The Conservation & Education Center is a free-admission, 7,500 square-foot space off the lobby of the Aquarium that consists of three main galleries: River Gallery, Discovery Gallery and the Rain Garden. The galleries consist of science-based, interactive exhibits on the topic of water conservation, health of ecosystems, local waterways, and the Mississippi Watershed. The Center is open the same hours as the St. Louis Aquarium.
The River Gallery is the first room that features three river-themed exhibits: River Dance LED display presented by Enterprise Bank & Trust Foundation that shows the shifts in the course of the Mississippi River throughout history; a Digital Globe where visitors can explore the world’s rivers and waterways; and What’s Your Watershed presented by Kent Family Foundation where guests enter their zip code to see where their water flows on a map of the United States, with digital screens to learn about issues that affect watershed health.
The Discovery Gallery consists of ways to learn more about how people can individually – or as a community – make a difference in the health of our aquatic ecosystems. These exhibits feature: Get Involved! Action Kiosks where visitors can access information about getting involved in water conservation activities in our region, take the Eco-Footprint Quiz to see how your actions affect the environment, and learn ways to project our waterways with tips from our exhibit sponsor Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District; Species Discovery presented by Nance Frost features four local river animals to learn how they affect and are affected by water quality; a Plastics Sculpture display that is a beautiful and poignant exhibition of plastic bottles (representing the large quantity of “plastic islands” floating in the ocean) integrated with interpretation about water pollution and global solutions; and an Interactive River Wall Game with a multi-touch “game” about cleaning up a river ecosystem.
The Rain Garden is a beautiful outdoor space in the Conservation & Education Center featuring signs explaining how a rain garden works and how it can benefit the environment and the health of our waterways. You can also learn how to create your own rain garden at home with the help of our exhibit sponsor Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District! We plan to use this space in our education programs and summer camp experiences to allow kids an outdoor place where they can get a little dirty while learning and having fun. This space and the selected plants are designed in partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden.