South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center began with formation of the Corpus Christi Botanical Society in 1983, followed in 1987 by opening a 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, service area, 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.  Open daily, 9 am to 6 pm, it offers a year-round calendar of classes and events, including Corpus Christi’s five-day “Birdiest Festival in America.”


Since 1996, South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center has developed $3.1 million in assets/improvements (costs at time of construction)—including a 2000 square-foot Visitors Center, 2000 square-foot Education Station, 1000 square-foot Administration Building, and 500 square-foot Facilities Maintenance Office. Gardens and floral exhibits include Orchid and Bromeliad Conservatories; Butterfly House; Rose Garden and Pavilion; Plumeria, Sensory, Arid, Hummingbird, Tropical, and EarthKind Demo Gardens; plus Children’s Play Area, including Monkey Mansion Treehouse.  The “Gateway Project,” begun in 2017 with road/parking reconstruction, concluded in 2019 with extensive Visitors Center entrance improvements featuring gazebo, fountain, and plaza area.   Other development includes upper and lower native habitat trails, wetland boardwalk with overlook, Palapa Grande, and Birding Tower on two wetland estuaries.  The $3.1 million asset figure does NOT include values of its extensive and notable orchid, plumeria, bromeliad, parrot and reptile collections. 

In 2019, a modern, bold, vibrant logo was adopted, signaling a future of strategic planning and growth.  


Although on City of Corpus Christi parkland, its lease charges the non-profit with full responsibility for developing and maintaining the property as a botanical garden.  The only government assistance of any kind received is $65,000 in local Hotel Occupancy Tax, which much be spent on out-of-area marketing.; plus CARES ACT FUNDING, including “Payroll Protection Plan” in 2020 and 2021. Revenue includes foundation, corporate and private grants and donations; general admission; fundraisers; special events sponsorships; youth tours; memberships; facilities rentals; gift shop sales; and education programming. 

Corpus Christi, the Coastal Bend and South Texas have embraced their non-profit botanical garden with enthusiastic individual volunteerism; corporate, foundation and personal donations; a growing membership base; support through school tours and educational program attendance; and steadily increasing admission numbers.


  • American Public Gardens Association
  • American Horticulture Society RECIPROCAL GARDENS PROGRAM
  • Texas Travel Alliance
  • United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce
  • Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council
  • Greater Corpus Christi Hospitality Association
  • Padre Island Business Association
2023 Board of Directors

Executive Board

Denise Housler, President
     Aquaria Services, Inc., Owner
Don Albrecht, Vice President Retired,
     Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Gloria Hicks, Vice President
     Hicks Automotive Group
Betty Thomas, Secretary
     Retired Contract Officer, USAF, USN
Lesley Edwards-Cavazos, Treasurer
     Fancher & Company, CPAs
Stephanie Riske, CPA —Ass’t. Treasurer
Joyce Barnette
     Community Volunteer
Cindy Boudloche, CPA
     Retired Bankruptcy Trustee
Matthew Busby
     Del Mar College Foundation
Charlene Chesshir
     Community Volunteer
Hugh Dobson
     Las Aguilas Enterprises
June Herbst
     Retired Educator
B. J. Kershaw
     Community Volunteer
Holly Osborn
     Retired MDR Advertising
Paul Parr
     Community Volunteer
Manette Scanio
    Retired American Bank
Joe Schenk
     Retired Director, Art Museum of South Texas
Callie Walker
    Texas A&M-Corpus Christ
Gaye White
     Retired,, Hunter Legislative Staff

Newlyn Anderson
Jennifer Bowen
Rich Tuttle


Austin Anderson
     AG|CM, Inc.
Osbert Blow, MD, Ph.D., FACS
     Retired, Christus Spohn Health System
Kimberly DeVisser
     DeVisser HQ
Karen Easton
    Community Volunteer
Joe Elizondo
     Manager H-E-B Plus Saratoga
Dr. Robert Furgason
     TAMU-CC President Emeritus
Alex Garcia, Jr.
     American Red Cross
Regina Garcia
Sarah Garza,
     Port Corpus Christi
Jessica Gilmore
     Hollon Safe Company
Sammie Grunwald
    Incarnate Word Academy
Genny Hatton
    Community Volunteer
Gerry Heitkamp
    Retired CCISD
Kitty Hommer
    Community Volunteer
Paulette Kluge
    Rockport Conference Center
Barbara Little
    St. John Paul II High School
Marcus Lozano
    Owner, Feathered Friends & Co.
Lucy McCracken
     Community Volunteer
Patty Nuss
     Peterson Development Company
Bob Paulison
     Port Industries
Andy Saenz
     Flint Hills Resources
Darcy Schroeder
Gaye White
     Community Volunteer,
Todd Hunter
Betty Whitt
    Community Volunteer
Cathy Winn
    Winn Exploration
Jay Wise
     Merrill Lynch

Regional Advisory Board

Chris Adler
Dr. Roland Hernandez
State Rep. Todd Hunter
Nelda Martinez
Cathy Skurow, PE

Technical Advisory Board

Frank Eicholz
Kevin O. Gibbs
Dr. Wayne Hanselka
Herbert ‘Jim’ Harmon
Jenna Hoffman
Chad Huckabee
Rosario Martinez
Jan Shannon
Ron Shannon
Dr. Liz Smith
Tim Tristan, DAVBP RA

The South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center will advance the knowledge and appreciation of plants and the environment, in relation to personal and community education, well-being, and scientific understanding.  It will conserve, preserve, display and interpret native and adapted flora and fauna of South Texas, for area residents and visitors, and as appropriate, serve as an animal sanctuary for selected species.

( Amended and Approved:  May 21, 2002;  October 25, 2022)


Our facility strives to:
Offer an ever-growing source of beauty, information,
environmental learning and entertainment;
Provide a positive and satisfying visitor experience;
Enhance local quality of life and economic development through nature tourism.