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San Antonio Botanical Garden

Since it was first established in 1980, the San Antonio Botanical Garden has steadily established an international reputation for the outstanding quality of its displays. And by outstanding, I really mean outstanding. You see, the garden’s head-turning centerpiece, the Lucile Halsell Conservatory, has racked up a hatful of awards. Given all that, it’s little wonder that visitors are now flocking to the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Each year, some 170,000 people drop by to sample the garden’s many and varied delights.

Visitors can enjoy everything from a classic rose garden to a frond-filled fern grotto, an aromatic culinary garden to a lush tropical conservatory, and an authentic Japanese garden to an action-packed adventure garden. And that’s just on the botanical side of things. On top of all that, visitors can indulge their inner gourmand at the Jardín fine-dining restaurant, hunt down some quirky souvenirs at the jam-packed gift shop, or, if the fancy takes, even get their hands dirty doing some gardening. All in all, the San Antonio Botanical Garden can be summed up as equal parts educational launch pad, foodie retreat, and horticultural playground.

Now, let’s take a quick look at some of its many highlights.

The Culinary Garden

The culinary garden is what you’d call a garden with a mission. It aims to deepen people’s appreciation for the link between gardening, on one hand, and a healthy diet, on the other. To help get the message across, visitors are invited to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand cultivating the garden’s delicious array of fruit and vegetables. Participation, it should be noted, isn’t mandatory!

Kumamoto En

This garden takes its name from San Antonio‘s sister city, Kumamoto, and the Japanese word for garden, en. As such, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that Kumamoto En is a Japanese garden. Having said that though, this isn’t just your regular Japanese garden. Most certainly not. You see, Kumamoto En was designed by no less a horticultural luminary than the Japanese Emperor’s personal gardener. And as if that wasn’t enough, this tranquil masterpiece is actually modeled on one of the Emperor’s very own gardens.

Family Adventure Garden

This garden is landscaped so that kids, old and young alike, can let their imaginations run amok. The 2.5-acre plot is divided into 15 spaces. All of which glory in evocative names such as Thunder Ridge, Prickly Pear Peak, or Huisache Way. Now while, on a surface level, the Family Adventure Garden is all about fun, it does have a more serious side too. The hands-on exhibits, you see, are designed to impress upon visitors the importance of the natural world.

Lucile Halsell Conservatory

Take it from me, the magnificent conservatory’s attention-grabbing architecture is only the entrée. The main course lies within. You see, across its 5 separate rooms, the conservatory showcases an internationally-renowned collection of epiphytes, desert specialists, cycads, ferns, and tropical plants. Just for good measure, they’ve also thrown in a bountiful orange y and a peaceful pond to boot.

Texas Nature Trail

The 11-acre Texas Nature Trail is devoted to all things Texas. Well, all the botanical things at least. All in all, visitors can savor more than 250 plant species. All of which are endemic to the Lone Star State.

It’s not all about the plants, however. The serpentine trail also wends its way past a number of significant historical structures such as the impressive Auld House. What’s more, there’s even a dedicated bird-watching area, from where visitors are all but guaranteed to spot an avian wonder or two.

Formal & Display Gardens

This is the oldest section of the entire garden. However, it still packs a mighty punch. The Rose Garden is a spectacular sea of blooms. The Old-Fashioned Garden radiates an inimitable retro charm. While a stroll through the Herb Garden makes for an unforgettable olfactory adventure. And there’s plenty more besides.

Hours & Admission

The San Antonio Botanical Garden is open 7 days a week. Opening hours, however, vary depending on the season. During the high season – March to October – the garden is open between 9 am and 5 pm on the weekend. And between 9 am and 7 pm during the week. During the low season, meanwhile, the garden is open between 9 am and 5 pm each day.

Entrance fees range from $12 to $15.

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