While on a spur of the moment escape from the tundra of Minnesota, my wife and I found ourselves in Corpus Christi, Texas. Keep in mind it was mid January and 70 – 80 degrees warmer than home so we were pleasantly surprised to happen upon the The South Texas Botanical Gardens with real live plants blossoming.
This oasis of 180 acres of open space and well thought out themed areas fit nicely into the southern suburbia of Corpus Christie. The visitor center is relatively small but adequate with a small gift shop staffed by friendly volunteers. Just down the hall is the reptile center which personally I could skip but we went anyway. I am NOT a snake fan, especially ones that are venomous.
The gardens have an enclosed areas where the parrots spend the winter so the usual outdoor displays were empty. There was also a a large butterfly garden where you could enter through the doors in the netting but this time of year it was pretty much going through the motions to say we went in there.
We checked out the orchid house which boasts over two thousand plants and quite a few were blooming. Apparently a retired medical doctor is a regular volunteer in the orchid house and is quite passionate about telling the background of each plant. Unfortunately he was not there the day we visited.
After the butterfly garden and the orchid house we headed out for the wetland awareness boardwalk. That’s the name they use. Actually it is a dirt path that seems to go on forever. It really takes a long time when you see that there are signs every 50 feet reminding you that you are in a wildlife area and you may see things like SNAKES and if you do walk SLOWLY away. Seriously this was the creepy crawly walk for me. I just wanted it to be over. I have seen plenty of swamps before. I wish I would have taken a picture of these signs.
Eventually we got back to the more manicured part of the gardens. There is a nice cactus/succulent area and a beautiful rose garden that I am sure is spectacular in the warmer seasons. They had just had a cold snap and there were only a few blossoms left.
Near the rose garden there was a kids play area and a nice patio which they host events on. It really was a great setting. We couldn’t help but notice some of the nice accent pieces on the grounds. There were metal scultures and chairs and even a concrete couch which didn’t look like concrete until you got up close to it.
All in all it was a very nice visit and well worth the modest admission price even in January. If we ever go back to Corpus Christi I know we will check out the gardens again, but I think I will skip the whole swamp walk thing.