Fort de Chartres
Located south of St. Louis near Praire du Rocher, Illinois, this fort was first built by the French in 1720 during their eighteenth-century colonization of the area. Due to its location in the floodplain of the Mississippi River, it had to be rebuilt twice. What's left of the limestone iteration, originally built in 1753, is considered the oldest building in the state of Illinois. The rest has been partially reconstructed and offers a glimpse into the area's past.
Another snapshot of French colonialism in the region can be found in Missouri's oldest town, Ste. Geneviève. Settlers from France, Canada, and other French-held territories settled in this spot along the Mississippi river in 1735. The distinct French Creole colonial architecture and culture have been well-preserved in museums and throughout the historic downtown.
Right across the Mississippi from St. Louis is the site of a Native American city which at one time was among the most populous metropolises in the world, even exceeding London. The name of the historic site refers to the awe-inspiring manmade earthen mounds which were built by the Mississippian people of Cahokia. Visitors can still see some of these mounds on the site, as well as a Museum & Interpretive Center.
Missouri Botanical Garden
This world-renowned botanic research and educational center sits on 79 acres in the city of St. Louis. Founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw, the lush grounds today include Shaw's original 1850 home, a 14-acre Japanese garden (the largest in North America), the Climatron (the world's first geodesic dome greenhouse), glass sculptures by Daly Chihuly, and much more.
Spreading across over 1,300 acres on the site of the 1904 World's Fair in the heart of St. Louis, Forest Park is known as one of the best city parks in the United States. Visitors are drawn by the beauty of the park's ecosystems, opportunities for recreation, and the 5 major cultural institutions located within the bounds of the park: Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, The Muny, and Saint Louis Zoo.