For Those Who Love Plants, Animals, and Nature
St. Louis. Also known as the “Gateway to the West.”
Founded in 1764, St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri and among the largest in the United States.
The city has a lot to offer its visitors, from amazing architecture and charming neighborhoods to delicious cuisine, beautiful parks and gardens, and a long list of attractions. No wonder it receives around 25 million visitors every year.
If you plan to visit the city or are already there and thinking about exploring it, here are some of the best places to visit in St. Louis as a nature-lover.
Missouri Botanical Garden
Missouri Botanical Garden, which is now over 160 years old, spans about 80 acres and is widely regarded as one of the best botanical gardens not just in the United States but the whole world.
The botanical garden is divided into a number of conservatories and gardens, including several international gardens like the Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, and Ottoman Garden.
One highlight is the Japanese Garden with its beautiful flowers and trees, stream, stone lanterns, and more.
Another highlight is the Climatron, which is a geodesic dome conservatory — the first of its kind. The conservatory, designed on a tropical rain forest theme, includes a river aquarium with exotic fish and a bridge that offers captivating views of the forest canopy and associated plants.
Missouri Botanical Garden’s herbarium contains 6.6 million specimens and is the second-largest in North America, behind that of the New York Botanical Garden.
There’s so much to see and enjoy that you can easily spend three to four hours without even realizing it. You wouldn’t want to miss this place if you are in or around St. Louis.
Saint Louis Zoo
Established in 1910, Saint Louis Zoo has become one of the largest zoos in the United States. Spanning ninety acres, it is home to nearly 20,000 animals belonging to over 600 different species.
The zoo is divided into six zones with a total of twenty exhibits. Some of the most popular animals at the zoo are lions, tigers, polar and grizzly bears, giraffes, elephants, penguins, and orangutans.
Among the most loved and visited exhibits are the Penguin & Puffin Coast (which has penguins, puffins, and numerous water birds) and McDonnell Polar Bear Point. The bear exhibit has a 50,000-gallon Polar Dive Pool with a glass panel that brings visitors nose-to-nose with a swimming polar bear.
The zoo also offers activities like touching and even feeding stingrays and conducts shows like the popular Sea Lion Show.
And in case you get hungry, worry not! There are plenty of dining options within the zoo compound. And gift shops too if you would like to buy some merchandise.
If you are visiting Saint Louis Zoo, you are already inside the Forest Park. The park, also known as the “Heart of St. Louis,” was established in 1876 and is spread over 1326 acres. It has numerous ponds, lakes, and freshwater streams and is home to various birds and wildlife.
In addition to some of the city’s major tourist attractions like Saint Louis Zoo and St. Louis Science Center, Forest Park includes several delightful features for anyone looking for an escape from the noise of city life, a peaceful retreat in nature, or a great space for outdoor activities.
There’s the Jewel Box, which is a greenhouse and a public horticultural facility. And the Turtle Park with concrete sculptures of seven turtle species endemic to Missouri, a clutch of eggs, and a snake.
Then there’s a boathouse for those interested in paddle boating and the Steinberg Skating Rink, open for ice skating during winters and sand volleyball during summers.
If you want to go hiking or walking, Kennedy Forest has hiking trails. The Park also has a golf course, a tennis center, and more.
Overall a wonderful place to drive around, relax, or have fun. And take pictures.
So these were some of the places you must visit if you’re in St. Louis. I must add that due to the pandemic, some sections might not be open, or there could be certain restrictions. So make sure you do the necessary research before visiting.
Also, please follow the guideline. Have fun but stay safe.