Guide to Earth Day in St. Louis: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Celebrated on April 22 each year, Earth Day is a global holiday honoring ecological conservation efforts around the world. On a local level, Earth Day offers a chance for visitors and residents alike to learn about the local environment and ways to protect it from man-made harm.

If you're visiting St. Louis, Missouri, in late April, there are a number of great ways to immerse yourself in nature or even join the effort to preserve the area's lush wildlife. In fact, the annual Earth Day Festival is one of St. Louis' top April events, and Earth Day is often the start of a number of free spring events and activities in St. Louis.

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Spring Fling at the Butterfly House

Operated by the Missouri Botanical Gardens and located in Faust Park, the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House is home to dozens of species of butterfly and hosts a variety of signature events throughout the year. However, the Spring Fling event—which takes place on weekends in April—is one of the house's biggest events.

During Spring Fling, visitors can learn about the important role insects play in helping gardens grow. Each week will highlight a different insect through crafts, games, and other family-friendly activities. Additionally, a variety of plants will be available for purchase during the Pollinator Plant Sale.

The Spring Fling event and Pollinator Plant Sales take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout April and May.

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Spring Wildflower Walk at Shaw Nature Reserve

Silver-spotted Skipper Shaw Nature Reserve
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren/Flickr/CC by 2.0

On Tuesdays in April, take a hike through beautiful Shaw Nature Reserve and learn all about the wildflowers and native grasses that grow there during the annual Spring Wildflower Walk. This ecology class caters to both beginners and serious herbologists and leads visitors through the colorful hillside flower patches.

Hikers are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch as the hike typically lasts a little over two hours. In 2019, hikes will take place on Tuesdays, April 16, 23, and 30, and will start at 9:30 a.m. and end at noon. The cost is $9 for the general public and $7 for members, and reservations are required to attend.

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St. Charles County Electronics Recycling Events

Electronic Recycling
Johner Royalty-Free/Getty Images

Residents in St. Charles County can celebrate Earth Day by recycling old electronics. Each year on the Saturday before Earth Day, the Midwest Recycling Center hosts an electronics recycling event to encourage residents to recycle electronic waste rather than throwing it in the landfills.

Two collection locations in the St. Louis area will host events on April 20, 2019: Recycle Works Central at 60 Triad South Drive in St. Charles and Recycle Works West at 2110 East Pitman Avenue in Wentzville. Most items will be taken at no cost, but there is a fee for appliances ($15 and up), computers ($10), and televisions ($10 to $25).

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Earth Day Festival

The annual festival in Forest Park is the largest Earth Day celebration in the area and include two full days of local music, live performances, workshops, and great food.

During the event, dozens of restaurants serve up a variety of dishes including organic, locally-grown, vegetarian, and vegan items. There's also a children's area, a rock climbing wall, and yoga classes throughout the day.  Admission to the festival is free and will take place at the Muny Grounds in Forest Park on the Saturday and Sunday before Earth Day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Party for the Planet

St. Louis Zoo
Aaron Carlson/Flickr/CC 2.

The St. Louis Zoo is celebrating Earth Day with a Party for the Planet where kids can learn how to be a superhero for the planet at Earth Day stations set up around the Zoo. There will also be special keeper chats throughout the day and live music from the Bottoms Up Blues Gang at the Schnuck Family Arena.

During this special event, which takes place on Earth Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., admission to the zoo is free. However, as a result, you should expect longer lines and bigger crowds at most attractions, exhibits, and activities throughout the day.

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Annual Arbor Day Celebration

Although National Arbor Day is specifically a United States holiday dedicated to planting trees and takes place later in April than Earth Day, it's a good opportunity to give back to the local environment during your trip.

Each year for Arbor Day, Godfrey, Illinois, celebrates the environment with tree planting and a festival in Glazebrook Park. The day begins with a youth fishing derby, and there is also face painting, environmental crafts, bounce houses, a climbing wall, and kids' activities to enjoy all day long.

The Arbor Day Celebration takes place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27, 2019. Admission is free and the first 300 guests will receive a redbud tree seedling to plant at home. Note: The trees planted in the park are managed by the Parks and Recreation Department and guests are not allowed to plant their own seeds in the park).

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Riverbend Earth Day Festival

The Nature Institute is hosting its annual Riverbend Earth Day Festival at the Old Bakery Beer Company in Alton, Illinois, on Saturday, April 20, 2019, from noon to 6 p.m. 

The festival includes live music, locally-sourced foods, crafting workshops, and demonstrations by the Treehouse Wildlife Center. There are also organized hikes and paddling excursions from the beer company. In addition, vendors will be sharing information about recycling and conservation.

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Tulip Trot

The Missouri Botanical Garden is hosting a Tulip Trot through its colorful grounds. However, this 5K race has no timer or winners; instead, it's all about fun and enjoying the beauty of the Garden's blooming flowers.

The cost to participate is $40 for the general public and $30 for members, and registration is required to participate. Money raised goes to the Children's Garden.

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