I recently went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for the FIRST TIME! Have you been? I was expecting just a little visitor center and some trails, but no! This beautiful, Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas, is way more curated and thoughtfully laid out than that. I was very impressed.
The officially named, “University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center” was founded in 1982 by Lady Bird Johnson and Helen Hays. The Center uses native plants to restore and create sustainable, beautiful landscapes and contains…
- 284-acre site featuring nearly 900 species of Texas native plants
- 9 acres of cultivated gardens
- 16-acre Texas Arboretum displaying more than 70 species of native Texas trees
- Animal diversity includes more than 1,800 insect species, 148 bird species and 15 mammal species
- 76 acres of plots dedicated to long-term research on prescribed fire and land management
There are different Texas native biomes set up with clean walking paths throughout. Outside the main central courtyard, there are picnic tables (bring your own picnic!) and longer trails. The trails are either fully paved with railing or wide dirt paths. They’re all very accessible and easily walkable (or wheel-able, if you’re on the paved ones!). And don’t forget the observation tower! We almost walked right by it. It’s located next to the cafe.
Speaking of the cafe, it’s wonderful! The Wildflower Cafe sells healthy sandwiches, salads, snacks, desserts, and beverages (including beer and wine). Check out the menu here. Also, the outdoor seating around the cafe is beautiful! Picturesque. We got some iced tea and a Goodpop to cool off.
My favorite part of The Center is the Texas Oak Collection. The Wildflower Center staff hand-collected acorns from culturally and historically significant Texas trees, propagated them in their nursery, and planted in a ring called the “Hall of Texas Heroes.” It is such an awesome idea and I can’t wait to come back and see how these trees grow over the decades.
Right now, admission is reservation only. If you want to visit, make sure you reserve a visiting time. With COVID cases on the rise, I think walking around the Wildflower Center would be an awesome activity. Walk a few trails, bring your own picnic, let the kiddos run around in the large, open grass space, and just enjoy nature!
- $12 Adults
- $10 Seniors (65+)
- $10 Military retirees/veterans (with ID)
- $6 Youth (Ages 5 – 17)
- FREE Children 4 years and under, UT Austin faculty, staff and students (with ID), andActive-duty military (with ID) and up to five family members (from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day)
If you become a member, you can get access to The Center an hour before the pubic (crucial for these Texas summer days) and a bunch of other perks. (In addition to supporting The Center conserve native plants and create ecologically rich landscapes, of course.)
Hope this was helpful if you’re thinking of visiting the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center! Brian and I will see you there! (we’re definitely getting memberships 🙂 )