Botanica Gardens, located in Wichita, KS, is a botanical garden open year around. The gardens began through the combined efforts of Wichita City Garden Council and the City of Wichita in 1987. The plan was conceptualized in 1982 however as a unified vision to create a center for horticulture as the city greatly lacked one. Ground was finally broken in 1985 and opened to the public two years later. The botanical gardens began with four modest gardens and now encompass over 17 acres of land. Photo: gianpinox/Fotolia
Botanica gardens is own by the Wichita Park System but operated by Botanica, Inc., a not for profit organization. There have been recent additions to the gardens in the last decade including the Downing Children's Garden which opened in 2011 and the brand new Events Center which became available for rentals in 2014. A beautiful carousel from Joyland Amusement Park was also donated to Botanica and placed in the Children's Garden.
Currently, there are over 30 separate gardens, a horticulture library and more than 4,000 plant species. Each garden is uniquely designed and may feature sculptures, streams, fountains and water falls. The plants that are displayed change with the season, encouraging many repeat visits. As the garden has increased in size, so have the educational opportunities at Botanica Gardens. Many of these programs are presented through special events throughout the year and are catered to people of all ages.
Botanica still operates under its original mission of generating enthusiasm about horticulture and raising awareness through education and cultural events. The garden staff is proud to support community development and showing locals how they can improve their lives through becoming immersed in nature.
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There are over 30 Gardens currently on Display at Botanica Gardens. Each of the gardens is used year around and many of them change with the season. Each garden has options for seating to relax and contemplate the beauty of nature, and is also adorned with artistic elements from sculpture to architecture. Even the parking lot has 12 different flower beds to immerse visitors in nature from the moment they park their cars.
Beverly R Blue Teaching Garden is one of the popular wedding spots at Botanica. The garden is designed around two separate motifs with one half being circular and used for open air teaching classroom and weddings, and the other having a more rectangular design. This garden is currently displaying a collection of art works called "Garden Sprite, Immortality II."
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Butterfly Garden is specifically designed to attract both local and migratory butterflies. There are a variety of nectar plants for butterflies to enjoy. These plants allow for the butterfly garden to be in continuous state of blooming. The best time to see butterflies is summer and fall.
Butterfly/Pansy House is open only in the summer months from June through September. This is a public butterfly habitat that is dedicated to the research and exploration of butterflies around the world. This garden is 100% controlled and home to over 50 different butterfly species. From October through May, the house transforms into a pansy paradise with explosive color from over 40 different species of pansy.
Chinese Garden of Friendship was newly opened in June of 2015 and emphasizes traditional Chinese gardening technique and design. Chinese architecture, reminiscent of the Sung-dynasty, creates an ethereal place with many contemporary elements added in. The highlight of the garden is the handmade fountain.
Cissy Wise Wildflower Meadow introduces visitors to the native meadow species of Kansas. There are native shrubs, grasses, trees and wildflowers that create the prairie style garden.
Downing Children's Garden is comprised of more than an acre of themed gardens including monster woods, an enchanted glen for fairy tale story time, a tree house and a pond. Children and their families are encouraged to play and get their hands dirty in this interactive part of Botanica.
Frances lattner Wildflower Woodland is heavily adorned with wildflowers, streams and waterfalls. Designed to be a place of tranquility and peace, there are several benches underneath many shade trees to offer rest and quiet contemplation.
Frank Smith Woodland Glade is a very happening stop on the woodland walk. This area is bustling with woodland creatures and full of rustic benches to enjoy the babbling ponds and streams.
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Garden on the Rock is accented by a waterfall just west of the Terrace Garden. The flowers featured in this garden are low lying perennials and annuals that do well amongst rock. There are also many shrubs and bushes that protrude through the rocky landscape.
Gene E Spear Railroad Garden is where the train rests when not giving rides around the garden.
Green House is used for display as well as cultivating species of flowers that are new to the garden and tropical flowers that cannot survive outside year around.
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Things to Do in Wichita, KS: Botanica Gardens - Photo: Carlo/Fotolia
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Things to Do in Wichita, KS: Botanica Gardens
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Jayne Milburn Aquatic Collection features aquatic flower and plan species such as water lilies, water lettuce, cattails and lotus. This garden has several grand trees surrounding the pond including weeping willows and the American Elm.
Jessie Wooldridge Brosius Rose Garden contains more than 350 species of roses that are in bloom from May through October. Wood Trellises decorate this garden that has won many American Rose Society Awards.
John Firsching Evergreen Collection displays a variety of pine trees that are not native to Kansas in an effort to make Pine trees and other evergreen species more acclimated to the environment so that they can successfully grow in the state. The hillside is nice in the spring time as it blooms with daffodils and hyacinth.
Linda Stewart Evaluation Garden is a growing area for sun and shade plants to evaluate incoming plants to determine whether or not they will adapt to the gardens and their suitability for the Kansas climate.
Margie Button Memorial Fountain and Garden is centrally located and one of the most recognizable gardens in Botanica. From an aerial view, the garden is shaped like a flower and features three levels of fountains. The garden is also adorned with hand painted tiles and annual flower beds.
Martha Parriot Garden Terrace is made of limestone and perfect for hosting concerts, weddings and other outdoor events. The large fountain and reflecting pool are focal points.
Murdock Street Garden Entrance is the main gate to Botanica and features a patio, large archway and annual flower beds.
Project Beauty Shakespearean Garden is a duo of cottage and formal style gardens of the Elizabethan area. Many of the plants and flowers in the garden have been mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. A limestone fountain is the focal point of the garden.
Sally Stone Sensory Garden features a living herb wall with 76 pockets that encourage visitor interactions.
The Bank IV Centennial Pavilions are two pavilions at both the east and west end of the gardens that are made of redwood and sit at high points so that guests can see an aerial view of Botanica. The east pavilion features a koi pond. The Juniper collection lines the pathways to the pavilions.
Woodland Bird Garden is a newer addition to Botanica with over 300 recently planted trees and a substantial collection of perennials that attracts birds all year around.
There are several areas of Botanica that focus on a particular part of conservation or responsible gardening. At the Water Well Education Garden, visitors can partake in educational activities related to our water purification systems.
The Woodland Walk shows visitors how they can incorporate landscaping while still remaining natural in their gardens and has a layering technique to the design. The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden teaches the importance of water conservation and showcases low maintenance and low water gardening concepts. There are 7 different exhibits that showcase a different aspect to xeriscape gardening including a cactus garden and mulch demonstration.
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Botanica Gardens offers educational programs for Adults and children. The adult programs include wine tasting in the garden, boxing classes, painting and exercise programs. There are many programs for cub scouts, girl scouts, garden scouts, and school field trips. Botanica also has a story time every Thursday for the little ones and a lunch time lecture for adults on Wednesdays.
Botanica is available to be rented for private affairs such as weddings and corporate events. There are also many special events that the garden hosts every year. Botanica is a family friendly event with dozens of events for families to take part in. This event is a HUGE party that celebrates Fall and the Halloween season. Fright Night is also held in October and a scary movie for adults only is played on an outdoor screen where dinner is served.
There are also several photography contests that are held throughout the year and the Monarch Butterfly Festival where kids can learn about the migratory behavior of the Monarch butterfly and play games. Milk weed plants are available to take home to attract caterpillars that will turn into butterflies. In December, Supper with Santa is the main event. There are more than 5,000 lights throughout the gardens and kids can play fun activities with Santa's elves during this four-night event.
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701 Amidon St, Wichita, Kansas 67203, Phone: 316-264-0448