I knew Missouri Botanical Garden was considered one of the best in the country (USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Top 10 in 2016, Conde Nast’s Top 9 Beautiful Gardens in the US. I just didn’t understand what that meant until my family visited this summer.
Best means the most beautiful. Best means the grounds are impressively huge. And best means there’s a lot to see.
Unfortunately for us, we were on a tight schedule trying to take in the best of St. Louis in 24 hours. So we hit the kid-friendly garden highlights and left knowing there was more to see on a return visit. Our visit was hosted by Explore St. Louis.
Highlights of Missouri Botanical Garden With Kids
The Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden is a seasonal garden that’s an additional cost to visit, but if you’re at Missouri Botanical Garden with young children, you’re going to want to include this on your visit. Keep in mind, YOU don’t have to pay for a ticket as the adult (anyone over 13 is FREE in the children’s garden, as is anyone younger than 2). The price for children ages 3-12 is $5 if you’re not a member.
My daughter gravitated toward the water features, particularly the pond with little boats and, briefly, the sprayground. I recommend bringing a towel and having your child wear a swimsuit if you think yours will head for the same areas!
My son, on the other hand, was all go go go, and loved climbing, sliding, and exploring the tree house and limestone cave.
My kids love koi ponds wherever we go (the one in Wichita was pretty memorable). They enjoyed feeding the koi at Missouri Botanical Gardens, as well as finding other waterlife in the 4-acre lake. They were delighted to spot several turtles.
This was one of my favorite areas of all. It was peaceful and so beautifully designed, with traditional Japanese bridges, waterfalls, lanterns and sculptures. It’s a large space to walk – 14 acres in all!
The Climatron is a greenhouse designed to create a rainforest atmosphere for visitors, complete with a waterfall and tropical fish. When we visited, there was an additional fee to enter because of a glass sculpture show called “Garden of Glass.”
If you’re traveling with littles, it’s going to be tough to see it all unless you have a stroller or get tram tickets. The tram rides are pretty insightful, so I recommend getting tickets for it. It is a hop-on hop-off kind of thing, but you aren’t guaranteed a seat if you try to hop on at a later stop.
There is no need to take the tram to go to the children’s garden. It’s not a far walk from the entrance.
FYI: You can rent strollers at Missouri Botanical Gardens. Just a note, these are for truly little kids. My 5-year-old did not fit into it.
Other Notable Areas
We passed through some absolutely stunning gardens the morning we visited. Among them were the Carver Garden, the English Woodland Garden and the Boxwood Garden.
If you’re familiar with Missouri Botanical Garden, you know then, that we missed a lot! However, given how young our children were and how hot a July morning can get, we picked the best gardens that our children would love.
Plan on spending at a minimum three hours here and not seeing it all.
If you go
Missouri Botanical Garden
Where: 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Mo.
When: Open year-round, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (with a few exceptions). Closed Christmas Day.
Cost: $12, adults (age 13 and over); FREE for children (age 12 and under) and members.
Time your visit to coincide with one of their special events!
* * * * *
Want a St. Louis adventure for your family?
Read more about our awesome visit to St. Louis this summer! Here are some more posts about St. Louis with young families in mind:
Get travel inspiration delivered to your inbox!
Subscribe to the FREE bi-weekly e-newsletter featuring Omaha, Midwest & more family-friendly destinations! Subscribe here.