The following is a guest post from author Anthony Wynn. He visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit the center on a recent trip to Austin.
Lady Bird’s legacy
Lard Bird Johnson spent her life advocating for the preservation of the environment. The culmination of her efforts is the Wildflower Center in Austin.
Arriving in the early afternoon on a spring Saturday at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, my friend and I discovered that hundreds of other plant and wildflower enthusiasts had also decided to visit the site just outside of Austin, Texas. The center’s parking lot was at capacity, but we found street parking just a few blocks from the entrance driveway.
We followed a stone path flanked by bluebonnets (the state flower of Texas), other wildflowers, a pond, and other species of native plants, entering the Center. We also learned that there are some 2700 species of native wildflowers growing in Texas. The path emerged into a stone-laid courtyard flanked by a gift shop, meeting space, and café. We walked through the plantings of hundreds of native plants and flowers. They are alongside several large greenhouses where numerous different varieties of Texas native plants are grown and made available for sale each spring. We spotted dozens of visitors carrying out their purchases.
There are many events that take place at the Wildflower Center. In addition to the Spring Native Plant Sale, there is the Field of Light, an exhibition exploring art, technology, and nature. Nature Nights are explorations of Central Texas ecology and Tuesday Twilights feature artists, food trucks, and live music amid the wildflowers.
Visitors can take several paths to view different types of topography and plants. We walked through the Savanna Meadow which featured many thousands of wildflowers, and the Texas Arboretum which contains a large variety of Texas oak trees. Most plants and trees are carefully labeled so that visitors can easily identify what they are looking at. Several paths also had pieces of artwork on display which we found interesting.
Following our exertions walking the various paths and trails, we were happy to find our way back to the central complex and the Wildflower Café, where we purchased drinks and snacks. Following our sojourn, we had renewed energy and climbed the stairs of the observation tower to the top, where we had a wonderful view of much of the area we had recently traversed. Our last stop was the gift shop where we both found some delightful wildlife-themed items to take home.
Tips for visiting
The Center states they have recorded more than 143 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, and over 1800 species of insects at the site. We recommend giving yourself a minimum of 2-3 hours at the Wildlife Center to see what they offer. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat or other headcover to protect yourself from the sun. The entrance fee is $15, $10 for seniors.