Saturday, June 29, 2013

Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis City

Location: 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

$12 adults (13+) Free children (12 and under) Special rates apply for signature events; see website for details.

St. Louis City/County residents: $6 adults (13-64) $4 Seniors (65+) Free Saturdays 9-Noon (except special admission rate events)

Children's Garden Hours: April - October 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Memorial Day - Labor Day extended hours Wednesdays 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Children's Garden Cost (in addition to general admission):
$5 children (3-12) Free adults (13+) Free after 5 p.m. Wednesdays Memorial Day through Labor Day
St. Louis City/County residents: Free Saturdays 9 a.m. - Noon

Free parking in MOBOT lots, but they fill quickly during special events and other busy days. Additional parking is available on the streets surrounding the Botanical Gardens.


The Children's Garden has 4 paths, 2 of which are wheelchair/stroller accessible. There is also space to park strollers around the waterfall and pool just inside the entrance, as well as near the Splash area. The Children's Garden includes a cave, tree house, rope bridge, secret garden with makeshift musical instruments, Midwestern prairie village, steamboat, Osage camp, and more. Many kids love to get soaked in the Splash area, so you may want to bring a swimsuit and towel. If kids and adults get separated, there is a meeting place at the entrance, right next to the ticket booth. Restrooms, drinking fountains, beverage vending machines, and hydration stations (to fill water bottles) are located near the Gazebo/Splash area, as well as in the Brookings Interpretive Center, just outside the Children's Garden entrance.

Covered wagon just outside the Children's Garden

Canoe outside entrance to the Children's Garden

Entrance to the Children's Garden

Entrances to the 4 Paths - Children's Garden

Map of Children's Garden

Waterfall just inside entrance of Children's Garden

Rope Bridge - Discover's Path - Children's Garden

Potting basil at the edible garden - Children's Garden
Splash Area - Settler's Path - Children's Garden

Splash Area - Settler's Path - Children's Garden

Splash Area - Settler's Path - Children's Garden

Log Stack Climber - Adventurer's Path - Children's Garden

Tree Trunk Pavilion and Paths - Children's Garden
Frontier's Fort - Adventurer's Path - Children's Garden

Adventurer's Path Entrance - Children's Garden

Waterfall and entrance to the cave - Children's Garden

The Brookings Interpretive Center hosts interactive, themed exhibits inside a staffed building. Through December 2013, the theme is "Digging In to the Roots of Our Food," and includes interactive vegetable plots, a kitchen, dress-up outfits, farm and home play sets, drawing/coloring stations, as well as places to rest and relax. The Climatron, adjacent to the Brookings Interpretive Center, is also stroller-accessible and hosts a variety of beautiful and interesting plants.

Brookings Interpretive Center

Brookings Interpretive Center

Brookings Interpretive Center
The Koi Fish Feeding Bridge, located in the Japanese Garden, is a favorite for kids and adults alike. Ducks and geese come close to catch their share, too. For a closer look, there's a foot path next to the bridge that leads down to the water. You can buy a small handful of loose pellets for $0.25 from a dispenser at the bridge, but the gift shop at the main entrance also sells a larger quantity in a bag for $0.60. (See photo.) With the adults doling it out, our family of 4 went through 2 bags as well as a handful purchased from the dispenser in about 10-15 minutes. There are bathrooms, a drinking fountain, beverage vending machine, and hydration station in the vicinity of the bridge, as well.

Fish Food - Loose food cost $0.25 at the bridge dispenser, bagged food is $0.60 at the gift shop at the garden entrance.

Koi Fish Feeding Bridge - Japanese Garden

Koi Fish Feeding Bridge - Japanese Garden

The Observatory and Maze in the Victorian District may be a fun place to play, too.

Additional notes about the Botanical Gardens in general:

The campus is 79 acres and includes paths with various degrees of sloping. The staff in the Visitor Center at the main entrance has information regarding which paths have steep vs. gradual inclines.

A tram is also available April through October, for an additional fee of $4/person. It runs hourly on weekdays and every 40 minutes on weekends, beginning just outside the Visitor Center and stopping at the Center for Home Gardening, Japanese Garden, Tower Grove House, and returning to the Visitor Center. Strollers are allowed on the tram if they will fit in available space.

Tram Schedule

Pick up a map on your way in to help you locate restrooms and drinking fountains scattered throughout the gardens. Dining is also available, with kid-friendly menu options. Picnicking and coolers are prohibited, but they don't search bags for small snacks. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own water bottles and be responsible about sun exposure.

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