GROW is a 5,000-square-foot pavilion and an acre of beautiful outdoor space. In the GROW Pavilion and Gallery, not only will you learn about your food’s journey from farm to table, you’ll learn the scientific processes that turn seeds into towering plants. Discover the story of agriculture and the many ways technology is shaping the agricultural landscape.
Many gallery features and activities are weather- and season-dependent.
Trace the steps of your food from the farm to the table – and everywhere in between. This award-winning indoor area features exhibits, educational programs and planned events that explore farming and its vital role in today’s complex local and global economies. Visit our seed display, view a stunning display of soil monoliths from every state in the United States, and check out the amazing glulam beams used to build the Pavilion.
MARSfarm Food Computer
MARSfarm works to inspire students’ interest in space travel and the future of farming through the use of Food Computer kits paired with Mars-centric STEM curriculum. Our kits and curriculum enable hands on learning about everything from plant physiology to computer science.
A food computer contains a plant growing area and a computer that controls operations like the amount of light and temperature. The computer is programmed to take measurements. Food computers like ours use hydroponics to grow the plants. Hydroponic means the plants grow in water instead of soil. To feed the plants, growers add nutrients into the water.
The FarmBot is a computer-controlled arm that not only distributes water into the garden but also detects and destroys weeds as well as optimize the space in which the plants grow. FarmBot uses the same Raspberry Pi processor chip that’s in the MARSfarm Food Computer.
Bi-State AG Map
The adventure begins at home. Dig into the agricultural products and processes of Missouri and Illinois and learn where your food comes from.
Water plays a vital role in agriculture, as well as our lives. While the kids play in this interactive water area, check out the nearby rain gardens and permeable pavement. Learn how we use this very important resource in farming and in our everyday lives.
Botany Basics at the Giant Sunflower
Explore the inner workings of plants and discover how they harvest the Sun’s energy to grow and support all life on Earth. Check out the native plantings and learn how plants spread and grow.
Plants aren’t the only source of food you can find on farms. Take a tour through the Animal Corral and simulated milking, understand the digestive processes of livestock, and learn how farmers manage feed conversion. On select days, local farmers visit and bring animals to visit. Past animal visitors have included dairy cows, goats, sheep, rabbits, alpaca, ostrich and baby pigs.
Farm Tech Field
Get your hands on today’s farming tools, from our huge combine to modern innovations like drones, environmental sensors, and our very own GROW BOT on select days. See our crops and learn how modern equipment, science and technology all are used on the farms of today— and tomorrow.
Agricultural growth isn’t always open fields and gigantic tractors. Many urban areas are demonstrating ways to grow specialty food crops like lettuce, kale and tomatoes indoors using aquaponic, hydroponic, and aeroponic systems. Visit our aquaponics demonstration on select days to see one way food can be grown indoors using fish. See example of current technologies utilized in indoor growing facilities and check out our very own FarmBot, exemplifying principles of open source agriculture.
Visit the Fermentation Station (open seasonally) to purchase refreshments like beer, wine, kombucha, as well as more substantial offerings like burgers from the on-site burger bar, sausage, and cheese and fruit plates. While you’re visiting, check out the grape vines that encircle the space.
Get your hands dirty as you learn about worms like red wigglers and their important role in agriculture and soil health. Measure, observe, and witness this amazing invertebrate at our outdoor worm farm.
Meet the Farmers
Meet the farmers who grow our food and raise our animals through interactive exhibits and visits from farmers. Be sure to check our calendar and social media for guests and announcements.
Introduce your children to life on the farm with Tractor Run at GROW. Kids can take the wheel of a mini-tractor and ride around our fun, farm-inspired track. Tickets are available at the Science Center. Call our box office at 314.289.4400 for more information. Children: $2 per 4-minute ride.
The Tractor Run is available only on the weekends during the Fall Season.
Hear the story behind the egg. Learn all about our chicken flock and even feed our chickens a “snack” during our Chicken Chats held daily at the chicken coop. Learn what you need to start raising your own birds, or even about how humans have shaped the genetics of birds through selective breeding.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Visit the homeGROWn area for ideas about how to start your own edible plot. See specialty food crops like beans, garlic, peppers, and squash up close and visit with our staff and volunteers for tips on growing. Visit our compost area and learn how to turn food scraps into fertilizer.
GROW is accessible to visitors with disabilities, as well as visitors with strollers, scooters, and walkers. Elevators and ramps serve all public areas.