I’ll admit when I first heard of the Botanical Gardens, I pictured my grandparents wandering around talking about crocuses. Now that I have visited several times, I can say it’s way more exciting than that! Whether you are a huge flower lover, like beautiful walks, or are looking for a fun play area for the kids, the gardens offer a little something for everybody!
The gardens are deceptively large and divided up somewhat by region. As you enter you will be facing the rose garden, which is one of my favorites, as I’ve always been a sucker for roses. The short maze or roses looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but with a more colorful rainbow of roses, instead of just white and red. If you turn to the left instead of going straight as you head in, you’ll head towards what the girls and I like to call Jasmine’s secret garden. The middle eastern themed walls, fountain, and plants really make it feel like you’ve stepped into another world. I love for the kids to see the lemons and limes on the trees just starting to grow! There’s also a throne that is great for photo ops.
One of the highlights you can see from the rose garden is the Climatron. Inside, year round, you can find tropical plants you might never see in their original locales. I particularly like pointing out the pineapple and cacao plants to my kids, so they can see how their pineapple and chocolate start out! The Climatron also features lots of waterfalls that make it feel like a jungle adventure. At the basement of the Climatron is a kids play area. At the current moment its under construction, but in the past it featured a dress up area with a green screen, play areas, and fort construction. I’m excited to see what the new area will look like!
Just outside the Climatron you’ll find the entrance to the Children’s Garden. The Children’s garden is a small extra fee, but can easily be a whole day’s fun. There are treehouse like structures and rope bridges for kids to climb on, slides, water play, caves, a splash pad, a pretend grocery store, a music instrument play area, and the list goes on and on. With all the shade and water play, this is a great place to cool off with your littles.
Once you leave the children’s area, you can head off to the left for the well shaded Chinese garden, forward to the English garden, or traverse even further back to the vast Japanese garden. The Japanese garden features waterfalls, a lake, and my kids favorite, a koi pond where you can feed the multitude of fish.
If you want to beat the heat you can visit at night during the summer on Thursday and Friday evenings to view the Origami Sculptures on display from June 3-August 27th. Pre-covid there were often light up displays and concerts that I hope to see come back in 2022. Although there is a lot to see there is currently quite a bit of construction happening on site, just so you’re aware. During the day St Louis city and county resident get in for $6 per person (13 and under free) while non-residents pay $14 with extra fees for the Children’s Garden and night time viewings. See you there soon!