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.
The GROW Greenhouse
The GROW aquaponic greenhouse is now open for self-guided exploration during the Science Center’s normal operating hours! Additional improvements are on the way. Thanks to a grant from the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, we are working on improved signage to better explain the hydroponic systems on display in the greenhouse and highlight careers in the indoor growing industry, ranging from aquaponic farming to lighting design. Christopher, a teen from the Youth Exploring Science (YES) program, will be stationed primarily at the greenhouse this summer. Christopher will be available to chat with guests while making observations on successes and challenges impacting productivity.
Summertime in GROW
The summer season is well underway in GROW! The garlic planted last fall was recently harvested and is curing so it can be safely stored and used for months to come. Curing is the process of drying out bulbs like garlic and onion so that you can store them all winter. Some of these garlic cloves will be used to grow new bulbs. They will be planted this October for harvest next June or July.
Right now, we’ve got summer crops like melons, corn, okra and even our giant pumpkin growing steadily. Come check out our summer crops’ progress next time you’re in GROW!
Can you DIG it or do you PICK it?
Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown is not as common as it once was. As we have become reliant on purchasing food from grocery stores and restaurants, we have become less connected to the ways our food is grown. When our guests visit the GROW Gallery, many of them are seeing for the first time how an onion grows, that cucumbers grow on a vine or that unharvested lettuce heads will produce flowers and seeds.
From Clean Energy to Community: Sustainability and the Giant Picture
Asked what the word sustainability means to her, Maddie pauses for a minute to pull up a quote on her computer. “I want to get this definition right,” she says. “Sustainability means healthy people, communities, and environments, now and in the future.”
How to Extract Strawberry DNA
In this easy science experiment, Lauren shows us how to extract DNA from a strawberry using common household materials.
Honey Bees Get a New Home
While we are closed, the plants and animals at the Science Center still need to be cared for. That includes the honey bees in the outdoor GROW area. Follow along as Hannah and Maddie move an entire honey bee colony to their new home.
Membership does more.
As a nonprofit, the Saint Louis Science Center relies on memberships, donations and ticket sales to support free galleries like Ecology & Environment, our education programs, community outreach and daily operation.
If you’d like to support the Science Center’s mission, learn more about membership, make a one-time gift in support of the Science Center, or get tickets to see a show.
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.
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.
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.
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 Programs for Groups
The Science Center offers a wide variety of agriculture-themed educational programs and tours tailored to specific groups and audiences.
GROW is accessible to visitors with disabilities, as well as visitors with strollers, scooters, and walkers. Elevators and ramps serve all public areas.