If you are a regular reader of our blog (or reading it for the first time) you realize we talk about the Myriad Botanical Gardens a lot. We have a soft spot for the 17-acre park as it serves as a nice getaway for downtown workers and a community gathering place for great festivals and concerts. Basically, it’s our little slice of relaxation in a bustling downtown. If you are new to OKC here is a brief (very brief) history of the gardens.
The first thoughts of the gardens came about more than 50 years ago in 1964 when world-renowned architect I.M. Pei was hired by city leaders to create a plan to revitalize downtown OKC. Oklahoma City pioneer Dean McGee (founder of Kerr-McGee Oil) became a champion for the park and continued that cause until his death in 1989.
In 1970, the name Myriad Botanical Gardens was adopted. Where did the name come from? If you are new to our city, across the street from the Gardens used to sit the Myriad, a 13,000-seat arena (the arena still exists as part of the Cox Convention Center).
The process was slow but in 1977 ground was officially broke on the Gardens. In March of 1988 the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory was opened to the public. More than 12,000 people visited the gardens in its opening weekend.
More recently (three years ago to be exact), the Gardens just completed a $10.5 million redesign that added features like the floating amphitheater, ice rink/reflecting pool and grand event lawn. The redesign also increased the horticulture of the park by 400 percent!