Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, located outside of St. Louis, Missouri is one of the city's most visited state parks. The park serves as an escape to the people living in the surrounding suburban area. The shaded, green facility is lush and mixes nature and city in a manner that the two seem to coexist almost seamlessly.
The park, originally named in memory of Edmund Babler, continues to honor the Babler family years after the family worked tirelessly to build and support the efforts of the state park system. Today, a bronze statue of Edmund is one of the park's highlights. The life-size statue, dedicated by Jacob Babler, Edmund’s brother, was originally erected to honor Edmund who was known for giving his life to service and helping the less fortunate.
The park, as it continues to grow and flourish, keeps giving back to the community. The park supports recreation and helps to educate people about the land and the history of Missouri. In addition to the recreational, camping, and educational facilities, the park has a resident camp for people with special needs. The outdoor education facility is a barrier-free facility that supports people who have physical, dietary, and emotional requirements. The facility validates the original concept of giving back to the community, and the park continues to flourish and bring in visitors who want to experience fun and recreation in a beautiful location.
Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park sits south of the Missouri River on the west side of St. Louis. The park, located in Wildwood, is 30 miles west of St. Louis via Interstate 64 West. From Kansas City, the park is 228 miles east from Interstate 70.
Campers need to be aware of the park’s hours and arrive before closing. The hours of operation change between the peak season and the off-season. The park gates lock at closing, so campers should enter before closing to ensure entrance to their campsite.
The campground is a year-round, pet-friendly facility. During the winter, the facilities that use water are closed for winterization. Guests who need potable water can use the frost-free spigot during the winter season. Reservations are suggested, especially during peak camping times. On the day of the stay, unreserved sites may be offered on a first-come, first serve basis. For weekend stays, there is a two-night minimum stay required.
Campers can choose from either basic camping sites or electric-only camping sites. Basic spaces have a parking pad, table, grill, and lantern post. Electric sites offer a parking pad, table, grill, lantern post, and 20/30 amp electrical connections. This campground has a select number of premium sites, and these sites are the same as the electric sites, but there are upgraded 50 amp electricity spaces available. The campground offers modern restrooms, shower houses, vault toilets, water faucets, dumpsters, and a dump station. Please observe quiet hours and silence your generators between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.
The Visitor Center is a seasonally operating facility that offers visitors much more than a place to pick up park information. While the facility does offer books, maps, brochures, and souvenirs, it also has large displays and interactive exhibits for guests to learn about the history and the animal and plant life of the Ozarks. A viewing area gives guests opportunities to use binoculars to search for birds and other wildlife. If you want to learn more about the history of the park, ask when the 15-minute slide presentation takes place. Stop by the Visitor Center and chat with a park ranger, and you too can become an expert on the Babler Memorial State Park.
The park has a well-marked, multi-use trail system. Bikers, hikers, and equestrians can find a path suitable for both the activity as well as the level of challenge. The trails are color blazed, so navigating the trail system isn't difficult. The park has information on the trails for guests, or if you prefer a detailed description of the terrain, length, difficulty, altitude, and GPS locations of each path, visit the park’s website and choose the interactive map to see what kind of trail will meet the needs of everyone in your party.
Because the plant and wildlife are so diverse at Babler Memorial State Park, the park has a variety of plant and wildlife checklists that nature lovers can pick up upon their arrival. Aside from birdwatching, guests can search for a host of vertebrates and invertebrates. While you are looking for animals, why not see if you can locate some of the wildflowers, woody plants, vascular plants, and other plant types that are both native or transplanted to the area. If you are a planner and want to research ahead of time, you can download the checklists before your arrival and become familiar with the items you will search for out on your nature and animal quest.
During the summer months on most weekends, the park hosts interpretive programs at the campground amphitheater. The programs are created to inform and entertain guests of all ages. In addition to the special weekend presentations, the park also hosts several special annual events built around nature and the species of the area. The Visitor Center has an up-to-date list on the events taking place inside of the park, so guests are encouraged to stop by and see what is happening during their stay. If you prefer to explore on your own as a way of learning about Missouri State Parks and historic Sites, the Visitor Center also has a self-guided explorer program. For information on either program talk to a member of the park staff.
Babler Memorial State Park is known for its diverse bird population. The park keeps an extensive birdwatching checklist so avid birders will have a comprehensive list of the birds sighted within the park’s boundaries. Bring your bird watching supplies, and either print your checklist before you arrive or stop by the park office and get a copy of the bird list before you head into the heavily bird populated areas. A few of the birds seen in the area are owls, waterfowl, loons, hummingbirds, bald eagles, heron, and starlings.
Missouri State Parks want guests to get outside and enjoy the beautiful wooded scenery. Because the parks encourage outdoor activities, many of the facilities have more than one area for recreation. The Babler Memorial State Park has more than 200 picnic sites and three large picnic shelters for guests to use. Some of the picnic areas are day use areas, and others can be rented ahead of time for larger group activities. Many of the picnic areas are close to either restrooms, water, and play areas such as a playground or a multi-purpose court for tennis, basketball, and other sports. Many of the picnic areas have grills and fire pits. For information on reserving a shelter, visit the park’s website or stop by the Visitor Center upon your arrival.