News Releases
Posted: 10/19/2012 | Print Friendly Version

                               FAMILY AT THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
(ST. LOUIS):  Celebrate the holidays at the Missouri Botanical Garden! The Garden is sharing the spirit of the season with an abundance of festivities sure to create lasting memories for your family. Enjoy the return of the colorful Gardenland Express holiday flower and train show, two weekends filled withGardenland Express holiday carols and visits with Santa, resplendent holiday décor, traditional Chanukah and Kwanzaa celebrations and more. For detailed information on the complete lineup of holiday happenings, visit

Gardenland Express

The annual Gardenland Express holiday flower and train show is a beloved seasonal tradition at the Garden. Watch as eight G-scale model trains wander through a floral wonderland of over 500 colorful poinsettias and other blooming plants.

This year’s display celebrates “Merry Botanical Traditions” featuring beloved plants of the holiday season. The 5,000-square-foot Orthwein Floral Display Hall is transformed into a festive landscape surrounding a whimsical fairy tale cottage. Hundreds of blooming plants, decorations and the ever-popular model trains covering 900 feet of elevated track weaving through the display create the lively atmosphere. To celebrate the success of the Chinese Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night held this year at the Garden, the show will feature silk pieces of Euphorbia (poinsettia), Ilex (holly), Zygocactus (Christmas cactus) and more, crafted by the Lantern Festival artisans.

 Gardenland Express is open Wednesday, Nov. 21 through Tuesday Jan. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closing early at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and closed on Christmas Day. Admission is $5 per person (ages 3 and up), in addition to regular Missouri Botanical Garden admission. Garden members are free.

Gardenland Express is sponsored by CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., Central States Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Greg and Janet Krekeler, with support from Paul Ecke Ranch.

Traditional Celebrations
Enjoy two weekends full of Christmas cheer at Saturdays with Santa: Christmas Carols in the Garden. Listen to caroling groups sing seasonal favorites. Whisper Christmas wishes to Santa, whose sleigh has made its way to the Garden thanks to Rudolph. The events will take place Saturday, Dec. 8 and 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Chanukah: Festival of Lights
Experience the traditional Jewish holiday celebration of Chanukah: Festival of Lights. The festival begins with the ceremonial lighting of the menorah, representing the first of eight evenings that the miraculous oil jar burned in the temple. Several dance troops will demonstrate traditional and folk dance to the delight of the crowds. Local musicians and choral groups will perform throughout the afternoon. Visitors will enjoy browsing through the “shuk” (marketplace) for Chanukah themed treasures. The Festival of Lights celebration will occur on Sunday, Dec. 9 from noon to 4 p.m.

Join us Friday, Dec. 28 from noon to 4 p.m. for the contemporary African-American holiday of Kwanzaa: Festival of the First Fruits. This family-friendly celebration honors African traditions and history with storytelling and music to celebrate the feast before the dry season. Symbolic candle-lighting ceremonies are accompanied by African storytellers using traditional costumes and percussion music. Art, jewelry and costume vendors will offer merchandise for sale and the Garden Gate Shop will offer a wide selection of African-made crafts, music CDs and much more.

Holiday Decor
The Holiday Wreath Auction features creations by the region’s most talented floral designers, decking the walls of the Ridgway Visitor Center. Designs range from traditional to whimsical and are sure to delight. All wreaths are sold by silent auction bidding, with proceeds benefiting the Missouri Botanical Garden. View the display Nov. 16 through Jan. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closes at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Victorian Christmas at Tower Grove House
Experience a Victorian Christmas at Tower Grove House, the 19th century country home of Garden founder Henry Shaw. The estate is decorated for the holidays with wreaths, garland, floral centerpieces, greenery and a holiday tree. Children can enjoy storytelling on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and visit the activity corner to color tree-themed holiday cards. Each child will receive a copy of “A Cold Winter’s Evening in Shaw’s Garden,” a special Garden-themed coloring book. Tower Grove House is open for the holidays Wednesdays through Sundays, Nov. 21 through Jan. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing early at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The house is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Holiday Trimmings at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening offers a cozy reprieve from the wintery weather throughout December. Marvel at the 12-foot tall balsam fir tree naturally decorated with hand-crafted “gourdaments” and gourd birdhouses made by Missouri Botanical Garden staff and volunteers. This year’s theme is “Fun with Flora and Fauna.”  Decorated gourds may be bid on through the month and will be sold on Jan. 1 to benefit the Kemper Center. A holiday sleigh provides the perfect setting for holiday family photos. Peek outside to be inspired by outdoor “winterscape” décor. Holiday trimmings are on display Saturday, Dec. 8 through Tues. Jan 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closing at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Shop and Dine

Be sure to stop by the Garden Gate Shop for a huge selection of holiday gifts, from plants in bloom to gardening tools, jewelry to fine chocolates, books for everyone on your list, home furnishings, art, clothing and much more.  

You’ll also find unexpected treasures at the Little Shop Around the Corner, the Garden’s antique and collectibles resale shop, located at 4474 Castleman Ave. Take advantage of special holiday pricing during the month of December.The Little Shop Around the Corner is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday.

For a gift that lasts all year, give the gift of the Garden! A Garden membership makes a great gift for everyone on your list. Find out more by calling (314) 577-5118 or visit
Gardenland Express
Unwind from the holiday festivities and shopping by enjoying lunch or a cup of cocoa at the Sassafras café, Missouri’s first certified “green restaurant,” offering delicious soups, salads, sandwiches and more from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Visitor Information

Holiday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, closing early at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; closed Christmas Day.

Admission to the Missouri Botanical Garden is $8; St. Louis City and County residents enjoy discounted admission of $4 and free admission on most Wednesday and Saturday mornings until noon. Children ages 12 and under and Garden members are free. The Gardenland Express show is an additional $5 per person, ages 3 and older.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in south St. Louis, accessible from Interstate 44 at the Vandeventer exit and from Interstate 64 at the Kingshighway North and South exit. Free parking is available on site and two blocks west at the corner of Shaw and Vandeventer.

For general information, visit or call (314) 577‑5100 (toll-free, 1‑800‑642‑8842). Follow the Garden on Facebook and Twitter at and

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NOTE: Digital images available by request or via Flickr. Download media materials at

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s mission is “to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life.” Today, 153 years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science, conservation, education and horticultural display.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in St. Louis, just south of I-44 at Vandeventer-Kingshighway (exit #287B). Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Christmas Day. Grounds open at 7 a.m. most Wednesdays and Saturdays (exception: special admission rate events). Admission is $8; free children ages 12 and under and Garden members. St. Louis City and County residents are $4 and free most Wednesdays and Saturdays until noon (exception: special admission rate events – third weekend of May, Memorial Day 2012, Labor Day weekend and first weekend of October). Park for free on site and two blocks west at the Shaw-Vandeventer intersection. The Garden is accessible via public transportation by taking the MetroLink commuter rail line and picking up a Metro bus ( For general information, log on to or call the 24-hour recording at (314) 577-5100 or 1-800-642-8842. For membership information, visit call (314) 577-5118 during weekday business hours. For volunteer opportunities, visit or call (314) 577-5187. The Missouri Botanical Garden is a tobacco-free environment.