Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (April 27)

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center is located right outside of Austin on almost 300 acres of hill country, founded in 1982, and dedicated to preserving and promoting Texas native plants.

It is more than just fields of wildflowers, although of course there are many of those!

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(Photo courtesy of Genevieve)

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It is also a series of carefully planned and constructed gardens and facilities for research, education, and enjoyment. The native limestone construction gives it an old-world feel as you wander through the aqueducts…

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Arched hallways…

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And courtyards…

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A small pond at the entryway gives the turtles a place to swim…

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And the kids a place to watch them swim…

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And the dragonflies a place to light…

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And the Great-Horned Owls a place to grow up! That’s an owlet peeking out from the bottom of that plant!

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Beautiful flowers and happy insects abound on trails that wind through grasslands and forest gardens…

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(Photo courtesy of Spencer)

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Some of the trails have height restrictions 🙂

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Me: “Smile, honey!” Joe: “I am!”

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And then, oh wonder of wonders, we wandered out into the little tropical paradise called the “Family Garden!”

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Waterfalls and pools and caves and stepping stones…

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(Photo courtesy of Spencer)

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And then, what I call a “real playground!” All the climbing equipment was made from logs and tree trunks and grapevines, with a few live trees scattered about for good measure!

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A tall observation tower was fun to climb…

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And was also a cool place to have an afternoon snack!

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And last but not least, the Arboretum…Years ago, the Arboretum was established in a portion of the land where the soil was deep enough to support large trees. And among these lovely giants, a variety of swings have been scattered for appreciation by all ages! Joe and I enjoyed a nice, relaxing bench swing, while the kids ran and played…

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The only thing better than standing and enjoying a tree is sitting and swinging and enjoying a tree, I always say!

It was a beautiful outing! I will say that none of us is quite acclimated to these beginnings of Texas heat, so we all found ourselves to be a little hot, very thirsty (thank you, park, for lots of water along the way!), and a bit buggy. But the grounds were so beautiful, with such a variety of things to enjoy, that we always had a delightful place to cool off before exploring another area, whether it was a forested picnic area, a breezy tower, a sunshade by a waterfall, shady tree-swings, or (as our final stop!) the air-conditioned Cafe and Kids Activity Center.

As a side-note, this trip was also a successful test of my new sunscreen-alternative…Aloe Vera Gel + Coconut Oil + Beeswax. I put it on the back of the boys’ necks, and on Genevieve’s arms, since those are their only sun-sensitive parts. For me, it was arms, face, and neck because I’m sun-sensitive everywhere! With a large sun-hat and a partly cloudy day, taking advantage of shade along the trail, we were able to spend the whole day out with no sunburns and no nasty chemicals! Yay! Joe used nothing and got a dark tan, proving that, without my sunscreen, my arms would definitely have been quite toasty!

See you in the sun!

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