**click on picture to enlarge**
Henry Shaw's dream lives on 150 years later. This year, 2009 marks The Sesquicentennial of The St. Louis Botanical Gardens. The words, awesome, incredible, magnificent, beautiful, and wow all come to mind when I think of the visits we've had there. An Englishman, Henry Shaw felt there was more then just beauty to flowers and plants. He understood their importance and felt the science of, the study of to be necessary. His home was the beginning of this dream. He had an exotic orchid collection.
The St. Louis Botanical Gardens covers 79 acres, is opened all seasons with a wide variety of activities for all, regardless of age and interest. You can purchase your tickets on line, park free and rent a motorized scooter if walking presents a problem. The entire garden acreage is disability friendly, accessible for all to enjoy. Ticket prices vary based on age, whether or not you're a member, and a St. Louis county or city resident.
The list of activities to enjoy there is long. You can walk for exercise from 7-9 am, tour on your own, join a guided tour, line up a birthday party, take an educational class, experience special festivals; or summer evening concerts.
Every year 100,000 new specimens arrive at the gardens. The scientific exploration, preservation, and identification that Henry Shaw started so long ago has grown to a global effort. A temperature controlled vault and complete catalog of plant species is something the casual visitors doesn't see, but one that carries forward the importance of Shaw's dream. Plants and flowers provide more than just beauty for our eyes to behold, they improve the air quality we breath, provide medications, keep our soil from eroding. They sustain us in many ways.
I encourage everyone to put this on their list of things to do. I plan to return again, and again.
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