Saint Louis University

Lay Center for Education & the Arts

Lay Center for Education and the Arts is SLU's meeting space, sculpture park and sleeping quarters located near Louisiana, Missouri. It features beautiful grounds and an atmosphere conducive to learning and reflection.  For your safety, Lay Center will be closed each year in mid-November during deer season.  Please call ahead during that time to ensure access to the park at 573-754-4726.

Lay Center Creek

Overnight Accommodations

Lay Center provides sleeping accommodations for up to 48 guests. The 12 bedrooms are equipped with dressers, reading lamps, coat racks and desks. Showers and restrooms are conveniently located near all rooms.

Meeting Space

Meeting spaces vary in both size and style. The spacious auditorium provides seating for up to 75 people, while four smaller classrooms (two of which are laboratories) seat up to 20. These classrooms are perfect for science workshops and teacher enhancement training.

Lay Center Auditorium


With a seating capacity of more than 50, the cafeteria is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and can be used as a meeting space. The kitchen is complete with all cooking amenities and food service can be provided to meet your needs.


This 350-acre property is a nature lover's dream. The five mile walking trail winds through a primarily oak-hickory forest with several open fields and two lakes. Throughout the trail, signage has been posted to help guests identify the seasonal flora and fauna. This trail is perfect for science class field trips.

Lay Center Bedroom

Henry Lay Sculpture Park

Set on approximately 20 acres, the Sculpture Park is surrounded by 350-acres of natural meadows, wooded rolling hills, lakes and streams.

A well-maintained path takes guests on a 40-minute walk through a working Maple Grove, the McElwee Cemetery and most importantly a plethora of sculpture. Artists with pieces represented in the park are New York based Wendy Klemperer, Portland's Devin Laurence field, Beijing artist Bing Cheng and Brian Rust from Augusta, Georgia.

Story Woods

Visitors to the Henry Lay Sculpture Park will have the opportunity to read, play on and picnic in Story Woods. Emilie (Uh-meel-yuh) the story keeper and her garden of books greet guests as they enter this play land of art, literature and nature. Story Woods is a collaboration between artists Michele vandenHeuvel and Henry Lay. It allows guests the opportunity to experience literature and artworks as various artists interpret them in natural settings. This children's area provides a place where imagination and learning can be stimulated through visual, tactile and spiritual encounters.

Lay Center Horse Sculpture


Saint Louis University's Lay Center for Education and the Arts is a 350-acre property located in historic Louisiana, Missouri. This Mississippi River town, founded in 1808 by French settlers, is known for its rolling landscapes, gracious historic homes and the state's most intact Victorian streetscape.

John McElwee, a Revolutionary War hero, and his wife, Rhonda Black, first settled this farm property in 1832. McElwee and his 12 grandchildren are buried on the property in the McElwee-Stewart-Carr Cemetery.

Lay Center Entrance Gate

Henry Anthony Lay (April 11, 1941-Oct. 5, 2000) an alumnus of Saint Louis University School of Law, purchased the property in May 1996. Lay's generous support of the University through donations and scholarships has enabled hundreds of young people to further their quest for knowledge and improve themselves through education.

The Lay Center for Education and the Arts is the culmination of Henry Lay's dream of establishing a place where literature and art are combined with the beauty of nature to stimulate learning and imagination.

Getting There

Travel west on I-70 to Wentzville; take Highway 61 north, about three miles north of Bowling Green, exit onto Highway UU east for five and half miles. Lay Center for Education and the Arts will be on your right.

Give us a call at 314-977-MEET (6338) or send us an e-mail at to begin planning your next event.

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