Missouri Botanical GardenMissouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in operation (founded in 1859) and is a registered National Historic Landmark because it’s so old! This only makes it more appealing for many as they see old traditions paired with innovative new design; tried and true pastimes partnered with edgy exhibits and modern attractions. The Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) has all of this and more. For over 150 years, the Garden has been an oasis of the city, a place of beauty and family fun—and a hub for education, science, and conservation, too.

There’s some legendary sights at this old site… from the shops to the cafe, the gardens and orchid center to the sustainability programs and rare exhibits, there’s definitely something for all to enjoy here, even little tykes! Time has tested most of them, thus, they’ve evolved and grown as such. Within the walls of its 79 acres, magnificent gardens and unusual collections of botanical, horticultural, and historical materials reside with architecturally significant buildings and inspirational fountains and statuary. Locally nicknamed “Shaw’s Garden” after its founder, his estate became the garden’s main stomping ground after he willed it as such before he passed. MBG is now a world-class botanical garden and research facility.

The grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden feature gardens, modern and traditional, and living collections of major groups of ornamental and practical plants. Greenhouses and conservatories display plants native to lands far removed from St. Louis.

So be sure to take a peek and plan to spend at least a whole afternoon here. We’ve set up a neat to-do list of sorts for ya’…. And here it is, the list of all lists, the Eight Great Visitor Favorites at MBG! Use the list as an adjunct to any other packets of info you might receive while perusing at MBG, or use it as the ultimate guide to the best attractions there! Whatever you do, be sure you don’t miss these fun exhibits, gardens, shows and attractions.

1. Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden is named “Seiwa-en,” which translated, literally means “the garden of pure, clear harmony and peace.” Designed with great care by the by a Japanese professor to ensure authenticity, the 14-acre garden is the largest Japanese strolling garden in the Western hemisphere. A four-acre lake is complemented with waterfalls, streams, water-filled basins, and stone lanterns. Dry gravel gardens are raked into beautiful, rippling patterns. There are also four islands ascending from the lake to form symbolic images. Several Japanese bridges link the shorelines and there are giant Koi f or children to feed. Visitors love the Cherry Blossoms, Azaleas, Chrysanthemums, Peonies, Lotus, & other plants and flowers in the Japanese Garden.

2. Climatron Conservatory

The ever-changing and impressive Climatron is a true stunner. Climatron? Conservatory has become a symbol of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The “geodesic dome” covers over a half-acre, and houses over 1,400 species of plants in its natural, tropical setting. Visitors enjoy bananas, cacao, & coffee trees, plus a collection of orchids and epiphytes. The Climatron? is also home to a variety of animals, including tropical birds. Several pools and waterfalls give a sense of abundance, as if visitors were actually in a tropical rainforest.

3. Bakewell Ottoman Garden

The Bakewell Ottoman Garden, which opened in summer 2006, allows visitors to see a profusion of flowers including classic Turkish tulips, drifts of bulbs, exotic citrus, aromatic herbs, pomegranate, and various perennials. It’s set within a private courtyard fit for a Sultan; the plants represent what would have been grown in the 16th through 19th centuries in what is now Turkey! St. Louis and Istanbul lie roughly at the same 40-degree latitude. Located in the secluded northeast corner of the Garden, beyond the Linnean House, the Ottoman Garden strives to preserve the authenticity of that period. Visitors find a stone pedestal fountain, which invites them to rinse their hands.

4. Tower Grove House

Experience the Garden’s roots at Tower Grove House. Step back in time to witness the country home of founder Henry Shaw. Visitors can see artifacts like furniture and more that belonged to Mr. Shaw, or explore timelines to read how Tower Grove House was used after 1889. After 100 years of use as a private home, school, dormitory, and office building, the house underwent renovation. Furniture and materials once belonging to Shaw were located and returned. Tower Grove House was rededicated in 2005 after another period of extensive restoration. The house has been restored to reflect Shaw’s original country home. Come see where it all began!

5. Linnean House

Linnean House is the oldest continuously operating greenhouse in the US and holds MBG’s Camellia collection. Since Camellias are fall bloomers, the House is popular in the fall and winter seasons. This is also because Camellias reach their height of bloom in mid- to late February, and continue blooming through March until mid-April. Linnean House was named for Carl Linnaeus, the father of plant classification.

6. Sassafras

This rare Certified Green Restaurant TM serves up delicious organic, natural meals for members and visitors. It’s a popular catering choice as well! The Garden’s restaurant Sassafras became the first Certified Green Restaurant TM in the state of Missouri in 2008.

7. Therapeutic Horticulture Programs

For adults and seniors, the therapeutic programs offer healing for mental, physical and emotional health. Programs are designed to provide creative and stimulating activities to enrich the physical, mental and social lives of participants. The mission is to enrich the lives of senior citizens and special needs populations, particularly those with limited resources and limited abilities, by sharing knowledge about and interacting with the diversity of life in our natural world.

8. The Center for Biodiversity Informatics

Bookworms and dilettantes alike refer to this hub of information, and center for how-to’s, educational books and even programs for all proficiencies, novice to pro. The Center, in its mission, seeks to provide innovative technology solutions to the global community of life science scholars in order to mobilize, integrate, and repatriate data about the world’s biodiversity. Filled to the brim with useful information, tips and tricks and over 3,000 rare and unusual plant volumes, the Center also has several of its own projects, including the revolutionary Encyclopedia of Life and the Tropicos.

Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 577-5100

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