Botanical carols, lights and fruits (Dec. 13-14, 21 and 30)

December 12, 2008

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s getting a new entrance configuration, but the holiday festivities are going on strong inside, so it’s well worth finding the temporary alternate entrances (around the corners at 2019 Tower Grove Ave. and 1940 Alfred Ave.) Free parking near the entrances, as well as an overflow lot a couple blocks to the west, is available during the construction, which should be wrapped up by this coming March.

So you’re set logistically — and here’s what to expect once you arrive at the Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa festivals:

  • Christmas Carols in the Garden (Dec. 13-14): Santa, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, gingerbread house displays, carolers … and this weekend, maybe even some snow flurries to really get you in the spirit.  Festivities run from 1 to 5 p.m. each day and are included with the regular admission price ($8, $4 for city/county residents, free for members and kids under 13).  However, to save the admission price, come before noon on Saturday, when city and county residents, as always, are admitted free with proof of their address. The free tram will be running between the main center and the Spink Pavilion, where Santa’s sleigh will be located.
  • Chanukah: Festival of Lights (Dec. 21): This traditional Jewish celebration focuses on the lighting of the first candle on the menorah at noon, with festive music and dance rounding out the ceremony until 4 p.m. Performers range from local children’s groups to contemporary Israeli folk musicians. There will also be a “shuk,” or marketplace, with traditional Chanukah items for sale by local congregations.
  • Kwanzaa: Festival of First Fruits (Dec. 30): An educational introduction to the seven-day harvest-themed celebration honoring African traditions and history will be conducted twice, at noon and 3 p.m., with candles lit for each of the seven principles plus storytelling and music.

There’s much more detail about all the events at the garden’s homepage, as well as a map showing the temporary entrances. You can also learn more about a bonus, non-holiday event on Dec. 18:  a photo session with a Budweiser Clydesdale from 9 to 11 a.m. in anticipation of the St. Louis float in the Tournament of Roses Parade.  The automated events hotline is 314.577.9400.


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