Family Classes at Missouri Botanical Garden Grow Your Child's Love of Learning

Just like the variety of plants and flowers that blanket the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden, the kids that walk through the Garden’s gates need sunshine and fresh air to blossom and grow.

To help children get the most from their time outdoors, to cultivate their minds and their appreciation of nature, the Garden offers a variety of family-friendly events and classes throughout the summer, which according to public information officer Katie O’Sullivan, helps children connect with plants and nature while developing skills to use in the future.

“We hope those who are exposed to the natural world at an early age will continue to have a love for nature and a desire to explore science in the future,” she remarked via email.

Upcoming youth and family programs at the Garden include:

Nature-Loving Families

A great way for a child to meet Mother Nature is to let mom do the introduction. Nature-Loving Families allows parents and kids to get up close and personal with the great outdoors through a guided tour, science experiments and hands-on crafts. Designed for families with kids ages 4 and up, participants are encouraged to stop and smell the roses, look under rocks and leaves and up the trees, modeling curiosity for their kids. Registration is required, and each class runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The next Nature-Loving Families session is:

  • What’s All the Buzz?, August 2 Learn about the impact bees and butterflies have on our environment. Kids will explore the Great Sunflower Project to find out how they can collect data on pollinators in your yard and garden for a research project.

Great Green Adventures

Families are encouraged to drop in to learn more about the plants, insects and animals that inhabit the Garden. Designed for kids ages 6 to 12, Great Green Adventures combines together activities, journaling and games for an immersive learning experience. Adventures run from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the days of the events, and are free for members, $3 per child for nonmembers.

  • Celebrate Urban Birds, July 19 – Discover how this unique Citizen Science project from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology helps scientists observe how different environments influence birds living in cities like St. Louis.
  • Around the Pond, August 16 – Explore one of the Garden’s ponds and meet the plants and animals who call it their home.

Garden Buds Summer Saturdays

Throughout the year, the Garden offers Garden Buds, a time where parents and preschoolers can bond over a mutual love of the great outdoors. The Garden Buds Summer Saturdays starting in June are the ideal opportunity to get your family’ first taste of the program that invites little ones to get their hands dirty while learning and exploring the amazing wildlife the Garden has to offer. Classes last from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day except for the July 12 and 19 sessions, which only offer morning classes. Costs are $16 per child for members; $19 for nonmembers and include activities and snacks. Registration is required. Upcoming sessions include:

The Garden’s Youth and Family programs are a way for families to get a break from the hustle outside the Garden and reconnect outside while learning, playing and creating. In addition, the Garden’s entire family of attractions, including the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House and Shaw Nature Reserve, offer programs that should become part of your family’s summertime traditions.

For a full list of events at all three locations, visit the Garden calendar.

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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