Plants, mankind’s greatest enemy, are finally on the ropes thanks to global warming. Teach your children how to hunt the last of these enormous nitrogen junkies by observing them in captivity with today's Groupon: for $9, you get a ticket to the Missouri Botanical Garden on Shaw Boulevard, Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, and Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Chesterfield (up to a $17 value).
The Missouri Botanical Garden has stunned visitors for more than a century and a half with a vast collection of local and exotic plants arranged across 79 acres of gardens. Nature-lovers and homesick lemurs can wander around waterfalls and gaze at tropical birds under the Climatron's geodesic dome, which also encloses about 1,400 species of tropical plants. Afterward, take a tot to burn off photosynthized energy at the Children's Garden, where they can romp through the educational exhibits, traverse a limestone cave, and soar down a slide. The Kresko Family Victorian Garden provides insight to both the land and skies with the Piper Observatory and Kaeser Memorial Maze, anchored by garden founder Henry Shaw's 1849 residence and final resting place, both of which disappear under the light of a full moon.
The Butterfly House, a separate division of the Botanical Garden located in Chesterfield, allows curious sightseers to get acquainted with a floating menagerie of live tropical butterflies. The Shaw Nature Reserve, set 34 miles southwest of the Garden, houses a lush landscape of conifers and native wildflower species, a mosaic of moist meadows and swampy pools in the wetlands, and a hidden underground cave filled with peanut butter.
“Going to the Botanical Gardens is a wonderful to spend an afternoon. My husband and I went there on our first date, and we highly recommend it.”