Texas Wildflowers

Texas Wildflowers

Bluebonnets along back country roads in Fredericksburg, TX.

Nature didn’t exactly cooperate with us while we were in Austin. First we stopped by the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to watch the nightly flight of the roughly 1.5 million bats who live there. Only the bats didn’t appear until after dark, which is to say they didn’t really appear to us at all.

The following day we drove to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center; a huge mistake. Notwithstanding wildflower blooms everywhere along roadways, and a claim on their website that over 20 flowers were blooming at the center, we paid $9 each to see this:

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin TX

Money well spent. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX took $9 each to see this scrub.

I don’t blame the bats for being tardy, or the flowers for not blooming on schedule. I do blame the humans who work at the Wildflower Center for charging full admission without warning when they know perfectly well there is nothing to see.

Our advice? Skip the Wildflower Center altogether. It’s expensive, unpredictable, and, most importantly, you can see fabulous wildflower displays along the back roads for free. Ask at a visitor center for the best routes, which is what we did once we arrived in Fredericksburg where nature didn’t disapoint.

Fredericksburg Wildflowers

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8 Comments on “Texas Wildflowers”

  1. Missus Tribble May 9, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Gorgeous. I really ought to take some photos of the beautiful countryside in my area 🙂

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  2. nadinefeldman May 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    So sorry the wildflower center was a disappointment! I found it lovely when we visited. You’re right, though, there is an abundance of wildflowers out everywhere in the right time of year! There is nothing more breathtaking than Texas bluebonnets in the spring.

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    • Brian May 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      The bluebonnets were pretty amazing, but so too where all the other flowers. We saw so many colors driving around it was just crazy.

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  3. Atari May 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    The locals usually know where to find better alternatives to the typical “tourist” spots. I try to hit welcome centers whenever I can, and just talk to the volunteers–most of them have been in that area for a million years, and know every little thing there is around!

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    • Brian May 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      We try to get local color whenever we can. We gave some other travelers the 411 on the wildlife center and saved them $18. Karma is a boomerang.

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  4. john May 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    you were a bit late for most of the colorful display…

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  5. kathryningrid May 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    I imagine the Wildflower Center was pretty spectacular as much as a month earlier–our wildflowers up in north TX were very early this year too–but as you say, just enjoying the freebies on any given road is always a great option anyhow! My own bluebonnet post this spring was illustrated with shots taken just about 15 minutes’ drive from home, at an overgrown front yard just off the Farm-to-Market road we were driving.

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    • Brian May 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      We actually hit the Wildflower Center at the end of March. If anything, we were somehow too early. I don’t see how, though, because everywhere else the flowers were popping.

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