What better way to tour the garden then to have an expert leading the way! We offer several options based on your group’s interest:
- Journey through a Historic Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden opened to the public in 1859 and began to grow in the European tradition of horticultural display combined with education and the search for new knowledge. Today, over 150 years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science and conservation, education and horticultural display. Take a step back in time and explore many of the Garden’s historic treasures, learn the history of how the Garden was planned and has grown, and get a glimpse of what the Garden was like during Shaw’s time.
- Explore Asian Gardens
Explore the culture, art, and plants of our Asian gardens! With a Docent, guests will learn more about the Margaret Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden (Chinese Garden) and ponder how Chinese philosophies influenced the garden’s arrangement and plantings. From there your group will enter Seiwa-en, our 14-acre Japanese ‘wet strolling garden’, to discover how Japanese traditions are reflected in the garden’s design.
- Seasonal Highlights
The Garden is always beautiful, no matter the season. Discover the diversity of plants, get a glimpse of St. Louis history and explore gardens that reflect a variety of cultures, styles and traditions. In this tour, your group will explore what’s truly in bloom around the Garden and in its Living Collection.
- Gardens under Glass: The Garden’s Conservatories
Built in 1882, the Linnean House is the oldest continuously operating display greenhouse west of the Mississippi River. It is the only remaining greenhouse at the Garden that was built during Henry Shaw’s day. From there, a tour of the Climatron® transports your group into a lush lowland rain forest complete with waterfalls and some 1,500 plants. This stunning conservatory has become a symbolic image of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The geodesic domed structure was inspired by the futuristic design of R. Buckminster Fuller. Your tour concludes with a walk through the Temperate House featuring plants from around the world that thrive in “Mediterranean” climates.
- Trees of the Missouri Botanical Garden
The Garden was virtually treeless when Henry Shaw began it in 1859 on the Missouri prairie. Today, the Garden has quite an impressive collection of trees. Although the trees of the Missouri Botanical Garden might seem to be an anonymous backdrop, they are in reality a garden unto themselves. The Garden’s trees were planted with the same scrupulous attention to design and botanical diversity as the Garden’s myriad flowers and shrubs, and are an integral part of the Living Collection. Some of the trees are commonplace; others rare. Many carry a historical message. Others burst into eye-catching bloom at certain times of the year. Together, they form a garden within a garden, and each tree has its own story to tell.
- Growing Greener --- Sustainability Features of the Missouri Botanical Garden*
Sustainability-themed visits to the Garden integrate an interpretive tour of the site with investigations of key sustainability concepts. Participants explore topics such as energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, recycling, composting, air quality, water conservation, plant-based solutions, and the basics of green building. In this tour, your group will see the Garden’s energy initiatives and discover how to carry practical sustainable solutions into your own life wherever you live, work, or play. This tour is limited to groups of 20 or less and guests should plan for a two-hour experience.
- Herbarium & Library*
Tour two of the Missouri Botanical Garden's outstanding research resources with a Garden Curator. Visit the Garden's Herbarium, one of the largest collections of pressed and dried plants in the world. And view the Peter H. Raven Library's Rare Book Collection, which contains volumes dating back as far as the 15th century that are still used in the study plants today. Guests will learn how the Garden's Herbarium and Library work together to support the work of scientists, students, and researchers around the globe seeking to better understand, identify, classify, and conserve plants. This tour takes place in the Monsanto Center. Guests should plan for a two-hour experience.
*Subject to staff availability.
Fees: $12 per person (in addition to general admission)
Minimum fee is $50 per tour.
Length: Walking tours are typically 60-90 minutes and are best suited for guests who are comfortable walking throughout the garden.
Group Dynamics: To provide the best private walking tour experience, we suggest one docent for every 10-12 guests which means larger groups may be divided into smaller groups. This allows ease of communication and fosters more in-depth conversations.
Accommodations and Amenities: The Missouri Botanical Garden welcomes visitors from all over the world. We are committed to providing everyone with a beautiful and serene visitor experience. View the Garden’s accessibility accommodations online. At the time of reservation, please let us know how we might be able to better serve your group.
Reservations and Payment: Private guided walking tours must be reserved at least 6 weeks in advance and paid for at least 3weeks prior to the date of your visit.