Insider’s Guide to a Cool Summer Visit

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 insider’s 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.

Stay Hydrated

Tip number one — don’t let dehydration spoil your fun. While drinking fountains remain closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, our water bottle refilling stations are all open! The Garden has several of these 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? Reusable bottles or single-use recyclable water bottles are both available for purchase in the Temporary Visitor Center.

Reusable water bottles. Photo by Claire Cohen.


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. 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.

A child plays in the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden splash pad. Photo by Erik S. Anderson.

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 Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum offers the best chill by far. Stop in and gaze up at the historic ceiling mural and explore the current exhibit, Grafting the Grape, which tells the story of how Missouri rootstock saved the worldwide wine industry.

Upstairs Ceiling and sky light
The newly renovated Museum Building. Photo by Claire Cohen.

Come Early

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.

Visitors enjoy a morning stroll in the Lehmann Rose Garden. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.

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 – Senior Digital Media Specialist

Leave a Reply