Written by John Egan- Guest Post provided by Scotts Contracting-St Louis Renewable Energy
Eight One-Day Green Adventures in St. Louis
Long before the Arch, the Cardinals, and even Judy Garland’s starring role in “Meet Me in St. Louis,” the Gateway to the West city was an ecological wonderland dotted with earthen Indian mounds at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Even today, there’s a surprising amount of ecological wonders and eco-minded attractions an hour’s drive from the city (and many are located right within St. Louis itself).
Whether you live here or are just visiting, be sure not to miss any of these green must-see places in St. Louis:
Sandy Island Bald Eagle Sanctuary – Part of the Nature Conservancy, this 28-acre habitat, located a short distance from downtown, provides a much-needed safe place for wintering bald eagles that frequent this stretch of the Mississippi River. Viewing platforms provide close-range viewing of the nesting birds; January and February are the best months for observation.
Forest Park – Located right in the heart of downtown, this 1370-acre park is not your typical urban oasis. Larger than Central Park in New York City, it draws more than 12 million visitors a year to its many attractions. In addition to the usual baseball, soccer, cycling, boating, ice skating and other athletic pursuits, Forest Park is where you’ll find the city’s Art Museum, Zoo, History Museum, Science Center and Opera House. You could spend an entire week here! Equally important to all the amusements is the fact that in a city where 80% of the land has been developed for business, the park provides a welcome rest for migrating birds, local wildlife and two-legged critters looking for a place to interact with nature.
Gateway Arch – No visit to St. Louis is complete without making a trek to the top of this 630-foot monument, our nation’s tallest. Entrance into the Arch is free, but there is a fee to ride to the top. The view makes it very much worth the cost – you can see for over 30 miles on a clear day.
While there, book a Riverboat cruise and experience what river travel was like during our nation’s rapid western expansion period. One-hour cruises are available, as are dinner and special event cruises. Mark Twain, anyone?
Perhaps best of all, the 250 acres of surrounding land are currently undergoing a major landscaping overhaul, opening up the park at the base into a world-class natural park.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery –Come take the free tour and learn how Anheuser-Busch has been making beer for over the past century; if you’re over 21, tastings of the latest brews await at the end of the tour. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, you’ve probably heard of the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses. These magnificent (and unbelievably HUGE) animals can be viewed in their stables, where visitors can meet the stars of those fantastic Super Bowl commercials.
As the oldest and largest of the Anheuser-Busch breweries nationwide, the St. Louis location comprises three historic landmarks and recycles more than 99% of the solid waste it generates.
Busch Stadium – Although fans are still nursing their wounds after a tough playoff loss to the Giants this year, there is plenty to be proud of with the St. Louis Cardinals, including the greening of Busch Stadium. Over 32,000 kilowatt hours of solar energy are produced here each year by 106 solar panels, so there’s a good chance your seventh inning popcorn was popped using the sun’s energy. Since 2008, the stadium has also diverted 1,836 tons of waste to recycling, on its way toward an overall 29 percent diversion rate.
Missouri Botanical Garden – On the surface, this 79-acre garden offers a wide variety of nature-themed entertainment, from flower exhibitions that vary with the seasons, to live music shows and cultural festivals. There are outdoor gardens, conservatory specimens under a glass dome and international-themed displays. But the roots (pun intended) of this national Historic Landmark and nation’s oldest botanical garden run much deeper: its mission is to take an active stand for plant conservation and sustainability and to promote ways of living that are healthy for humans as well as the planet. Daily tours are free.
Butterfly House – Just outside the city is the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, featuring an indoor tropical conservatory that is home to nearly 2,000 tropical butterflies flying free among 150 varieties of tropical plants. If you’ve never seen a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, you will here. Other attractions include the Exhibit Hall, where you can observe small invertebrates and spiders, and the outdoor garden with plants specially selected to be attractive to native butterflies.
Shaw Nature Reserve – Operated as an extension of the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Reserve serves two important functions. About half the acreage is set aside for research on ecological restoration and habitat management. Additionally, homeowners and professionals alike come here to discover better ways to landscape their properties using native plants and improved growing techniques. The Whitmire Wildflower Garden and home gardening areas provide live examples of hardy, native plants so visitors can actually see what they should be planting. Also on site is the Edgar Anderson Center, a LEED #8482- gold-certified support facility that includes an innovative cooling system, passive solar features and energy-efficient lighting.
From butterflies to ballgames, St. Louis is a growing hub of green energy and progress. Take a daytrip today and explore your city!
guest post provided by Scotty, Scotts Contracting