South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center
South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center had its beginning when the Corpus Christi Botanical Society was formed in 1983, followed in 1987 by the opening of the preliminary Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens, a one-acre “cottage garden” and cactus-lined nature trail. Its permanent location—182 acres of leased city parkland at 8545 S. Staples—opened in 1996, followed by a name change to Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens & Nature Center, and finally South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center—reflecting its impact, area it serves, and blend of floral gardens, natural wetlands, native habitat, resident exotic parrot collection and Resident Reptile exhibit. The 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation is governed by a Board of Directors. It is open daily, 9 am to 6 pm, with a full, year round calendar of classes and events.
Since 1996, South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center has developed more than $2.6 million in assets/improvements (costs at time of construction)—including a 2000 square-foot Visitors Center, 2000 squarefoot Education Station, 1000 square-foot Administration Building, and 500 square-foot Facilities Maintenance Office which is part of new “maintenance and facilities complex.” Gardens and floral exhibits include Orchid and Bromeliad Conservatories; Butterfly House; Rose Garden and Pavilion; plus Children’s Play Area, including Monkey Mansion
Treehouse; Plumeria, Sensory, Arid, Hummingbird, Tropical, and EarthKind Demo Gardens. Other development includes upper and lower native habitat trails, wetland boardwalk, Palapa Grande, and Birding Tower on two wetland estuaries. The $2.6 million asset figure does NOT include values of its extensive and notable orchid, plumeria, bromeliad, parrot and reptile collections.
Short-term plans include: GATEWAY PROJECT Entrance & Visitors Center area improvements; MILE-MARKED WALKING TRAIL; and FLORAL TOPIARY STRUCTURES to be added through City of Corpus Christi Arts & Cultural Commission grant program.
Botanical Gardens & Nature Center REVENUES are generated through: Foundation, corporate and private grants and donations, general admission, fundraisers, special events, sponsorships, memberships, gift shop sales, and education programming. Although on City of Corpus Christi parkland, in its lease, the corporation is charged with full responsibility for developing and maintaining the property as a botanical garden. The only government assistance of any kind received is $40,000 in local Hotel Occupancy Tax, which much be spent on out-of-area marketing.
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