto. But those are all spread out and part of a walk more than a localized kids' area.

Lafayette Park little kids

Main Playground

The main playground lacked a central, cool slide and, instead, focused more on climbing between two towers. It must be somewhat dated, as caution tape surrounds the playground. I'm guessing the town will improve the playground soon, but as currently constructed, it was not Playground Complete. My three-year-old got bored after doing a couple of laps up and down the short slide. The time to slide was fast, but the reset value was low.

Compare that to the Rocketship Park where the time to slide is relatively high, but the reset value is also high - the climb up is long, but different every time and the slide down is much more fun.

Lafayette Park climbing

The playground would also have benefited from more potential entrances into the towers. The lack of ways up limited the fun between slide resets. My seven-year-old wasn't with us, so using myself as the stand-in for him, he probably could have milked the playset for several more minutes than my younger guy.

The other issue for my three-year-old was that he wasn't old enough for the coolest feature of the playground - the 20-30ft high climbing net. I made the climb up two times, and it had a great view from the top, but after two climbs, it kind of lost its luster, so the reset value there was low, too.

So good for twenty to thirty minutes, but not the hour needed to be worth the fifteen minute drive. The park satisfies the requirements for a nice, local playground, though.

Other Apparati

Lafayette Park cannons

The other apparatus was a kids' playground with a small slide and some things to climb on. Pretty standard little guy with a couple of ways up to a short slide.

There were also some random, individual slides scattered about the playground area.

Right outside the dedicated playground area is a small frog statue for all the kids to climb on. The goofy guy is worth a head pat. Plus, you'll find fun things like old cannons and a fountain to climb around the park.

Lafayette Park frog

Lafayette Park Amenities And Miscellaneous

Lafayette Park excels in the walking around category. The number of big and little things to see all around the park reminded me of a compact version of Tower Grove Park. From old pavilions (A St. Louis staple) to the large central pond, the various paths would offer hundreds of different experiences.

Lafayette Park bridge Lafayette Park statue

Lafayette Park is the kind of park I'll come to when the kids are in college to spend a Saturday morning drinking coffee and taking a stroll. In particular, I enjoyed walking over the bridge to the Grotto and walking the perimeter while taking in the Lafayette Square architecture. I could also picture myself planted on a bench by the pond reading a book for an extended period of time before grabbing Union Loafers or Blues City for lunch, both within a five-minute drive.

I'm an 80-year-old man stuck in a 36-year-old body.

Lafayette Park pond Lafayette Park signage

On the bathroom front, the town had locked the bathroom by the playground when we were there in November.

Lafayette Park bathrooms

Parking At Lafayette Park

Parking was easy around the perimeter of the park. We came on a Saturday around 10 am, and infinite parking was available.

Lafayette Park parking

Lafayette Park Receipt

Lafayette Park receipt

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