Wander into the gardens for an enchanting journey as you search for hidden gems inside one of Wichita's most popular attractions. Botanica Wichita opened in 1987 with four gardens and a horticultural library, but now has more than 30 themed gardens and exhibits that keep new visitors and returning guests discovering new elements of nature.
This botanical paradise on the plains surrounds more than 17 acres of stunning gardenscaping, featuring more than 4,000 species of plants native and new to the region. With someone new each season, guests will be able to experience the changing leaves in the fall or the blooming of new life in the spring. Learn about each of the gardens below:
In 2011, Botanica created its Downing Children’s Garden, an educational, imaginative, interactive environment where families can enjoy, discover and appreciate the natural world. From exploring giant bugs to climbing around carved trees with faces and limbs, kids follow a journey through their own imagination in the Downing Children’s Garden. Stop and play in the fountains, or make chalk creations outside the party barn. The Downing Children’s Garden is suited for all ages.
In June 2015, another major addition to the garden took shape with the Chinese Garden of Friendship. This scholar-style-inspired garden, designed to celebrate Wichita’s relationship with its Chinese sister city, Kaifeng, uses traditional Chinese architecture, art and culture to inspire the community. This traditional Chinese garden is split into a “Earthly World” segment and a “Heavenly World” segment. The “Earthly World” includes a Kaifeng cast-iron, pagoda-shaped structure and art expressing the style of the Sung dynasty. In the “Heavenly World,” guests will find a waterside pavilion with a sitting bench and place to view bamboo plants.
The Shakespeare Garden opened in 1988 as one of the first gardens dedicated when Botanica opened. Stop by to see the art of the Shakespearean garden that is up during all four seasons: Shakespeare’s Bust, Arton Sundial and Ornamental Panels. Many of the plants in this garden have been featured or mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. The most popular attraction within this garden is the water fountain in the middle, making for a great photo opportunity.
The Butterfly Garden was dedicated in May of 1992 and was created to encourage the retention of native and migratory butterflies to the gardens. Visitors will be able to see three sculptures within this garden: New Season, Playmates and Skipper. The Butterfly House opens from June through September and creates a public habitat for visitors to experience varying species of butterflies. During the off-months (October through May), the Butterfly House is transformed into the Pansy House where bold, colorful flowers are on display for all to enjoy.
This garden, dedicated in 1987 is home to Botanica Wichita's annual Tuesdays on the Terrace, a celebration of nature and music that happens each summer. Perfect for weddings and meetings, this space is made of dry-laid, native Kansas limestone and seats 225-250 people. The Reflection Pool includes a fountain from New Orleans sitting near a large Southern Magnolia tree.
Kids and adults alike will love the Gene E. Spear Railroad Garden designed by the Wichita Area Garden Railway Society. Installed in 2012, this small display has model passenger trains, freight trains and work trains that run at different intervals. During Illuminations at Botanica, the Polar Express display is set up for families to enjoy. Trains run daily (weather-permitting) from May through September.
This garden has been around since 2008 and features more than 300 trees and shrubs created to be a shelter for the variety of birds that call Botanica Wichita home each year. The purpose of the Woodland Bird Garden is to teach visitors about how they can preserve and sustain wildlife and their natural habitats.
When people think Botanica, many picture the fountain sitting in the Margie Button Memorial Garden. The fountain itself is 35 feet across and is shaped like a flower and petals. It was dedicated in 1987 and is home to a weathervane sculpture.
What's a garden without a koi pond? In fact, Botanica has a large display of these beautiful fish next to a glass-windowed pavilion great for year-round use. The Koi Pond Pavilion was dedicated in June 1987 and renovated in November 2015.
Dedicated in 1996, the Beverly Blue Garden is a great place for meetings and weddings. Guests can enjoy waterfalls, a stone pathway and vine-covered arbor, as well as two sculptures: Garden Sprite and Immortality II.
This beautiful garden is recognized with a serene waterfall, collection of dwarf shrubs and flowers that grow among the layers of natural rock and stone. The Garden on the Rocks was dedicated in 1987 and includes a sculpture of a boy with a pail.
Learn about more themed gardens on Botanica Wichita's website.
Botanica Wichita is far more than just a collection of beautiful gardens, it also is home to some of the biggest annual events in Wichita. From seasonal kids activities to an incredible family-friendly Christmas experience, the gardens make for an excellent location for special events.
The gardens are transformed into a fairy paradise every spring with activities like pony rides, a fashion show, book fair, live music and presentation from the Bug Lady during Tulips, Fairies & Forts. This unique Botanica event encourages education and imagination as kids dress up to explore special features throughout the attraction.
Spring brings a sweet music series to Botanica's Martha Parriott Terrace Garden. Tuesdays on the Terrace happen every Tuesday in May, bringing live bands, happy hour and horticulture. Adults can enjoy cocktails, beer and wine on the terrace from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dinner is also available for purchase each night.
October brings Botanica's biggest family-friendly event as the gardens morph into a Halloween celebration for children of all ages. Kids are encouraged to wear their costumes as they explore different Halloween-themed stations and activities.
You know the holidays are in full-swing when the gardens light up with more than 2 million Christmas lights in the largest light display in Kansas. This Wichita tradition brings together the holiday spirit with the beauty of Botanica. Illuminations at Botanica Wichita is open the day after Thanksgiving through Dec. 31 each year, culminating in a brilliant fireworks display welcoming the new year.
Botanica Wichita welcomes some incredible experiences with the building of the new Alexander Bee House featuring the Virginia McAdam Garden and the Carousel Garden Pavilion.
The Alexander Bee House was created to help aid in the education of bee population retention and how to provide nurturing habitats to the insects. Not only will there be educational elements for people of all ages, Botanica Wichita will provide honey extraction demonstrations, chats with professional beekeepers and access to the delicious honey made by Botanica's bee population.
Creating new art out of a piece of Wichita's history, Botanica Wichita will open the Carousel Garden Pavilion in the fall of 2019. This project comes after the restoration of each piece of the Joyland carousel, which sat at Wichita's former theme park for nearly 60 years. When complete, one of the last remaining Allen Herschell carousels will sit inside a glass-windowed building like a stunning jewel inside a jewelry box.
Botanica Wichita offers more than just a walk through dozens of beautiful gardens, it provides gorgeous photo opportunities year-round, engaging signature events and a great spot for meetings, weddings and parties of all sizes. With tons of indoor and outdoor space, Botanica Wichita creates a beautiful backdrop for any occasion. Visit Botanica today!