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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson and Actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America's native plants and natural landscapes. First as the National Wildflower Research Center and later as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this organization’s mission is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes. Every day, the Wildflower Center brings life to Mrs. Johnson's vision in its public gardens, its woodlands and sweeping meadows as well as its internationally influential research.
Decades ago, Mrs. Johnson recognized that our country was losing its natural landscapes and its natural beauty. As much as 30 percent of the world’s native flora is at risk of extinction. The Wildflower Center was intended to help preserve and restore that beauty and the biological richness of North America. Since then, the Center has become one of the country’s most credible research institutions and effective advocates for native plants.
The Center’s gardens, open daily to display the native plants of the Central Texas Hill Country. The Center's Plant Conservation Program protects the ecological heritage of Texas by conserving its rare and endangered flora. The Native Plant Information Network is a comprehensive database of more than 7,200 native species. It makes available information, including suppliers, that aid the cultivation and conservation of native plants.
The Landscape Restoration Program uses the science of healing and renewing damaged, degraded, and even destroyed ecological systems to restore balance to the landscape. And the Center’s extensive education programs for children and adults seek to change the way people think about plants through fun and hands-on discovery learning.
There was a reasonable cafe and tremendous pricey gift shop with many photos and books depicting flowers & shirts, bags, housewares and gadgets with flowers as well.
- Family Travel
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a fun place to visit. I first learned of this in 1000 Places to See Before You Die USA Edition. It was an interesting place. I think most come for the photo ops in the spring.
Thinking back, I'm not real sure what the point is. Well, ok, the point is to get an education on wildflowers and enjoy them. The year I went (2009) there weren't a bunch of bluebonnets because of the "drought." However, they had some others and small patches to enjoy.
My experience: The parking area was completely full when I went. Granted, it was the Saturday of Easter weekend but, nonethless, the parking was on the side of the road leading to the center. Many of the people getting out of their cars were families and bikers. I didn't see where the bikers went but ... there are trails. We paid our $8 and entered. It was interesting to see that the center offers Audio Tours on your cell phone. I had never seen that. Very cool!
Then, as I continued walking in the center the lecture hall was on the right. There was a man talking about Texas wildflowers. The auditorium was gorgeous. My aunt stuck around for about 5 minutes and then took off to explore more of the center. To the right of the lecture hall was the cafe. We got two bottles of water (for safety) and headed up the stairs to the observation deck. The stairway up was so narrow. It was hard to get two people going up and down at the same time. That's not counting the kids taking their sweet time up and then down. A little unsafe for my taste. Especially since you were climbing two stories. However, the views were lovely.
When we came back down from the deck we visited the small wildflower gardens, butterfly garden (none), and then took the small trail around. It was good exercise but not much to see, other than the nature...
The best part? They had a killer gift shop! :)
If you like going to the arboretum then this is the place for you. Just don't count on there being an amazing abundance of wildflowers to see.
Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through May 31
June 1 through mid-March: Closed Mondays, Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday
Visitors Gallery, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Store, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Cafe, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Closed New Year's Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Open Memorial & Labor Days
$6 Seniors 60 years and older and Students 13 years and older
$3 Children 5-12 years
Free to members and children 4 years and under
*Admission Rates subject to change.
Learn about tours and group rates.
Reminders from the Center
Shirts and shoes required - closed-toe walking shoes recommended for trails and paths. Don't forget your outdoor protection: sunscreen, hats, non-glass water bottles, insect repellant.
The Center's grounds and buildings are wheelchair accessible excluding the Observation Tower and parts of the nature trails.
The Wildflower Center is completely smoke-free.
Wildflower Cafe. Refreshments, snacks and lunch available for purchase - generally open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours may vary. Click here to view the Cafe Menu online.
The Wildflower Center has two picnic areas available on a first come, first serve basis for general visitors. Alcoholic beverages and fires are not permitted.
In case of emergency, first aid is available in the Administration Building.
Guide dogs are permitted on site, but no pets, please.
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