2024 Convention – Trips and Closing Event

Gesneriads Meet in St. Louis

June 30 to July 6, 2024

Sunday Afternoon, June 30 — Tour St. Louis:  Our bus will leave at noon for our guided tour with our first stop at Ted Drewes for Frozen Custard to enjoy this dessert for which St. Louis is noted. We will then drive past the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and Busch Stadium and then stop for about two hours at the Gateway Arch National Park. You will have time to visit the free museum exploring the history of St. Louis and enjoy the 91-acre park and view the Mississippi River. For a fee, you can see a documentary movie about the construction of the arch or take a tram to the top of the Arch for great views. (You will need to pre-book the tram when you register for convention as tickets are timed and not available to book last minute). Reboarding the bus we will continue on to Forest Park, former site of the 1904 World’s Fair, to view the many museums and other free attractions there before traveling down Lindell Boulevard to see the historic homes on Millionaires Row. Continuing the tour, we will briefly stop to visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis known for the largest mosaic collection in the world outside Russia.

Monday, July 1 — Missouri Botanical Garden. We will arrive at the gardens when it opens at 9 a.m. (admission will be on your own as there are various levels of fees). Missouri Botanical Garden is the oldest and one of the largest botanical gardens in the country covering 79 acres. The Linnean House is the oldest greenhouse in continuous existence west of the Mississippi River. The Climatron is a geodesic dome built in 1960 to house the tropical plant collection including gesneriads. There is something for everyone at the garden. At the gardens you can tour on your own and/or take a tram tour for a modest fee. Lunch will be on your own at the Café after which we will split with Group A remaining in the garden for more time there. Groups B and C will re-board the bus. Group B will include those who have registered to take a guided tour of the Herbarium and Library, including the rare book room. Those in Group C will have registered to visit the nearby National Blues Museum. Mid-afternoon, all groups will again board the bus and return to our hotel.

Tuesday Morning, July 2 — Trip to Grant’s Farm with options. Originally built by Ulysses S. Grant, the 281-acre tract is now operated by Anheuser-Busch and is home to some 900 animals. Everyone will have about an hour to walk around to see the attractions and/or to take the free tram tour. Clydesdale horses are an important part of Grant’s Farm and St. Louis history. We will split into two groups, with one remaining at the farm for those who have registered and paid for the close-up encounter with the Clydesdales or simply want to spend the rest of the morning there. The second group will be for those who registered (free) to visit either the St. Louis Art Museum or Missouri History Museum. At the Art Museum, you’ll see works by masters like Monet, Degas, and Picasso, as well as one of the world’s best collections of 20th-century German art. At the History Museum, you’ll learn about the key moments that shaped St. Louis including the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the 1904 World’s Fair, and Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic.

Saturday Closing Event, July 6 — The convention finale will be held downtown at Union Station, a unique blend of well-maintained/renovated historic features and modern innovations. At 6 pm we will view the ten-minute 3D light show set to music projected across the entire historic vaulted ceiling of Union Station and then walk about two blocks for dinner at Lombardo’s Trattoria. We will then return to the plaza lake area to view the dazzling display featuring a 100-foot waterfall with 50 nozzles that spray water 40 feet down into the lake. Lights synchronize with music for a colorful display of patterns with explosions of fire from eight lotus-shaped pods. We will then reboard our bus for a short ride to view downtown and the Arch at night before returning to the Frontenac.

More detailed information can be found in our 1Q24 journal and on the Registration Information pages on the Society website.