This delightful botanical institution is the oldest in the US, and is home to a number of themed gardens and an award-winning tropical conservatory.
Henry Shaw, famed botanist and philanthropist, founded Missouri Botanical Garden in 1859 on 32 hectares of land in western St. Louis. Still thriving today, it is the oldest botanical garden in the US, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Missouri Botanical Garden is also home to a number of historical buildings, chief among them Tower Grove House. This imposing structure was built in 1849 as Shaw's country residence. It has been lovingly restored, and many of Shaw's belongings are on display.
Just next to Tower Grove House lies the charming Victorian Garden, a careful and colourful arrangement of plants and flowers. Enjoy the sights and smells of the conservatory and herb garden, test your navigation skills in the small maze and visit Shaw's mausoleum.
Walk through the bluebells and dogwoods of the English Woodland Garden to the large lake in the south-eastern corner. This lake, with its four small islets, is the centrepiece of the Japanese Seiwa-en Garden, which takes up a full 5.6 hectares. Stroll through the exotic plants and take the footbridge to one of the delightful islands.
Swing past the Bavarian Garden, then head to the magnificent Climatron. Inside this spectacular fully-glazed geodesic dome you'll find a thriving rainforest, complete with an indoor river aquarium.
During the summer months, youngsters can try their hand at growing vegetables and flowers in the Children's Garden. This garden operates from April to October only, as does the free and informative guided tram tour.
Check the website to find out what events are on when you're visiting. From May to July the Botanical Garden puts on a series of open air concerts on Wednesday evenings, while the Orchid Show, which features 800 different species, runs from February to March. If you're here on Labor Day weekend, check out the annual Japanese Festival, or visit in May for the Chinese Culture Festival.
You can visit Missouri Botanical Garden all year round; it closes on Christmas Day only. There's a small entry charge but parking is free. If you're not coming by car, your best bet is to catch a bus.