Zilker Botanical Garden – A Little Zen in Austin Texas

Sharing is caring!

Zilker Botanical Garden is a little piece of Zen in central Austin. I often stopped by in-between client appointments to take a meditative break in my favorite Austin botanical gardens. To have an escape from a busy metropolitan area within the inner city is rare.

Zilker is close to downtown but you wouldn’t know it once you step onto the grounds. It’s one of the best places to visit in Austin if you are into gardening.

Zilker Gardens are truly unique botanical gardens with features such as the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, Butler Window, Blacksmith Shop, and the Swedish log cabin. There’s also a children’s garden and butterfly trail.

This post contains compensated links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here

Austin botanical gardens at Zilker Park include these Lotus flowers at the entrance of Zilker Botanical Garden created by Austin Pond Society

Lotus flowers at the entrance of Zilker Botanical Garden


Especially when the flowers are blooming in the spring, summer, and fall Zilker Botanical Garden offers a Zen experience in the city of Austin. Find more fun things to do in Austin here.


Echinacea flowers blooming in summer - Zilker Botanical Garden near downtown Austin TX - a favorite part of Zilker Park

Echinacea flowers blooming in summer – Zilker Botanical Garden


Best time to visit Zilker Botanical Garden

Spring is my favorite time to visit Zilker Botanical Garden because I love to see the redbuds begin to bloom but there is beauty in every season. The setting is always serene with various gardens, water features, and historical features.

While you will find the most vibrant blooms in the spring with the redbud trees blooming great clusters of bright pink flowers, it is still a beautiful garden to visit anytime of the year. Zilker is peaceful and you will often see or hear the birds around Zilker gardens.


Redbud blooms in spring at Zilker Botanical Garden - late February to mid-March

Redbud blooms in spring at Zilker Botanical Garden


Zilker Botanical Garden map and basic info

Zilker Botanical Garden consists of 25 acres of land located just south of the Colorado River in central Austin.

The garden is part of Zilker Metropolitan Park – a 350 acre park in central Austin which is home to Barton Springs Pool, Lady Bird Lake, and hosts annual events such as Austin City Limits Music Festival and Zilker Kite Festival.

The garden is operated by The City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department and the Austin Area Garden Council.

Click here for your free printable map of Zilker Botanical Garden.


Map of Zilker Botanical Garden in Central Austin TX

Map of Zilker Botanical Gardens Austin


Andrew Jackson Zilker donated the land for Zilker Park in 1917 and it was developed into a park during the 1930’s. Zilker Botanical Garden has been around since the 1960’s with changes and improvements over the years.


Japanese Gardens at Zilker Botanical Gardens Austin


Japanese Gardens - created by Isamu Taniguchi when he was 70 years old

Japanese Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin TX – created by Isamu Taniguchi


The Japanese Garden is my favorite at Zilker Botanical Garden – created by Isamu Taniguchi who was born in Osaka Japan but his family migrated to the US when he was a teenager.


Pure Zen - lotus flower at the Japanese Garden created by Isamu Taniguchi - Zilker Botanical Garden in central Austin TX

Lotus flower at the Japanese Garden in Zilker Botanical Garden Austin TX – pure Zen


Mr Taniguchi was 70 years old when he donated his time and expertise to create the Japanese Garden on 3 acres of land. The garden was built as a symbol of peace.


Togetsu-kyo bridge or "Bridge to Walk Over the Moon" by Isamu Taniguchi - Zilker Botanical Garden in central Austin Texas

Togetsu-kyo bridge – “Bridge to Walk Over the Moon” by Isamu Taniguchi


Dinosaurs at Zilker Botanical Garden

Yes really! Imagine my surprise when I spotted the dinosaur hanging out at the gardens in Zilker park?! What a cool idea! When I go visit family in Calgary I get to day trip to Drumheller Badlands for lots of dinosaur stuff but I never knew about dinosaurs around the Austin Texas area.

But why are there dinosaurs at Zilker in Austin? After the discovery of dinosaur tracks on the grounds of Zilker Botanical Garden the Hartman Prehistoric Garden was born.


Hartman prehistoric garden at Zilker Botanical Garden in central Austin TX - Zilker Metropolitan Park

Ornithominus at the Prehistoric garden within Zilker gardens in Austin TX


The plants in the Hartman Prehistoric Garden are representative of the type that would have been around during the Cretaceous Period.

The waterfall at Zilker is gorgeous! No wonder this spot is often used for outdoor weddings in Austin. You can plan your wedding at Zilker Botanical Garden but be sure to plan ahead and make a reservation by calling 512-477-8672 ext. 10 or email David.Trevino@austintexas.gov. The other great wedding venue in Austin is the place with peacocks – Mayfield Park.


Waterfall - near the location of dinosaur tracks prehistoric garden in Zilker Botanical Garden in central Austin TX

Waterfall – prehistoric garden in Zilker Botanical Garden


I find a little piece of Zen among the many water features, flower gardens, and pathways of the Zilker Botanical Garden in central Austin. Plus dinosaur sightings!


Austin's Zilker Botanical Garden lily pond at the entrance features these beautiful peach color lotus flowers

Lotus flowers at the botanical garden in Austin Texas


Zilker Botanical Garden visitor info


2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin

Phone Number



Daily from 7 am – 7 pm (after daylight savings time closing time is 5:30 pm)

Admission cost at Zilker Botanic Garden

$2 adults – Austin residents
$3 adults non-residents
$1 children (age 3 – 12) and seniors (over age 62)

All prices as of September 2018

Tours of Zilker Botanic Garden

Group tours are available. More information at Zilker Garden website.


Read these related posts about Austin Texas


LOVE it!? Save to Pinterest

Waterfall, fairytale bridge, lotus flowers at the botanical garden in Zilker Botanical Garden in central Austin Texas USA



Sharing is caring!

Tags: ,

About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling solo around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 5 of a solo road trip around the USA and Canada, living a nomadic life, and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

13 Replies

Trackback  •  Comments RSS

  1. Awesome pictures of flowers…!

  2. Amit Agarwal says:

    Great, serene place…wonderfully captured!

  3. One of my best friends lives in Austin; miss her.

  4. Laurie Kazmierczak says:

    Wonderful series…love that bridge♪

  5. How peaceful and beautiful. I love all the purples and especially the presence of a dinosaur.

  6. Reader Wil says:

    Susan you keep making people happy with your beautiful photos and showing beautiful places all over the world! Please do join us also in the next round.
    Have a great week.

    • Thank you so much Wil – you are very kind. And YES! I will be joining you all in the next round. I have enjoyed this project very much and it has been a rewarding experience to visit with so many people around the world.


  7. What a beautiful and restful place to regroup ones thoughts.
    I don’t blame you for going there and the redbud is gorgeous.

  8. Ann says:

    Oh my those red buds look phenomenol up close!! Lovely garden flowers and statues. Makes me feel Zen just looking.

  9. Joy says:

    What an interesting idea to create a prehistoric garden the lush greens conjure up an ancient time, and plants. It would be quite an attack of the senses to see the zing of the redbud blossom after all the cool greens.

  10. Diane Westwell says:

    What a wonderful place to relax and meditate, I loved the Japanese Garden and also the rickety wooden bridge. Fantastic photography too!

    Best wishes,

    • Thank you Di! I have several places around Austin that I use for my meditation breaks and the Japanese Garden at Zilker Botanical is a favorite when I’m driving home from South Austin. I have learned to plan and schedule a little solitude into each day.

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.