If you’ve never been, this Saturday is a great time to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Sure, I get that when people think of outdoors in January in Austin the word “wildflower” doesn’t usually come to mind (“cedar,” “allergies” and “miserable” are more like it). However, Saturday is the annual Tree Talk Winter Walk — a very cool event that’s worth the drive from the Lake Travis area.
This family-friendly event provides a perfect opportunity to explore the center. Admission is free, and there are tons of activities for all ages and interests.
We took the family to the Tree Talk last year, thinking we’d pop in for an hour or so. We stayed for five! There was so much to do, and since it was our first time to the center we had no idea how large the grounds are. The LBJ Wildflower Center is huge, with multiple sections including indoor exhibits and a cafe.
During the Tree Talk Winter Walk guides offer tours to discuss trees and answer questions. It’s a great way to gather information directly from experts. Our younger kids weren’t particularly interested in the tours, but how can you blame them when there are giant trees to climb?
And not just any tree climbing. This was serious, with professional arborists and all the fancy equipment. They put the kids in helmets and harnesses and encouraged them to make their way to the very top. It was thrilling for the kids and such a neat experience. They Might Be Monkeys sponsors the tree climbing again this year, so bring your little monkeys and let them climb giant trees safely with professionals.
Another favorite activity was the area set aside with natural materials such as wood, hay, and stumps where visitors could build tree forts. It encouraged creativity and we saw everything from simple forts to elaborate structures. I enjoyed watching families work together to accomplish a goal, and love that it teaches kids to interact with and respect nature.
In fact, every corner we turned there was another activity. This year promises marshmallow roasting, a bonfire, a scavenger hunt, crafts for the kids and more. Native trees and shrubs are also for sale, and there’s plenty to do and see in the other areas of the center. I love the wooden swings in the arboretum area, and the Luci and Ian Family Garden is full of cool interactive exhibits.
So whether you are a nature enthusiast looking for helpful tips or parent looking for something different to do with the family that won’t break the bank, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Tree Talk Winter Walk will have something for you.
Finally, if you can I recommend going early in the day. Last year we got there early and it was great — no problems parking and minimal lines for the tree climbing, but it got much busier throughout the day.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Ave.
Austin, Texas 78739
Tree Talk Winter Walk
Saturday, January 24th
9am – 5pm