The Missouri Botanical Garden is a place where one can truly engage all of the five senses. With breathtaking scenery, botanical perfumes filling the air, and the sounds of wildlife going about their business, one could almost forget that they’re actually in the middle of a bustling metropolis. This urban oasis was founded in 1859 and is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the country.
Originally the property of Henry Shaw, the garden is home to historical buildings, 79 acres of perfectly maintained gardens, an interactive playground called the Children’s Garden, a geodesic dome called the Climatron, research centers and classrooms, a restaurant, an amphitheater, and many more attractions. Not to mention the variety of festivals and special occasions: The Japanese Festival, Chinese Lantern Festival, The Garden Glow, the Best of Missouri Market, and the Flora Borealis (new this summer).
In addition to all the fun you can experience at the Garden, let’s not forget the important work the Garden does in science, research, and conservation. The Garden employs many research scientists who travel the world to study plant science of different kinds. The Garden also owns the Shaw Nature Reserve, and the Butterfly House, two more places of nature, conservation, science, and discovery.
These three locations also play another important role in lives of St. Louisans: they provide access to greenery and nature. Often, the importance of getting out into our green spaces is forgotten in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. The Garden is a perfect antidote to “nature deficit disorder,” a term coined to describe modern humans’ lack of time in spent in nature. Children, especially, need time outdoors, surrounded by trees, plants, and animals. Studies show links between access to nature and ability to sustain concentration, delay gratification and cope with stressors. According to The Natural Learning Initiative, having positive experiences in nature in childhood supports creativity and problem solving, enhances cognitive abilities, reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms, and reduces stress.
This summer, children who complete the St. Louis Public Library's Summer Reading Club will win tickets to the Garden (along with other cool prizes), including the Children's Garden. In addition to SLPL's Summer Reading Club, check out the Botanical Garden's "Tales and Trails Summer Reading Challenge."
Do you have a favorite part of the Garden, or a favorite memory? Please share in the comments below!
Enhance your next visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden with any (or all) of the books on this list:
For more information about the Missouri Botanical Garden, please visit their website, from which this information was gathered. The gorgeous photography in this post is from the Garden's Instagram, which can be viewed here.