ST. LOUIS – After breaking ground in 2020, the new Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden will be ready to open in August. It’s much more than just a new place to get tickets.

“We wanted visitors to be engaged with the garden, to understand what the garden’s mission is even before they get in the front door,” said Deniz Piskin, the Garden’s Vice President of Facilities and Construction.

Visitors will be greeted by new gardens before reaching the entrance. Once inside, you will find a new auditorium, new visitor engagement center, expanded sassafras café, and a bigger gift shop.

“Two to three times larger than the gift store we had before. It’s got a very large skylight to help support some of our plant sales.”

Accessibility to the main garden area has been greatly improved.

“Our visitors do not have to use any of the interior stairs or elevators when you are inside the Jack C. Taylor Visitor’s Center,” said Piskin. “And then you can walk straight into the garden through the south exit.”

Once out in the new South Garden, you’ll find connected walkways to other well-known garden landmarks and lots of brand-new garden beds.  

“We’re planting over 330 different species, thirty percent of which are endangered,” said Piskin. “So, it showcases some of our conservation efforts around the world.”

The entire project was sustainably designed. Things like locally sourced stone, solar panels, rain barrels, and expanded electric vehicle parking helped make the project Leed Gold Certified.

“We wanted it to be a staple or a gem or an example for the Leed environment as far as projects go,” said Piskin.

The new visitor’s center is part of the $100 million Gateway to the Garden campaign, funded entirely through private donations.

“We’ve been fortunate to have great partners both from the donor community and the community, and the construction teams, the architects, the engineers,” said Piskin.