A visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the perfect way to spend a spring day in Austin, enjoying an explosion of color and taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Amid the entirely native array of blossoming buds, you’ll find well-manicured trails, cascading fountains, statues made from recycled goods, an old carriage house art display, and a charming stone observation tower for spectacular aerial views of the gardens.
The vibrant, colorful display of flora is home to butterflies, humming birds, dragonflies, and lizards. You’ll find lily pads growing in the wetland pond, red-eared slider turtles taking a dip, and the occasional ribbon snake slithering through the water.
Founded by Our Texas Matriarch
Situated on almost 280 acres in southwest Austin, the Wildflower Center was founded in 1982 by our Texas matriarch, Lady Bird Johnson, and actress Helen Hayes. According to its website, the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to “increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.”
A Living Laboratory: The Ideal Place to Learn About Texas Plants, Trees and Wildflowers
The Wildflower Center became an official component of the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. A one-mile Restoration Research Trail serves as a living laboratory, where students, experts, and visitors study the ecology of the Texas Hill Country. If you’re planning a native garden or a landscaping project of your own, the Wildflower Center is an ideal place to learn about local Texas plants, trees, soil, and of course, wildflowers.
Home to a café and gift shop, walking tours, and benches strategically placed throughout the gardens, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers visitors a relaxed all-day event, or a quick getaway, just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city. Volunteers are knowledgeable about the history, the grounds, and the plants, encouraging every guest to learn more.
Visitors of all ages are welcome, and discounted rates are available for pre-K through high school age youth. Field study trips are encouraged, and the Wildflower Center provides instructors with materials to use in both the classroom and in the field.
Green Thumb Festivals and Plant Sales
The Wildflower Center hosts both spring and fall plant sales as well as gardening festivals. Bring your own wagon to the sale to haul your bloomin’ loot! Choose from more than 300 species of native Texas plants that are bred to handle the Central Texas climate. Dates for the festivals, along with other annual events, can be found on the center’s website.
The beauty of nature is the fact that it is ever-changing; there is always something different to see. Same with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Be sure to visit each season to see what’s in bloom and to observe the different stages of growth throughout the year.