Located just south of St Louis, Missouri, at 10501 Gravois Road, Grant's Farm is a wildlife preserve covering more than 280 acres. Open from early April through to late October, the historical site offers the opportunity to observe wild animals from around the world up close and in a natural setting. Admission is free, although a small parking fee is charged.
Ulysses S Grant, who became the 18th President of the United States, and his wife Julia Dent received part of this land as a wedding gift from the Dent family. In 1855 Grant began building a cabin on the land and established his farm, which he named 'Hardscrabble'. The property was sold out of the Grant family in 1895; belonging to various owners before it was purchased by Aldophus A Busch in 1907 - from which time the land has served as the ancestral home of the Busch family. Anheuser-Busch Inc, the Busch family brewery, now operates it as a wildlife preserve.
Ride the Tram
A visit to Grant's Farm will begin with a comfortable tram ride from the front entrance past Grant's cabin (restored by Anheuser-Busch in 1977) along the fence constructed of Civil War-era rifle barrels, and through the deer park. The deer park is a natural setting for hundreds of animals including bison, North American wapati, Pere David deer, black buck antelope, and Scottish Highland cows among other species. Don't forget a camera as there are dozens of photo opportunities along the route. The tram will stop at the Tier Garten.
The Tier Garten
The Tier Garten (German for zoological garden) is similar to a very small zoo with a much more open, interactive layout. It is designed to educate guests while entertaining them. There is the opportunity to pet or feed some animals such as camels, llamas, and donkeys. The Tier Garten Amphitheatre offers animal shows featuring elephants, birds (including falcons or eagles), and other animals.
Constructed in 1913, the Bauernhof (German for farmstead) was the first structure the Busch family built on the property. It included stables, offices, quarters for those who worked there, and a carriage house surrounding a large courtyard. Situated just across the road from the Tier Garten, the Bauernhof now features a room displaying an array of horse tack, a trophy room, and several Busch family pictures. Horses are still boarded in the stables, and the carriage house now contains an impressive collection of 18th- and 19th-Century carriages. All the carriages have been immaculately restored, and many of them are still used today for parades and other special functions. Refreshments are available in the courtyard.
From the Bauernhof the tram will return guests to the front gate to browse through the gift shop before returning to the parking lot. But before getting in the car, why not visit...
The world-famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales can be found at the other end of the parking lot. Grant's Farm is one of two breeding facilities operated by the brewery, and at any given time is home to about 35 Clydesdales producing as many as 15 foals per year. Beyond the stables is a small amphitheatre with daily shows about these magnificent horses. Surrounding the amphitheatre are vast fields for the horses to run and exercise in. Horses in the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale team must meet strict physical standards regarding size and colouring. The Clydesdale team is prominently featured in much of the advertising for Anheuser-Busch, as well as in various parades and events all around the country.
Visitors of all ages will enjoy a fun and educational afternoon at Grant's Farm. Reservations used to be required but aren't any longer, though visitors will want to arrive early in the day to avoid long queues to board the trams.