Olbrich Home Rooted and Growing

Regional & International Tours

Each year, Olbrich invites Botanical Society members and the public to travel to places close to home and far away. Try new foods, see the sights, and shop at some of the best stores and plant nurseries.

Regional Tour

Springtime in St. Louis

ClimatronApril 23-27, 2019

Don't delay! Register by Friday, March 22!

See St. Louis like never before! Called the "Gateway to the West," this trip will leave you calling St. Louis the "Gateway to Great Gardens!"Join Olbrich Botanical Gardens' Horticulturist, Erin Presley on this tour of springtime splendor.

En route to St. Louis, we'll stop for a visit to the Quad Cities Botanical Center in Rock Island, Illinois adjacent to the Mississippi River. Highlights include an indoor tropical atrium, a physically enabling garden, outdoor gardens with spring bulbs and a large iris collection, and a gift shop.

Flower SpheresDay two starts with a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden and its infamous Climatron greenhouse. The Climatron is the first geodesic dome to be used as a conservatory, and in 1976 was named one of the 100 most significant architectural achievements in United States history. The Climatron has no interior support and no columns from floor to ceiling, allowing more light and space per square foot for plants than conventional conservatory designs.

Later in the morning, sit back and relax during a bus tour through Tower Grove Park. A wooded, Victorian park with grassy  meadows, approximately 7,000 trees, and many varied flowerbeds make the park an impressive urban green space.

Rest and refuel with lunch and a cup of joe from Kaldi's Coffee in downtown St. Louis, followed by a visit to Citygarden. With the hustle and bustle of downtown St. Louis, Citygarden is a welcome respite. BuildingOnce a two block stretch of grass, Citygarden was developed into an urban park and sculpture garden that opened in 2009. Marvel at the sculptures and urban garden spaces during a private tour of the site.

Then, enjoy a ride through Forest Park, owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, and considered one of the nation's greatest urban parks. With 1,300 acres of beautiful, varied landscapes and five of the region's major cultural institutions calling Forest Park home, it's easy to see why this urban oasis attracts 13 million visitors each year!

To end day two, you'll be treated to a tour of a private urban garden in St. Louis. Details are being finalized, but this will be a tour you'll remember!

Day three starts with a tour of The Garden Classroom at Meramec from Program Coordinator Jerry Pence. The Garden Classroom is a "living laboratory for students and a botanical garden for the St. Louis Community College community." Strolling through this living laboratory, you'll find specialty gardens including the confier garden, bog garden, All America display bed, native gardens, and more, while hearing how this cutting-edge garden is implementing a new master plan.


Gateway ArchNext, you'll travel to suburban St. Louis for another exclusive private garden tour.

After lunching on your own, it's time to see St. Louis from high in the sky! A trip to St. Louis wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Gateway Arch. Founded by the National Park Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental United States, the Gateway Arch celebrates the diverse people who shaped the region and the country. As you wander, notice how the landscape around the Arch reflects the curvilinear nature of the structure.

End the day with dinner on your own and time to explore downtown St. Louis or relax at the hotel.

To begin day four, we'll switch things up a bit and visit the Transportation Museum. The National Museum of Transportation houses "one of the largest and best collections of transportation vehicles in the world," according to the Smithsonian Institution. You're free to wander through the museum on your own, but you might want to check out The Earl C. Lindburg Automobile Center to see ten decades of automobile history.

After lunch, we'll travel to a local garden center and if you've got the shoping bug, you'll be delighted by Greenscape Gardens & Gifts. Take time to peruse everything from trees and shrubs to tropical plants, garden accessories, and pottery. Maybe you'll find the perfect souvenir to take home!

A visit to the Shaw Nature Reserve is next on the agenda and will highlight native gardening at its finest. Consider a stroll through the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, with five plant community areas (woodland, wetland, glade, savanna, and prairie) and a home gardening area that includes a native perennial garden, rock garden, prairie garden, water garden, woodland garden, and rain garden. More than 800 native Missouri plant species are on display!

At night, enjoy a group dinner to bid farewell to spectacular St. Louis.

We'll head for home on Saturday and make one final stop to see Washington Park Botanical Garden in Springfield, Illinois. With 20 acres of land and 10 specialty gardens, more than 1800 species of plants are on display. The Conservatory features more than 150 species of exotic and economically important plants. Surrounding the conservatory are a variety of gardens, including a 5,000 plant rose garden, the largest of its kind in central Illinois.

Tour Includes:

  • Round-trip motorcoach transportation from Madison
  • 4 nights at Hampton Inn St. Louis - Downtown
  • Daily continental breakfast at the hotel
  • 2 lunches and 1 dinner
  • All entrances and fees to activities/gardens listed above, plus a few surprises
  • Free time to explore the great city of St. Louis
  • Travel with Erin Presley, Horticulturist at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Starting at $1,049 per person, double occupancy

For more information, or to book this tour, contact Burkhalter Tours:
Shaina Flum - Group Travel Coordinator
Phone: 1-800-556-9286 Ext. 250
Email: sflum@burkhaltertravel.com

Registration Form (PDF)arrow


St. Louis

St. Louis

St. Louis


LOOK: Tropical Tessellations | Daily, through March 24

Winter Concert Series | Sunday Afternoons through March 31

Cocktails in the Conservatory | March 22

Guided Garden Strolls | Sundays, May 5 - October 13

Plant Sale with the Pros | Friday, May 10 & Saturday, May 11

Mother's Day Concert | Sunday, May 12

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719