Discover a flourishing oasis tucked within the heart of downtown Oklahoma City at the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.
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Nestled between the monumental Devon Tower and Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory will transport you to a lush paradise amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown. This 17-acre garden features indoor and outdoor areas bursting with color from ever-blooming flowers and plants, as well as winding pathways that beckon visitors to explore the verdant grounds.
Open to the public since 1988, the Myriad Botanical Gardens have continually provided a gathering place for friends, a playground for children and a spot to relax and enjoy the day. Whether you’re looking for a fun festival, a tranquil destination to unwind while hopping between the attractions of downtown, or even a place to bring your furry friend, the Myriad Botanical Gardens have a myriad of possibilities!
The outdoor areas found within the Myriad Botanical Gardens are free and open to the public year round. On hot summer days, a simulated thunderstorm water feature invites children to cool down under cascading water streams that flow across a brightly colored mosaic tiled area. Don your swimsuit, stand under the water sculpture and experience a growing thunderstorm complete with noise, raining water and cool mist. Another favorite spot for families is the amazingly fun and imaginative Children’s Garden, located on the southwest corner of the botanical gardens. This enclosed zone offers spongy play areas, playground toys and even a treehouse observation area. Even very young children can enjoy the tiled floor area, which rewards curious feet with musical sounds when stepped on.
Take a stroll on the numerous paved walking paths, many of which are handicap accessible, and listen to the serene sounds of rippling water while marveling at the surrounding plant life. The theme of water is apparent throughout the outdoor gardens. Beginning from the northeast corner of the gardens, visitors will find a large water fountain built to resemble an outcropping in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma’s northeast Green Country. This cascading waterfall gradually turns into a flowing stream that twists and turns its way through the gardens before returning to the centrally located lake beneath the Crystal Bridge.
The stunning jewel of the Myriad Botanical Gardens is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, a tube-shaped bridge that leads into a tropical paradise measuring 224 feet long, 70 feet in diameter and covered by translucent panes of glass. One step into this 13,000 square foot, climate controlled display area and you’ll have a hard time believing that you’re not standing in the middle of an Amazonian jungle. Marvel at the beauty of the main cascading waterfall as it plunges 35 feet down and sprinkles nearby plants with droplets of water.
There are two distinct climates inside the Crystal Bridge Conservatory. The first is the tropical wet zone, also known as Wet Mountain, located on the south end. The other is the tropical dry zone, or Dry Mountain, in the north. The wet zone is watered daily, while the dry zone is watered from April to September, mimicking the conditions the plants would receive in their natural environment. The temperature is also controlled inside the tube, ranging anywhere from 60 to 95 degrees in the summer to 62-78 degrees in the winter.
Even the most travelled visitors are sure to see something new, as the Crystal Bridge features over 1,000 species of plants representing every continent except Antarctica. Examples of plants species include palms, cycads, gingers, bromeliads, orchids, euphorbias and begonias. One of the most unique plant species that graces the Crystal Bridge Conservatory is the Amorphophallus titanium, or corpse flower. The blooming of the corpse flower is so rare that it occurs less than 10 times worldwide each year.
Explore the first floor of the garden or climb the stairs on either side of the display and walk on a suspended catwalk for a bird’s eye view amidst the indoor canopy of towering trees. Another amazing sight is the free-roaming black zebra longwing butterflies and amphibians that live within the conservatory. Additionally, the sunken stream inside the conservatory is home to Japanese koi fish.
Tucked beside the Crystal Bridge and nearly completely surrounded by the central lake, the water stage and surrounding amphitheatre attract crowds of visitors for live music, theater productions and more. The Myriad’s amphitheatre comes to life each summer as theatre companies descend for Shakespeare in the Park. This annual event, which is held on various dates throughout the summer, features productions from classic Shakespeare to the delight of veteran theater fans and casual visitors alike.
The Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory are also home to Festival of the Arts, held each spring, and Downtown in December, held annually from the day after Thanksgiving through the New Year. Visit Festival of the Arts for a six-day celebration that brings together over 140 artists from across the nation, as well as non-stop live entertainment and the festival’s famous International Food Row. It’s no surprise that the Myriad Botanical Gardens are host to such a large art event, as the grounds are scattered with art pieces from throughout the years, such as the “Spirit Poles,” which were gifts from the City of Tulsa to Oklahoma City for the state’s centennial anniversary in 2007.
Another beloved annual event held at Myriad Botanical Gardens is Downtown in December. Head to this month-long event for activities held throughout downtown Oklahoma City and bring your ice skates to whiz across the outdoor ice rink at the botanical gardens. Beautiful twinkling lights are also strung throughout the park, adding a feeling of magic to the air.
Whether you’re looking for an afternoon of exploration, a leisurely stroll through the park or an exciting event, visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory in Oklahoma City. This delightful oasis is waiting to whisk you away on a charming adventure through rainforests, traditional gardens, children’s play areas and so much more.