Boy looking at bog plants

Teachers and their students are welcome to come explore the Missouri Botanical Garden on their own! Self-guided school groups can reach curricular goals, deepen understanding of classroom lessons, and support unique student needs and interests with a visit to our gardens. We offer a variety of tools to help you design a class visit that makes the Garden your classroom and create connections between your curriculum and the plants on display. Supplemental self-guiding activities and talking points are available for download below:

Self-guided visits to the Missouri Botanical Garden are available year-round for educators, and groups are welcome to book a trip on Tuesdays–Fridays throughout the year. For questions about programming or an existing program scheduled, email or call (314) 577-5185.

Self-guided groups MUST pre-register, and MUST select 3 viable dates, as your first choice may not be available.
REGISTER for a Self-guided Visit.

Fees for Self-guided Visits:

Schools within St. Louis City and County (ZMD):

Students in grades PK–12: free
Adult chaperones (1 for every 5 students): free
Additional chaperones: regular admission

Schools outside of St. Louis City and County:

Students in grades PK–8: free
Students in grades 9–12: $10 per student
Adult chaperones (1 for every 5 students): free
Additional chaperones: if paid in advance, additional chaperones are admitted at a reduced rate of $6 per additional chaperone. General admission rates apply if paying at the time of admission.

Please be aware that all school groups must bring at least one adult for every five students in attendance, and that students aged 16 and under should be chaperoned by an adult at all times. Teachers must pay for all 'extra' chaperones prior to their visit, or have an invoice for chaperone admission sent to the school after the visit.

Tickets to enter the Children’s Garden must be purchased prior to arrival for the discounted rate. Groups entering the Children’s Garden must have a group ratio of 1 adult for every 5 students.

Unfortunately, groups are not permitted to have lunch on-site as the Missouri Botanical Garden does not have indoor lunchroom facilities. Bag lunches can be stored on your bus or vehicle while you are in the Garden, but please plan to eat offsite. We encourage groups to picnic in neighboring Tower Grove Park before or after your visit. To book your reservation at a Tower Grove Park pavilion and/or picnic site, contact or (314) 771-2679.

Download a Garden map for school groups
Go to our "Planning Your Visit" page
REGISTER for a Self-guided Visit


MBG Nature Knapsacks

Lead your own self-guided program while visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden using our handy activity satchels. Each knapsack contains the materials necessary to accommodate age appropriate explorations for up to 10 students per knapsack. Multiple knapsacks can be requested and will be waiting at the entry gate when you arrive. Knapsacks can be returned as you depart the Missouri Botanical Garden. Please be aware that supplies are limited, and reservations must be made before your visit.

Cost: $5 per knapsack (fee is waived for St. Louis City and County schools as part of the Zoo Museum District)

Current offerings:

  • In the Garden
    Grades PreK–K; Available Year-round
    Help your students discover how shapes and colors are essential when designing the various areas here at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Horticulturists carefully blend colors of plants and use design patterns to make those areas “pop”! With this knapsack, you’ll take your students on a color and shape hunt all while seeing how beautifully designed the gardens are. 
  • Tree Trek
    Grades 3–5; Available Year-round
    With the MBG Tree Trek Knapsack, you and your students will have an opportunity to discover the Garden's many interesting trees and learn about how they grow. Designed for students between third and fifth grade, students will learn how scientists look at the different parts of a tree to determine which plant family they belong with. They will have the opportunity to make leaf rubbings of ginkgo tree leaves—a living fossil. And they will learn what tree features that arborists look at when determining the health of a tree.

Knapsacks will be available for pickup at the entry gate when you arrive and may be returned there when you leave. Please be aware that supplies are limited, and reservations must be made before your visit.

Register for a Self-guided Visit and reserve MBG Nature Knapsacks



Pot-a-Plant in the PlantLab

Volunteer potting plants with studentsYour students can bring the Garden home (or back to your classroom)! Pot-a-Plant sessions run fifteen minutes and include a short topical discussion of the type of plant and method of propagation, a guided planting session, and instructions for care. Each student's plant will be packaged in a labeled biodegradable bag and loaded into a cardboard tray for easy transport.

Pot-a-Plant sessions make a great addition to programming of your own design. Current options for planting include:

Species Method Content Discussed
Radish Seeds Plants as Food
Basil Seeds Plants as Food
Succulents Plugs Plant Adaptations (recommended for older students)
Philodendron Cuttings Plant Anatomy (recommended for older students)

Fees for Pot-a-Plant sessions run $50. Each session can accommodate up to 30 students. Large groups may schedule multiple sessions during the same visit. Sessions are booked on a first-come, first-served basis, so please book early to ensure the PlantLab is available on the day of your visit.


Garden Highlights

Climatron Wondering where to go when you arrive? Consider the following, identified as favorites by many of our visiting teachers and students:

Enrich your students’ knowledge of tropical ecosystems with a walk through a lush lowland rainforest.

Japanese Garden
This 14-acre garden incorporates a lake, waterfalls,  islands and numerous bridges.

Kemper Center for Home Gardening
Explore 23 display gardens including a native plant meadow and a vegetable garden.

Victorian District
Featuring Tower Grove House, our popular hedge maze and the Piper Observatory.

These are just a few of the many gardens and conservatories available for your class to visit during your field trip. Learn about our other gardens and conservatories.

Climatron® is a registered servicemark of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 


Visit Tower Grove House

Tower Grove HouseTower Grove House, which was once Garden founder Henry Shaw's country home, offers students a glimpse into our past! The house has been restored and staged using many of Henry Shaw's personal effects, and displays throughout provide information about the Missouri Botanical Garden's earliest years.

Teachers should plan to divide their classes into groups of 5 to 10 students chaperoned by at least one adult during their tour.

Tower Grove House is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and no preregistration is required. Tower Grove House is closed January through March.

Learn more


Visit the Children's Garden

Children's Garden LogoThe Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden offers a wide array of hands-on exploration and play-centered learning opportunities! Your students can explore a Missouri wetland with Lewis and Clark, explore a cave and pilot a steamboat with Mark Twain, pretend to keep shop in a settlement town with Daniel Boone, or explore the parts of plants and their role in an ecosystem with Henry Shaw!

Learn more about the Children's Garden

Teachers planning to visit the Children's Garden should keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • To receive the reduced admission rate of $3, Children's Garden admission fees are due prior your visit Please note that there are no scholarships available to cover Children's Garden admission fees at this time.

  • To ensure the safety of all Children's Garden visitors, students should be under the supervision of adult chaperones at all times. Teachers should assign students to specific adults before entering the play area. 1 adult chaperone per 5 students is required in the Children's Garden.

  • The Children's Garden is open daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April through October.

  • Children's Garden Pre-Visit Tools:
    These pre-visit tools were created to make your child’s experience in the Children’s Garden a more meaningful and comfortable one. The tools are most helpful for families with children with ASD and other sensory concerns, but can be helpful for all young children. The following pdfs are available for download:
    Parent/Caregiver Narrative
    Children's Pre-Visit Guide
    Visual Schedule
    Children's Garden Map