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 River Gallery is the first room that features three river-themed exhibits: River Dance LED display 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 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 organizations or activities in our region; Species Discovery will feature four local river animals to learn how they affect and are affected by water quality; a Plastics Sculpture display that will be 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 will be a beautiful 1,200 square foot outdoor space in the Conservation & Education Center. It will feature a working rain garden with signs explaining how it works and how it benefits the environment and the health of our waterways. It will also include signs explaining how to create a rain garden at home. 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.