By Bruce Carlson

In this delightful narrative, let’s venture across the Mississippi and embark on a family adventure to the enchanting St. Louis Botanical Gardens. While not located in the Metro East area, the allure of this iconic destination is too irresistible not to include in our reports.

One evening, as we conversed with our son and his family about potential activities to do together, the St. Louis Botanical Gardens came up as a compelling option. To my surprise, everyone was enthusiastic about the idea, making it an easy decision to set off on this shared experience.

One of the oldest botanical gardens

Known as one of the oldest botanical gardens in the U.S., the St. Louis Botanical Gardens promised a memorable day filled with natural wonders and cherished moments. The excitement built as we drove up to our son’s home, ready to embark on this captivating journey as a family.

Navigating through St. Louis was an easy drive, but parking proved to be a bit of a challenge. The streets surrounding the gardens were lined with cars, and the parking lot was packed. Determined to secure a spot, we patiently circled around, hoping to find someone leaving soon.

After about 20 minutes, we struck luck and secured a parking space, eager to begin our botanical adventure. Upon entering the gardens, we paid our admission and started our leisurely stroll through the lush and vibrant grounds.

I’m no expert on flowers and plants

While I’m no expert on flowers and plants, Karen’s passion for them was evident as she excitedly pointed out various plants and shared her knowledge with us. Our granddaughters were having a blast, carefree and joyful as they roamed freely through the garden, their infectious laughter filling the air.

As we wandered through this botanical wonderland, we couldn’t resist capturing the beauty surrounding us, clicking away with our cameras. The granddaughters, in particular, were on a photo-taking spree, capturing every magical moment they encountered.

Corpse flower

Among the captivating displays, the most intriguing was the corpse flower, a towering plant that blooms only when it has accumulated enough energy for the extraordinary process. This rare spectacle can occur as infrequently as once every 7 years, making our timing all the more special.

As the day progressed, we immersed ourselves in the various cultural settings and diverse exhibits the gardens offered. The experience was both enlightening and awe-inspiring, leaving us with cherished memories to hold onto.

As the afternoon waned

As the afternoon waned, we reluctantly bid farewell to the St. Louis Botanical Gardens, cherishing the enjoyable moments and eagerly looking forward to future visits. This captivating experience brought us closer as a family, leaving us with a shared adventure to cherish for years to come.

We hope you are enjoying these articles and are willing to continue to follow along as we move through the process of selling our house, buying a new house (to become our home), and the adventures of learning about life in southern Illinois, Bruce & Karen.

We’re Bruce and Karen Carlson. We recently moved to the Metro East area of Illinois. This area is east of St. Louis from the Mississippi River north to Alton, east to Carlyle, back south to Waterloo and the Mississippi River, finally north to Columbia. The center is Fairview Heights, Swansea, Belleville, Shiloh, and O'Fallon. Not to be forgotten is Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Edwardsville. It’s a whole new world out there. Our goal with this website is to share our exploration of the Metro East area. As we find businesses and services we use in our daily lives, we’ll share how these businesses and services have helped make our lives better and easier to live.

We’re calling our move to the Metro East area retirement, but we’re not quite sure what that means. By sharing our story with you, we hope you too will gain a better sense of what the Metro East area has to offer and how their businesses and services can improve your lives and build a better community.