Our water lilies love St. Louis summers, but the rest of us probably wilt at the idea of spending too much time outside on a hot day. Don’t let the heat keep you from stopping by your favorite botanical garden to experience beautiful summer blooms. Here’s our insiders guide to keeping cool during your next visit.
Is your home garden suffering in the sun? See our guide to watering your plants during summer vacation.
Tip number one — don’t let dehydration spoil your fun. The Garden has 7 hydration stations throughout the grounds, many in air conditioned areas. Stop for a quick breather to cool off and fill up your water bottle. Didn’t pack one? The Children’s Garden sells pre-filled, reusable water bottles for just five bucks.
The splash pad in the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden is hands-down the best place for our youngest visitors to cool off. Pack a suit for your little ones, and use the nearby restrooms to change. But it’s not the only place to get your splash on. Kids, and even some adults, have been known to frolic in the Shapleigh fountain at the entrance to the Lehmann Rose Garden. If you’re not looking to get soaked, grab a seat near one of our other fantastic fountains and let the breeze provide you with a cool mist.
Seek Out Shade
Stay cool under our canopy. Shady areas like the English Woodland Garden and Mausoleum Garden offer a welcome break from the mid-afternoon sun. The William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening also boasts two shade gardens. And you can find relief under the leaves of magnolias and crab apples in our Hosta Garden.
Duck in for some A/C
There are buildings across the Garden campus where you can take an air conditioned break. The newly reopened Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum offers the best chill by far. Stop in and gaze up at the historic ceiling mural, and explore select items from the Garden’s many collections. The Brookings Exploration Center, Ridgway Visitor Center, and Kemper Center for Home Gardening all offer A/C.
Come Early and Stay Late
Avoid the heat of the day by taking advantage of early-morning walking hours. The Garden opens at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturdays, and admission is free for residents of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Or cool off the Garden after dark at Flora Borealis: A nighttime multimedia experience. Refreshing adult beverages are available at the Biergarten.
Brave the Sun
Now that you’re armed with plenty of ways to beat the heat, here’s one last tip — step out into the sun! Some of our showiest plant displays thrive in the hot summer sun. Don’t miss the tropical water lilies of the Central Axis, surrounded on all sides by other sun-loving annuals. Other sunny, but stunning, areas include the Boxwood Garden and Pincushion Garden.
Cassidy Moody – Digital Media Specialist