4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
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ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), October 22, 2019 - The Missouri Botanical Garden has announced plans for the new Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center to enhance the guest experience, better reflect its world-renowned reputation, and re-introduce a city treasure to the community and generations to come.
This transformative project will enable the Garden to better carry out its mission and serve its nearly 1 million annual visitors, all while contributing to the revitalization of St. Louis.
"As a global leader in plant science, and as an important cultural institution, we must raise our physical visibility with a face that matches what is inside the Garden, and improves understanding of our mission, research and impact," said Missouri Botanical Garden President Peter Wyse Jackson. "This will create a new treasure for St. Louis and further build the region's reputation as a hub of research and innovation."
Visitors will be immediately greeted with stunning views into some of the Garden's most notable locations, as well as new gardens and fountains. The landscape will be even more diverse in species of plants and will include a permanent, year-round conservatory.
The entrance will be more accessible with benches for gathering and resting, wide pathways and additional drop-off areas.
The shop will include a space to offer outdoor plants, and dining options will include a grab-and-go location, as well as a sit-down café that will have expansive views into the Garden. The new center will also provide more space for meetings and events, including a separate area for large private events and conferences. Ticketing will be streamlined, and a single desk will provide information, ticket sales, membership sales and security.
Opened in 1982, the current visitor center was built to accommodate 250,000 visitors per year, a quarter of the nearly 1 million visitors welcomed to the Garden each year, contributing to the need for a new arrival experience. Construction on the $92 million, privately funded project begins in January 2020 and is expected to conclude in spring 2022. The Garden will remain open throughout the construction process and will provide the same world-class experience.
We are fortunate to be a part of the St. Louis community whose generosity enabled this project to be privately funded with no taxpayer money," said Wyse Jackson. "The support of our donors will help enhance our members' experiences and usher in new generations of people to experience the joy and beauty of our amazing planet."
The world-class architect Ayers Saint Gross and landscape architect Michael Vergason have partnered with St. Louis-based construction manager Alberici on the project, in coordination with several local engineers and consultants.
The Missouri Botanical Garden, fondly known as Shaw's Garden to St. Louisans, contains a formal English garden, traditional Japanese garden, Margaret Blanke Grigg Chinese garden, the Flower Trial Garden, greenhouses and extensive landscaping.
The garden also features the Climatron Complex, water lily reflection ponds and the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening.
The Climatron® geodesic dome and rainforest conservatory was dedicated 40 years ago in October 1960, replacing an old house built in 1913. The structure incorporates principles established by innovative architect R. Buckminster Fuller and was the first application of geodesic engineering for a greenhouse.
The St. Louis architecture firm of Murphy & Mackey developed plans for the facility with Garden director Frits W. Went, who coined the term, Climatron.
The dome is 70 feet high and 175 feet in diameter, permitting tall palm trees to tower majestically above the tropical vista of streams, waterfalls and 1,200 different species of exotic trees and plants. Temperature ranges from 64 to 74 degrees and average humidity is 85 percent.
Visitors can enjoy a sense of being in a jungle while making their way by orchids, passion flowers, hibiscus flowers, cycads and a number of endangered species. In 1976, the dome was named one of the 100 most significant architectural achievements in United States history.
The Garden, covering 79 acres, is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd, just south of Hwy 44 between Vandeventer and Grand. Extended summer hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays only from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Free parking on premises, as well as an extensive gift shop and restaurant with patio dining. For more information, call the GardenLine at 314-577-9400 or 800-642-8842.
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