Garden of Good and Evil

Criticism sprouts over the new attraction for kids at the Missouri Botanical Garden

"Sure we want to increase membership," says Belisle-Iffrig. "Part of keeping the garden a vital part of the community is catering to new demographics."

Critics, though, see the youth area as just another way to increase admission fees. Last year the garden received one-fourth of its $34 million in operating revenue from tax support, with remaining funds coming from sources such as admissions, memberships and bequests. While kids under the age of thirteen earn free entry to the general garden, admission to the children's section costs them $3. (Adults can enter the children's garden gratis.)

"Kids love that they need a ticket to enter," says Belisle-Iffrig. "It makes them the center of attention."

Some MoBot members and employees are turned off by the "theme park" façade.
Mark Gilliland
Some MoBot members and employees are turned off by the "theme park" façade.

Location Info


Missouri Botanical Garden

4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: St. Louis - Tower Grove

Even more rewarding, adds Belisle-Iffrig, is the impact the children's garden has on older visitors. "The coolest thing is watching parents and grandparents participate with their children. With obesity on the rise, and kids constantly plugged into the TV, it's great to see people enjoying an outdoor activity."

Disgruntled MoBot member Steve Duffy has a suggestion for one game the kiddies might enjoy playing inside the compound.

"The thing looks like Fort Apache. Why not have the kids dress like Indians and burn the thing to the ground?" he jokes. "That would be an improvement."

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