One thing I love about the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is that it provides a different experience depending on the season. I’ve visited several times, and although the wildflowers are best during the spring there is never a shortage of things for the entire family to do and see.
The brand new Luci and Ian Family Garden is a big highlight, and I can tell it will be a fun exhibit any time of year. Named for lead donors Luci Baines Johnson (daughter of President Lyndon and first lady Lady Bird Johnson) and her husband, Ian Turpin, the Family Garden is over four acres of interactive features great for all ages.
We went to the Grand Opening last weekend and the entire family had a blast. It was a fun-filled day, with plenty of activities for the kids including face painting, a scavenger hunt, prizes and games.
It was an unexpected treat that Luci Baines Johnson personally greeted my kids and welcomed them to the Family Garden. They didn’t realize who she was, but when she asked if they wanted to play in a giant bird’s nest they enthusiastically screamed, “YES!!!!” and jumped up and down like little whack-a-moles.
She smiled and encouraged them to have fun and enjoy the garden as they bolted for the exhibits. She was very sweet (and we’re working on our manners for the next time we meet a former President’s daughter….).
Sure enough, Luci Baines Johnson was right, the birds’ nest were a big hit with the kids. So was the outdoor exercise equipment. It was cool and different to see elliptical machines in the middle of nowhere.
There is also a water pond area with a little cave and a waterfall. Not only is this area beautiful to look at, but they encourage you to explore and experience the exhibit.
My youngest daughter immediately sat down to take off her shoes because she wanted to put her feet in the water. I started to tell her no, but one of the volunteers must have overheard me because she assured me that was fine. “Sure, she can stick her feet in!” So she did. And loved it.
Which is a perfect example of what I love best about the Wildflower Center. They encourage both kids and adults to respect but interact with and enjoy nature. It’s gorgeous, but not overly formal where you feel like you’re in a museum and can’t talk or touch.
The center provides tons of opportunities to participate, from cool wooden swings to educational events, nature nights, garden tours and much, much more. You can check the events calendar for a full list.
Finally, I’d like to add that I’ve been very impressed with the volunteers each time I visit the center. There is typically a wide range of ages and demographics. It’s a mix, but everyone seems friendly, knowledgeable and genuinely willing to help. They seem happy to be there. Which is easy to understand. It’s a happy, beautiful place.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Avenue Austin, Texas 78739 (map)
Visitors Info: 512.232.0100
General Info: 512.232.0200