A San Antonio highlight for sure, the San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABG) is set among 33 lush acres in the city’s sub-tropical humid climate, which makes it a perfect breeding ground for the tens of thousands of species that reside, bloom and/or grow there annually. SABG works hard to connect people to the plant world; they’ve accomplished this since the late 1960’s through experience, education, and research, three vital parts of their mission. The amazing acreage and the flora and fauna are made up of verdant foliage and colorful blooms that are just begging to be appreciated. A wonderful attraction often overlooked by visitors, the garden is exquisite year round, with something always in bloom. A conservatory, formal gardens, “old-fashioned” gardens and native plant areas provide a variety of interest. This is definitely a must-see for both botany experts and “garden-variety” folks! The garden center features a luncheon cafe, a gift shop, guided tours, and adults’ and children’s classes and is also available for private parties. There are tons of exhibits that are fun for kids and there’s plenty of room to let them roam as they please, too! You could easily spend a day wandering, taking in the beauty, and enjoying as much of the garden as possible. It’s serene, educational, enjoyable, and so overwhelming it will really knock your socks off — so remember your camera! And don’t miss the following items on our Seven Heavenly Attractions at SABG list either. This list should accompany you to the Gardens on your trip so you can easily have a to-do list of sorts while there. Be sure you check out all of these exhibits and events.
1. Texas Native Trail
The Native Texas Trail is a unique aspect of the San Antonio Botanical Garden that holds and shows plant communities that are characteristic of the Hill Country (Edwards Plateau), East Texas Piney Woods, and of South Texas. These three distinctive and diverse ecological regions of Texas vary in soil, plant life, topography, and weather. The authentic botanical setting is enhanced by several early Texas houses, which have been reconstructed on the site to help illustrate and interpret the regional theme.
2. Dog Days Event
Co-sponsored by the Animal Defense League, San Antonio Animal Care Services, Humane Society of San Antonio and San Antonio Botanical Society, who founded the Gardens, this winter event is a fun-filled day for you to bring Fido or Fluffy to SABG and let them experience a world-class botanic garden. With contests, food, fun events and more, “Dog Days-A Winter Paws” is a newer event at SABG but brings in tons of people and pooches!
3. Lucile Halsell Conservatory
Built by the San Antonio Botanical Society at a cost of $6.9 million, the Conservatory opened to the public in February, 1988. Plants from desert regions to equatorial rainforests are housed in individual glass buildings tucked into the earth. The buildings surround a sunken courtyard and tropical lagoon filled with aquatic plants. Specialty collections include epiphytic plants display, desert cacti and succulents, tropicals, palms and cycads, tropical fruits, ferns and aroids, insectivores, and aquatic plants. Each group is housed in its own climate-controlled environment. These environments range from the 65-foot tall fog-enshrouded forest of palms to the glass display case filled with orchids.
4. Sullivan Carriage House
The Daniel Sullivan Carriage House was constructed in 1896, making it a registered National Historic Place, and was moved stone by stone from its original location downtown. If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to see the never-reconstructed historical house, which is now used as the entry point to the Garden, plus it houses the gift shop and restaurant.
5. Kumamoto En Garden
A gift from the sister city of Kumamoto, Japan, this Japanese Garden is fashioned in great style exactly as the Japanese would have had it. It was constructed between March and April of 1989 by a team of carefully selected volunteer artisans and landscapers from Kumamoto, Kyoto, Tokyo, and San Antonio. The garden is patterned after the famous 300-year-old Suizenji Park Garden in Kumamoto and contains many of the same elements. Different styles of garden paths, bamboo fencing, stone lanterns, a visitor’s rock, granite stone path and landscape construction styles from famous gardens in Japan are revealed along the path.
6. The Butterfly Exhibit
With tremendous number of butterflies and different species, the Butterfly Exhibit has rung in as a local and visitor favorite for years. There’s a ton of information available on what plants to cultivate to attract these beautiful creatures as well as views of an array of species in migration. You can even download or receive information at SABG on “Hints for Attracting Butterflies to Your Yard!”
7. Bird Watching (Auxiliary Site)
With literally hundreds of migratory birds coming through, bird-watching doesn’t really get any better than it is at SABG. There are exotic and rare species as well as migratory American and Canadian birds. Don’t miss the “Plants for Birds” class; here you’ll see all those plants and more. You’ll also enjoy beautiful birds in flight and nesting species like Swifts, Hummingbirds, Kingfishers, owls, Cuckoos, Thrushes, Cranes, Martins and Chickadees to name a few.
San Antonio Botanical Garden
555 Funston Place
San Antonio, TX 78209