As the calendar turns toward March and spring approaches, it's time to shake off the winter doldrums, get outdoors and enjoy nature.
If you want to throw a little art into the mix, the Show-Me State has just what you need.
From the rural setting of Louisiana to the urban environs of Kansas City, Missouri has beautiful gardens and sculpture parks where you connect with both nature and eye-catching works of art that turn your casual stroll into a memorable experience.
Here's a look at some of the gardens and sculpture parks to explore this spring:
Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis - One of the Show-Me State's most well-known sculpture parks, Laumeier includes the oft-photographed Eye, which was created by Tony Tasset. The park holds 60 works of art and covers more than 100 acres.
St. Louis University's Lay Center, Louisiana - Surrounded by meadows and hills, the 20-acre sculpture park features Story Woods, an area where artists have interpreted literature and art in a natural setting.
Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, Kansas City - Located on the grounds of the iconic Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the 22-acre sculpture park has 36 sculptures, including the well-known Shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
Powell Gardens, Kingsville - More an architecture lover's dream than traditional sculpture park, this outdoor oasis near Kansas City covers nearly 1,000 acres and boasts a handful of buildings, including the Meadow Pavilion and the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel, designed by architect E. Fay Jones.
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis - Like Powell Gardens, the 79-acre Missouri Botanical Garden has beautiful and interesting architecture. The 57-year-old, dome-shaped Climatron is an example of innovative design, while Tower Grove House and Linnean House are stunning representations of mid-to-late 1800s construction.
Citygarden, St. Louis - In the heart of downtown, Citygarden is an artistic playground for people of all ages. While the early spring may be too early (that is, COLD!) to enjoy water features, there's never a bad time to interact with installations, such as Igor Mitoraj's Eros Bendato.
Friends' Sculpture Garden, Poplar Bluff - On the grounds of the Margaret Harwell Art Museum, the garden includes a mule sculpture by Missourian Rachel Wilson and a bright yellow guitar created by St. Louis artist and monk, Brother Mel Meyer.
Webster Groves Sculpture Park, Webster Groves - This park features the work of three artists (Catharine Magel, Ernest Trova and Carol Fleming) who have St. Louis ties. Magel's Inflorescence is an intricate, bird-shaped mosaic that's sure to catch your eye.