Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory

An oasis in the middle of Oklahoma City, the newly refurbished Myriad Gardens and Tropical Conservatory is a delight for families, plant enthusiasts and athletes. The 17-acre property is beautifully landscaped with separate garden spaces, water features, activities for children, walking paths and well-maintained sports fields.

  In addition to gardens, ponds, fountains and relaxing vistas, the park offers 13 locations for event rental, outdoor classes for children, story time, duck feeding, remote control sailboat rentals, outdoor movies, Thursday night cocktails, bocce ball, corn toss, and a sculpture show.

The $14 million renovations are almost complete, including new entry plazas, event lawn, event pavilion, off-leash dog park, children’s playground, outdoor library and garden. At the end of the summer, the splash pool will become an ice rink.

The outdoor area that includes the Grand Event Lawn is a 28,000 square-foot lawn that seats over 2,000 and the Band shell. The Water Stage has outdoor seating for Shakespeare in the Park and other presentations.

Meinders Garden, funded by the Meinders family, is an Oklahoma Ozarks space, with native plants, and a stream that travels to the Myriad Gardens Lake. Stones from the Ozark Mountains have been made into a fountain.

Stephanie Royse
Stephanie Royse, director of marketing and communications, pointed out the Red Earth Invitational Sculpture Exhibits on the grounds and inside the Conservatory. 
For tropical plant enthusiasts, the 224-foot long Crystal Bridges Tropical Conservatory will be the best part of a trip to the park since it holds over two thousand plants from all over the globe.  The Conservatory is divided into three sections: Wet Tropical Rainforest, Island Tropical and Dry Tropical Desert Savanna.

The Wet Tropical Area is where the indoor waterfalls and 100-foot long stream create enough humidity to sustain plants from South and Central America, central Africa, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific Islands. The waterfall cascades down 35-feet with a staircase where visitors can see all the plants that thrive along it.

Kenton Peters
Our guide, Education Coordinator Kenton Peters, said that they keep Zebra Long wing butterflies in the Conservatory since they thrive in the 90-degree summertime heat and humidity of the Wet Tropical Area, enjoying the flowers’ pollen, and fluttering through the plantings.

Peters, who has worked at the Conservatory since 1993, is a plant enthusiast who takes pride in their unique and extensive collection.

“I love the plants, the variety, and the chance to share it with visitors, said Peters. “We protect some endangered species and have many that mean something to collectors and specialty plant clubs.”

Entering the Tropical Conservatory, visitors walk into a paradise of Bougainvillea, orchids, palms, tropical fruits, begonias, gingers, bromeliads and euphorbias. On the ground floor the plants climb 20-feet up toward the acrylic ceiling. Also look for the cycads that are distinctive because of their seed cones that resemble pinecones.

To enjoy the gardens from above, climb the waterfall stairs that take visitors to the Skywalk. Plants to watch for in the Wet Tropical Area include Spider Orchids, Rose Cactus and Epiphytes (plants that live in the air rather than in soil).

As you walk across the Conservatory on the Skywalk, imagine planting the orchids that grow from near the top of the 20-foot tall palms, and pruning the spent fronds from those palms. 

In the Dry Tropical Desert Savanna, at the other end of the Conservatory, you will see Hoya, Allemande, Agave, Aluadia and euphorbias.

The renovation to Myriad Botanical Gardens is a result of Devon Energy executive chairman Larry Nichols foresight and dedication to the project; he will be honored at the Orchids in October luncheon.
Myriad Botanical Garden – 17-acre park and children’s garden are free and open 6 a.m. to 11.
Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is open daily. Fee $4 to $7.
301West Reno, Oklahoma City
http://www.myriadgardens.organd 405-297-3665
Free movies under the stars Wed nights.
Orchids in October benefit: Oct 18. Information 405-297-3974


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