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Missouri Botanical Garden
Ranked #2 of 263 things to do in Saint Louis
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis was founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw. Today, the Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science, conservation, education and horticultural display - widely considered one of the top three botanical gardens in the world. It features 79 acres of horticultural displays, including indoor conservatories and demonstration, formal and international gardens.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed July 27, 2011

As a kid growing up in California, I knew about the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Gardens because it was featured in the Life Nature book on Plants. I was not dissapointed when I got to finally go there as a teenager in 1977. I got to go again in 1978.

That was the last time until a couple of weeks ago. My wife thought it was rather odd that I should be making so much over visiting a botanical garden, since I haven't made much of an effort to visit the by-all-accounts excellent gardens and arboretums near where we live in Texas. As we were drivng there, I mentioned that the Missouri Botanical Gardens (opened to the public in 1859!) is one of the leading centers for conservation research and funding in the US, ranking with the Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History, The Zoological Society of San Diego, the Wildlife Conservation Society (which runs the Bronx Zoo), the California Academy of Sciences, the Field Museum, Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley in these endeavours. Vital research in Botany, Ecology, and other natural sciences has been conducted there, and around the world on its behalf, for many years.

When I visited in the 1970's, the rather modest entrance was near the Famous Climatron (opened in 1960). Now there is a huge new entrance in a different place. As we approached it I told my wife I guessed we'd pay about $15 each as admission. I was dumbfounded to find it was $8 per adult!

The Climatron was remodeled in 1990. It remains one of the great enclosed environments in the US. Being in a botanical garden, there are not many animals in it. Of the several sorts of birds, I saw a Silver-billed Tanager. The old aqua-tunnel, which apparently worked better in theory than in practice, and which in my 1970's visits featured primarily guppies and algea-eaters, was replaced, in 1990, with a large aquarium at the end of a path, with Leporinus, Severums, Chalceus, and Plecostomus.

I think everyone will experience their own special adventure with the Climatron's plants. For me it was standing in the midst of dozens of other-worldly flowers of a Pendulim Hibiscus, which reminded me of a set from "Avatar", discovering a Jaboticaba tree, with its bizarre marble-like fruit growing directly out of its trunk, a wonderful assortment of giant Ginger flowers, aireal Pitcherplants that my wife pointed out to me, and coming across a miniature rice paddy.

Attached to the Climatron is a interpretative center filled with hands-on activities for both children and grownups, enhancing one's knowldege and appreciation of our wolrd's living things. Various small animals are exhibited here, including South American and Central American Poison Arrow Frogs (in separate displays), Day Geckos, and Freshwater Puffers in a miature mangrove swamp.

It was a rather warm day, so we did not venture into the enormous Japanese Garden, ad some of the other outdoor exhibits, but we thorougly enjoyed the outdoor displays of tropical water lillies (with the fantastic giant Victoria Regia lilly), Day Lillies, Mallows, and many native woodland plants. There is also a wonderfully informative gardening center, with folks continuously at hand to answere questions. It was amusing to see a series of small square plots, each featuring a different sort of lawn. There were also appropriate plants for the windows at each exposurre of a house.

The entrance complex features a Chihully glass sculpture (with more scattered around the gardens), an enormous shop that one could easily spend an hour in, a gallery of Boehm Porcelin birds (which I think used to be exhibited at the St. Louis Zoo), and a delightful restaraunt called "Sasafras". My wife had the "Ottoman Salad" with tabouli and hummous, and I had a "English Country Garden" salad, with cooked crimini mushrooms, bacon, walnuts, some very good cheese, and a maple dressing - unlike any salad I'd had before. That was definitely a pleasent conclusion to a wonderful visit.

Visited July 2011
Thank Zoogoer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Topeka, Kansas, USA
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Worth seeing no matter the weather”
Reviewed July 26, 2011

We knew we wanted to see the Botanical Garden even though the weather in the Midwest had been extremely hot during the time of our trip. Upon arrival, we decided to pay for a tram ride around the park to see and hear about everything so we could then revisit areas that interested us both. (Worth the extra $4 on a hot day.) After the ride, we then walked out to the Japanese Garden, at the far edge of the BG, and meandered our way back to the front gate. The walk was very worth it despite the heat and we would absolutely visit the Botanical Garden again -- in fact we may visit St. Louis again just to see the Garden. It is gorgeous.

Visited July 2011
1 Thank KLMH51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Deservedly the pride of St. Louis”
Reviewed July 20, 2011

Still known locally as Shaw's garden, and clearly dear to the heart of most St. Louis -dwellers, this is the best botanical garden I've visited. it combines densely planted historical gardens with modern designs and art, with very high horticultural standards and something to interest everyone. Needs at least two visits to see everything.

The 100 or so acres is divided into many smaller gardens. I particularly enjoyed the (relatively new) and very well done Ottoman garden, complete with throne, fountain, roses and the oassional hint of Turkish music. Henry Shaw's house is well wortha gisit, with victorian plantings, as are the Chinese and Japanese gardens, English garden and extensive areas of woodland. Nearer the entrance are lots of demonstration gardens (including medicinal plants in the sacred seeds area), and a huge children's garden that I didn't explore but sounds good.

It was a hot day - enough to make the Climatron, which still looks innovative after 40 years, feel cool inside. Marvellously windy paths.

The two larger cafes are comfortable and there is a well stocked-shop. Don't be put off by the acres of car-parks at the entrance - look terrible - this garden is a very good day out. Entrance is reasonable ($8). I took the 14 bus, changing at the West Central bus/metro station.

Visited July 2011
2 Thank bolbec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“lacking interest for kids ... kinda boring”
Reviewed July 16, 2011

Can't believe they charge the prices they do to look at a bunch of flowers! They are pretty, but just walking the zoo or Arch area is much better.

Visited June 2011
Thank MisterBaragainhunter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Peoria
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Absolutely beautiful!!”
Reviewed July 13, 2011

This was my second time here. The first time was in April/May. No matter when you go, there is always something to look at. It was incredibly hot and humid, but we were able to go in A/C buildings to cool off. The grounds are kept up wonderfully! We saw many workers tending to the gardens. It is very peaceful and so gorgeous!

Visited July 2011
Thank Yippiehoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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