The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is where Coastal Bend residents expect to see many animals and plants, but many people don’t know how they got there.

Michael Womack is the executive director of The South Texas Botanical Gardens. He said over the years, the garden has achieved several significant milestones, from establishing educational programs to hosting captivating exhibits of exotic animals where visitors can immerse themselves a symphony of colors and scents.

“We have a combination of traditional garden spaces and exhibits, as well as our nature trails,” Womack said. “To bend in with that, we’ve added our butterfly house, our tropical parrot ambassadors and reptile animal ambassadors as well.”

Womack said the South Texas Botanical Garden and Nature Center has a rich and storied history that dates to 1983.

It all began with a group of dedicated people who had a passion for promoting environmental awareness in a growing city.

“In 1983, we had a group of citizens who said, ‘we need a botanical garden because we are an important city, people need to learn about the plants that are here, both the native plants and the plants we can grow,’ so that’s how we started as a grass roots organization,” he said.

Womack said that they have to be extremely selective with the animals that they bring into The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center because of the of the level of animals that they have.

“We’re at a point that we have to be very selective now in what we do,” he said. “If we can’t accept an animal ambassador, we try to help those families find a suitable home or rescue for them.”

The botanical garden is open seven days a week, and the workers said that some of the admission price goes toward supporting the animals.

If interested in volunteering with The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, click here.

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