The botanic garden in Houston, inaugurated on 18th September 2020, is one of the must-visit sites in Houston, Texas. Spread over 132 acres, the Houston botanic garden boasts natural ecosystems and horticultural displays.
Situated in the southeast part of the city, the Houston botanic garden has innumerable species of flora from across the globe. The garden was originally a vision of the non-profit organization named Houston botanic garden.
Established in 2002, the organization envisioned the foundation of the sprawling botanic garden in the very same year. They made their first breakthrough by getting the land lease in 2015. Finally, in 2019 the development of the Houston botanic garden commenced. Known for its beautiful flora worldwide, some even like to refer to it as Houston’s Living Museum for Plants.
The Vision Houston Botanic Garden
The non-profit organization describes the vision behind the garden in the most beautiful yet articulate manner possible. Just as Houston is a multicultural city where people from varied cultures come to live, the Houston botanic garden is home to thousands of global horticulture. This garden is where such diverse horticulture from the lengths and breadths of the globe bloom, all in a single space.
The endless trails within the park will lead you to an amazing corner at every turn you take. Filled with adventures, vivacious sights, and picturesque landscapes, this park will take you miles from the city within a few seconds.
An alluring experience
Also known as an urban oasis, the garden offers much more than just diverse horticulture. A day in the garden is nothing less than a wholesome experience.
Filled with multiple community activities, you can meet people from around the world here. You can participate in many experiences, from culinary endeavors to community gardening.
Not just this, you can also attend lectures on horticulture, which can be a whole new experience for many. The garden authorities also organize exciting and fun-filled summer camps for kids.
However, the cherry on the cake is the attractive live performances you can witness amidst the many landscapes within the garden. Speaking of landscapes, parts of the garden are inspired by lush tropical jungles.
Some other appealing parts of the garden are inspired by the bamboo forest of East Asia and the arid valleys of the American South-West.
During the pandemic
Having opened up to the masses in 2020, i.e., right in the middle of the pandemic, the garden authorities have taken special care of social distancing rules right from its inception. Thus, this enhanced the popularity of the garden further because people could venture into the garden with their families without worrying about getting infected. This sensitivity made the garden an even more popular spot to visit during the pandemic.
Inside the Houston Botanic Garden
As the garden has been in the pipeline since 2002, the plan’s first step was to find the purpose of the garden. Once you step inside the garden, you realize that the main purpose of the garden is to present itself as an abode of relaxation and nature.
The founding institution envisioned building a one-of-a-kind museum of just plants and flowers that were easily accessible to everyone in Houston. Located within the city limits, the Houston botanic garden has now become a place where you can learn, grow, and relax.
Over the years, the garden has become the perfect destination for those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and just rejuvenate in peace. Formerly an inactive golf course, the area now boasts natural beauty and bliss.
Not only has the land become a profitable source of revenue, but it gives you a surreal feeling once you are inside the garden. Splashed with shades of nature all around, you can mistake it for the Savannahs of Africa.
There is also a cactus garden that looks so natural that you will feel like you are in an arid area of Mexico. Be it the Mediterranean or tropical region, you will get a glimpse of it all once you visit the garden.
As the garden has been built on an old golf course, some parts of the walking tracts have been kept as it is. These now help in nature hikes.
Family Discovery Centre
Across a bridge within the garden is the family discovery center. This area has play water features and is fed by a lagoon. However, this area was not accessible to the public during the pandemic to abide by the norms of social distancing.
However, the garden authorities plan to open up this space. Apart from the discovery center, the community garden has also been in the works. Both areas will likely be open to the public, where everyone can work as a community within a shared space.
The garden authorities will give visitors basic gardening materials to encourage and facilitate gardening. After that, visitors can choose to plant anything they want.
Gardens within a Garden
Within the premises of the botanic garden, you can see streams, lakes, and various mini gardens. The different gardens together occupy roughly 70 acres of space.
These gardens are divided into:
- The Global Collection Garden: you can witness around 350 arid, tropical, and sub-tropical species here
- The Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden: you have a broad walk maze along with water play
- The Woodland Glade: This is a shady area where you can organize outdoor weddings, birthday parties, etc.
- Culinary Garden welcomes you to Houston’s delicacies here in this area for a never before experience
Educational Programs organized by the garden
The garden authorities organize various educational and experiential programs to keep visitors active and involved. These are designed so that people from all walks of life and age groups can participate.
The various courses they offer include horticulture, cooking, and gardening, to name a few. For those who enjoy physical activities or meditation, yoga retreats are also arranged. One can only imagine how rewarding it will be to do yoga against the breathtaking backdrop of the garden.
Of course, when there is so much beauty all around, you are bound to have photography, painting, and drawing programs. Certainly, the garden is here to give your creative side a good, strong nudge.
Houston Botanic Garden Timings and Ticket Prices
The garden is usually open from 9 AM to 5 PM every seven days. During the pandemic period, wearing a mask was mandatory. It has, however, become optional now.
Though tickets can be purchased at the entry gate of the garden, there is also an online ticketing system in place. This helps reduce the queue at the entrance, a particularly important measure during the pandemic.
During weekends, the tickets cost $15 for adults. However, the ticket price for students and children is $10. During weekdays, tickets cost $12.50 for adults and $8 for children.
All said and done, the Houston Botanic Garden is an iconic place that must feature on your to-do list when you visit the city.
Houston Botanic Garden Lightscape
The garden hosts a light show called the Houston Botanic garden lightscape every year. The light show is basically where they feature stunning light installations along the natural landscape of the entire garden.
The garden looks scintillating during the lightscape and makes up for a perfect venue for a get-together for friends and family. The dazzling lights present such a stunning sight that thousands of people attend the lightscape each year.
The lightscape is more like a nature walk. The only difference is that you endeavor on this nature walk only after its dark, and to give you company is a myriad of lights and installations.
It starts with a canopy-like structure that mixes lights and shrubs. Then the visitors are taken on a walk that covers the entire surface area of the majestic garden. On the walk, numerous installations, apart from the lights, accentuate every part of the garden.
Not just this, the garden is also interspersed with tunnels of lights, shrubs, and flowers. So, if you are thinking of celebrating a birthday or proposing to someone, this garden is the perfect location!
What is unique about lightscape at Houston botanic garden?
The lightscape is usually conducted every year during the holidays. Beginning in December, the fest continues until around the first or second week of January. During this period, timed entries are organized by the garden authorities.
Also, limited parking space is set aside for visitors so that minimal garden space is occupied during the Houston Botanic Garden Lightscape period. During this period, however, ticket prices usually go up. For adults, the ticket price is around $28; for children, it is $18. However, these amounts might change from one year to the next.
With expansive installations surrounding the widespread flora, there’s also holiday music played all around. This only adds to the already infectious holiday vibes!
Deviating from the traditional holiday light display, the Houston Botanic Garden Lightscape attempts to take you on a ride smeared with immersive art installations. It helps you see the garden in a whole new light.
The walk starts with the global collection garden, where you walk underneath banana leaves, surrounded by bamboo. Throughout the trail, you will also witness dramatic lighting, which adds to the vivacity of the scenery.
Another mesmerizing sight is the fields of LED bluebonnets that twinkle constantly. To sum up, the beauty of the field is the backdrop of George Strait music to transport you into another world.
Artists from UK and Australia create the lighting for the LED garden. Amazingly, artists from such faraway lands create something that resonates so well with the locals of Houston.
From here on, you go to many more parts of the garden. Each part is characterized by its installation that complements the flora. Each section also has its unique playlist.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How big is the Houston Botanic garden?
The garden is spread over 132 acres of land, of which roughly 70 acres are just full of greenery.
2. Which is the best time to visit the garden?
The best time to visit the garden is in December, right around the holiday season, when you can enjoy the light show.
3. When can I see Houston botanic garden light show?
The light show is organized from December to January.
The trail concludes beautifully at a counter of smores. This only adds to the festive flavor of the light show. After completing a long walk of the entire park, visitors can roast the smores before they depart.
Given how much the Lightscape appeals to everyone, you should book your ticket much in advance.
Now that you know everything about the Houston Botanic Garden, it’s time to book tickets for yourself and gift your eyes a treat they can never forget!