Group Tours
Naturalist-guided Group Tours

Passengers on Wilderness Wagon

There are several options for groups of adults (church or senior groups, garden clubs, guilds, friends, etc.) who wish to visit Shaw Nature Reserve.

Wilderness Wagon Tour:

Our Naturalist will narrate while you sit back and relax. If a group is to have a guide, it is absolutely necessary to make a reservation at least two weeks ahead of time!

Shaw Nature Reserve has an open-air wagon (with a canopy roof) which holds a maximum of 28 people. A van pulls the wilderness wagon on a three mile gravel road as a naturalist/guide describes the Reserve’s history, what’s in bloom, the Pinetum conifer collection, the tallgrass prairie, wildlife and wetlands. The tour takes just under one hour.

Most groups then visit the Bascom House, a restored 1879 home, and the adjoining 5-acre Whitmire Wildflower Garden for an additional 45 min. There are benches on the lawn of the Bascom House and in the wildflower garden for those who want to relax while others are walking around.

For larger groups with more than 28 people, we can take one group on the wagon while the other half visits the house and the wildflower garden; then the groups switch places.

The wagon has six steps with a handrail, and the chairs are securely bolted to the floor. Senior citizens are frequent users of the wagon.

Bus Tour:

For a group arriving on its own bus, our naturalist/guide can step aboard to give the same tour as the wagon tour described above. It is important that the bus has a microphone. The advantage of the bus tour is that it is not affected by the weather as the wagon tour is, but the wagon tour is an “adventure” and adds a special touch to the tour. As described under the wagon tour, bus tours are encouraged to visit the Bascom House and the Whitmire Wildflower Garden as well.


Cost for either of the above (admission and tour combined):

$5   members of the Missouri Botanical Garden
$8   non-members
$6   seniors (age 65+)

There is a minimum charge of $80 for either of the guided tours.

Important Information:

If a group is to have a guide, it is absolutely necessary to make a reservation at least two weeks ahead of time!

It is very helpful, but not necessary, if we know that an unguided, unofficial, independent group is going to visit on a specific day. We can help groups avoid converging on the Visitor Center and Bascom House simultaneously.


Contact the Visitor Center
(636) 451-3512 x 6075 (toll free from St. Louis)


Shaw Nature Reserve is located off I-44, about 35 miles west of the Arch in downtown St. Louis. We are on I-44, Exit 253, Gray Summit. This is two exits west of Six Flags (Allenton/Eureka).

There are numerous side trips in the area of the Reserve that can be combined to your tour: Purina Farms, restaurants in Washington, Labadie, and Pacific, LaBarque Creek natural areas, antique shops in Washington and Eureka, wineries north of the Missouri River along Highway 94, the Black Madonna Shrine in Eureka, and Meramec State Park and Meramec Caverns near Sullivan. 

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