To celebrate spring, the Missouri Botanical Garden is encouraging everyone to get outdoors at the Garden, Butterfly House, and Shaw Nature Reserve at its annual “Meet Me Outdoors in St. Louis” event.
This year, Meet Me Outdoors is expanding to the entire month of April, enabling visitors to experience adventurous outdoor fun at all three sites, take home native plants, and challenge themselves to get more connected with our region’s outdoor gems. Previously, all three sites celebrated “Meet Me Outdoors” on the same weekend. With the expansion, each site will have its own weekend dedicated to special activities that embrace nature, and adventure, as well as environmental stewardship and conservation. “Meet Me Outdoors” encourages people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to re-connect with nearby nature, learn about citizen stewardship opportunities, and celebrate the nearby network of forests, rivers, prairies, and parks of the St. Louis eco-region.
Also new this year is the #MeetMeOutdoorsSTL Challenge, which encourages participants to share their outdoor adventures on social media throughout the year. The Challenge runs from April 2019 to March 2020. The Garden will have its Meet Me Outdoors event the weekend of April 6-7, Butterfly House on April 13-14, and Shaw on April 27-28. All three sites will offer one-of-a-kind outdoor adventures like canopy climbs. Or, visitors can relax at all sites with yoga and guided walks and hikes. Kids will love hands-on activities like building micro-habitats, playing nature bingo, and completing scavenger hunts.
Visitors to all sites will take home a free native tree – one per family while supplies last – and can shop for wildflowers and other plants for their home gardens and landscapes. Guests can enjoy music and purchase food and drinks at all sites. Each site will also offer its own unique activities. At the Garden, kick off the weekend with Sake and Sakura on Friday, April 5. Celebrate the beauty of spring and the season of hanami by sipping sake under the cherry blossoms (sakura) in the Japanese Garden (Seiwa-en).
The Garden will also offer special docent-led themed tours and will have live animals in the Children’s Garden during the weekend. Additional special activities will take place in the Children’s Garden to celebrate its seasonal opening. The Butterfly House will be in the midst of its Spring Fling activities, which feature pollinator plant sales each weekend of April. Guests will also be able to stroll through the tropical conservatory and marvel at the majestic butterflies. Visitors to Shaw Nature Reserve can try out more active outdoor adventures like stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing. They can enjoy a fly-fishing demonstration and learn essential survival skills like GPS and map-reading. Shaw Nature Reserve’s Meet Me Outdoors weekend also coincides with the 2019 City Nature Challenge, enabling visitors to the Reserve to take part in this global citizen science competition. Organized by the iNaturalist team based out of California, the City Nature Challenge is a global competition to see which city or metropolitan region in the world can identify the most species in four days.
This year, 160 cities are participating –up significantly from the 65 that participated in 2018. Anyone from the St. Louis bi-state area can participate. Training sessions on iNaturalist will be held at all Meet Me Outdoors events. Meet Me Outdoors activities are all included with general admission. Garden admission is $14. St. Louis City and County residents enjoy discounted admission of $6, and senior residents pay $4. Admission is free for all children under 12. Admission at the Butterfly House is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 3-12. Admission is free for children under 2. Shaw Nature Reserve admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students, military members, first responders, and seniors. Garden members and children under 12 enjoy free admission at the Nature Reserve.
Via Press Release