Top Things to See and Do at the Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden has been attracting visitors for more than 150 years. It's a great place to learn about green living, get ideas for your own garden, or just enjoy the beauty of nature for a few hours.

The Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard in South St. Louis. It's open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $12 for adults and $6 for residents of St. Louis City and County. Children 12 and younger get in free. City and County residents also get in free on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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    Japanese Garden at Missouri Botanical Garden
    ••• Josh Nezam, courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

    You might not expect to find an authentic Japanese garden in the Midwest, but that's just what you'll see at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Designers took care to make sure the 14-acre Japanese Garden contains traditional elements like a large lake, foot bridges and lanterns. Visitors can also learn about Japanese culture at the Garden's annual Japanese Festival, held each Labor Day weekend. The festival features sumo wrestling demonstrations, tea ceremonies, traditional music and more.

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    Tower Grove House at Missouri Botanical Garden
    ••• Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

    Tower Grove House was Garden founder Henry Shaw's country home. You can tour the house and see what life was like in the mid 19th century for Shaw and other wealthy St. Louisans. Tower Grove House is filled with period furnishings and has undergone several restorations. Tower Grove House is open daily Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from April through December.

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    Garden in the Victorian District at Missouri Botanical Garden
    ••• Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

    Surrounding Tower Grove House is the Victorian District. This section of the Garden has brick paths that lead to a variety of Victorian-style gardens with elaborate and colorful combinations of flowers and plants. The white statue of the goddess Juno belonged to Henry Shaw himself in 1885. The Victorian District is also known for its maze made of yew hedges and its pincushion garden with 20 circular beds of succulent plants. 

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    Tropical plants inside the Climatron at Missouri Botanical Garden
    ••• Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

    The Climatron is a large dome-shaped greenhouse filled with thousands of tropical plants. Take a walk through the Climatron to see orchids, palms, and other exotic plants. During the day, the temperature inside is usually above 80 degrees with high humidity, so you may want to dress accordingly. After making your way through the Climatron, visit the nearby Shoenberg Temperate House to see more warm weather plants, including olives, figs , and wildflowers.

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    Children's Garden

    Children's Garden at Missouri Botanical Garden
    ••• Laila Wessel, courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

    The Children's Garden is a beautiful thing for parents. It's a large area filled with a tree house, slides, rope bridges, an outdoor classroom, a frontier fort, caves and more. There's also a splash area where kids can cool off on hot days. The Children's Garden is a great place for kids to burn some energy, but parents will also be busy trying to keep up. The Children's Garden is open daily from April to October, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for children ages three to 12. Parents, and children two and younger, get in free. St. Louis City and County residents also get in free on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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    Inside the Linnean House at Missouri Botanical Garden
    ••• Deborah O'Brien

    The Linnean House was built in 1882 and is the oldest operating public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River. It was originally used to house citrus trees, palms, and other tropical plants during the winter months. Today, the Linnean House is filled with a variety of cacti, camellia trees and citrus plants from all around the world.

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    Terence Blanchard at the Whitaker Music Festival at Missouri Botanical Garden
    ••• Molly Krohe, courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

    The Missouri Botanical Garden is nice to visit any day, but also consider going during one of the Garden's special events. Some of the most popular events are: Chinese Culture Days in May, the Whitaker Music Festival in summer, the Japanese Festival over Labor Day weekend, the Best of Missouri Market in October, and the holiday train show in November and December. Keep in mind, you do have to pay an extra admission fee for these events.

    After your visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, check out some of St. Louis' other top attractions like the St. Louis Zoo, Science Center, and Citygarden.