In1987, Botanica opened to the public to generate enthusiasm for horticulture and enlighten people through educational, artistic, and cultural experiences.
In 2012, we are still fulfilling that mission. Originally housing only four gardens and a horticultural library, the idea of a botanical garden in Wichita started in 1982. The Wichita Area Garden Council and the City of Wichita joined forces with a unified vision to provide area residents with a center for horticultural enjoyment and education within a landscape garden setting.
For the next three years, plans were formulated for the establishment of Botanica as the community center for horticulture. With the assistance of the Wichita Park Board; site selection, building plans, and methods of funding were secured and finalized. Ground was broken in September of 1985 and nearly two years later, the group’s vision for Wichita had become a reality.
Botanica’s 17.6 acres now features over 25 themed gardens, 4,000 species of plants, including those in the new Downing Children’s Garden.
The Downing Children’s Garden opened in July 2011 and raised our memberships by 28 percent and our visitors by 63 percent. Ten local artists contributed to the garden, creating nearly 30 functional works of art that enhance the various areas of the garden. The coming year will take activities in the Downing Children’s Garden to new heights, incorporating puppetry, recycled art, creative writing and dance.
Millions of people have explored the gardens over the last 25 years, watching the gardens grow in both size and scope. The next 25 promises much of the same. In the coming years, Botanica will expand to include a new event facility, an education center and a Chinese Garden, in honor of our sister city, Kaifeng, China.
In celebration of our accomplishments and to generate enthusiasm for our future growth, we are hosting a variety of special events throughout May. Some events are new, others are a throw back to some of the events we’ve loved in the past.
May 4th ~ Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys
Kicking off the 25th Anniversary Celebration is Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys. Stop and smell the flowers, satisfy your taste buds with samples from a local distillery and sit back and enjoy bloody marys with music from Spirit of the Stairs in the background. Beer provided by River City Brewery and local restaurants and bars will submit their bloody mary recipe for public judging. Reservations are $40 and can be made online at Botanica.org or by calling 264-0448. More details soon!
May 9th ~ Girls Night Out!
Botanica presents Girls Night Out with Tallgrass Film Festival featuring complementary champagne cocktails, hors d’oeuvre, garden tours a free screening of Pretty In Pink and other girly treats. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 members, $20 non-members of Botanica or Tallgrass Film Association. Visit Botanica.org for ticket sales information or pay at the door.
May 18th ~ Camping Under the Stars (will likely sell out quick)
Pack the tent and sleeping bags and join us for a night under the stars with all the details covered: the dinner, snacks, activities and breakfast the next morning courtesy of Friends of Botanica. $40 per tent. Space is limited. Reservations required; call Karla at 316-264-0448 ext. 115.
May 19th ~ Teddy Bear Picnic Display
Teddy Bear Picnic is one of Botanica’s oldest and most beloved events. Children and their teddy bears can explore the Downing Children’s Garden and watch the grounds come alive with teddy bear vignettes and other “beary” fun activities and games. Beverages and popcorn will be available for purchase.
May 24th ~ Kelley Hunt Concert
Join us in the Gardens for a performance by Kelley Hunt. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Concert at 7:30 p.m. Members $13, non-members $15. Cash bar available and food provided for an additional charge. Buy tickets online at www.botanica.org or at the door.
May 28th ~ Memorial Day & Butterfly House Grand Opening (finale event)
You’ve been waiting for this since December, so come celebrate the opening of the Butterfly House and join in a variety of activities including face painting, butterfly related activities and sidewalk chalk drawings. Hotdogs, popcorn and beverages will be available for purchase.