About the San Antonio
The Botanical Garden’s tranquil 38 acres serve as a living museum of native and imported plant life for guests to appreciate, learn from, and enjoy.
2020 Quick Facts
Enriching lives through plants and nature.
San Antonio Botanical Garden is a world-class garden recognized for outstanding horticulture displays, botanical diversity, education, conservation, and experiences that connect people to the natural world. The Garden embraces the sense of place that makes San Antonio unique.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden was first imagined nearly eight decades ago by civic influencers Mrs. R. R. Witt and Mrs. Joseph Murphy. Forty years of planning and partnerships finally blossomed on May 3, 1980, with the official opening of the Botanical Garden.
Since that day, the formal gardens and collections of native Texas plants have evolved to make the Botanical Garden one of the most noteworthy botanical centers in the state, educating and inspiring guests from around the world.
1900 - 1969
Idea & Development
Mrs. R. R. Witt and Mrs. Joseph Murphy conceived the idea of a Botanical Garden in San Antonio in the 1940s. Together with their friends and associates, they organized the San Antonio Garden Center. Their first major effort was the development and presentation of a master plan for a public botanical garden in the late 1960s. The recommended future Botanical Garden site was a decades-old gift to the City from George W. Brackenridge, given in 1899. The property was originally home to the Brackenridge Waterworks in 1877, when water was pumped uphill through Mahncke Park from the San Antonio River to create a 5,000,000 gallon reservoir (which today is the Botanical Garden’s hilltop amphitheater).
1970 - 1979
Funding for groundwork began in 1970, when voters approved $265,000 in bonds for the Botanical Garden. This money, along with a grant awarded five years later by the Ewing Halsell Foundation, other contributions from organizations and individuals, and a significant grant from the Economic Development Administration helped pay for the project. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on July 21, 1976.
1980 - 2016
The official opening of the San Antonio Botanical Garden was May 3, 1980. That same year, the San Antonio Botanical Garden Society, Inc. was chartered. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was specifically established to support the Botanical Garden in its role of inspiring people to connect with the world of plants and understand the importance of plants in our lives.
In this public/private partnership, the Botanical Garden Society brought major capital improvements to the Garden, while community events and exhibits heightened public awareness of the Botanical Garden.
2017 - Present
Expansion & Privatization
The Botanical Garden expanded by eight acres in 2017 with support from its $40 million GROW capital campaign. Complementing the existing Garden through a new entrance experience, a culinary garden and outdoor kitchen for teaching health and wellness, and a family adventure garden promoting nature play.
As of early 2019, the Botanical Garden transitioned into privatization after a 30-year partnership with the City of San Antonio. This nearly 40-year-old Garden continues to operate on City property.
Thanks to the generous support of donors like you, the Botanical Garden is able to continue fulfilling its mission of inspiring people to connect with the plant world and understand the importance of plants in our lives.
The Garden is operating under a 5-year strategic plan concluding in 2026. View the document below to learn about the Garden’s strategic priorities and key goals.