Texas Discovery Gardens makes a daily mission of connecting children and families to the natural environment. The 76-year-old Dallas-based nonprofit was the first public garden in Texas to be certified 100 percent organic and its grounds are maintained with water conservation and sustainability in mind. An almost 10-year partnership with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department provides a portion of operational funding and allows for creative stewardship of two historic properties located within the garden grounds, while a robust volunteer core and dedicated staff members provide additional support and education for the tens of thousands of visitors who pour into the facility each year. The more than 7-acre botanic garden includes native and adapted plants, as well as the impressive two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium. Once inside, visitors are greeted by knowledgeable entomologists and a tropical rainforest teeming with hundreds of sparkling butterflies. In April, Texas Discovery Gardens hosts its butterfly gardening workshop and butterfly plant sale — both events educate participants about the importance of pollinators like bees and butterflies, and encourage the inclusion of pollinator-friendly plants in backyard gardens. If that’s not enough butterfly action, each day at noon, Texas Discovery Gardens staff host a butterfly release demonstration, where the newly emerged insects are set free to take wing inside the Sammons Butterfly House. Yet more butterfly-themed events take place throughout the year — readers in the vicinity are encouraged to click here to learn more and for volunteer opportunities.
— Samantha Bartram, Executive Editor of Parks & Recreation magazine