Waco, Texas is a city known for its natural beauty and outdoor attractions. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Waco is by visiting its botanical gardens. Nature enthusiast captivated by diverse flora and fauna in botanical gardens. Luckily, Waco boasts some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the state of Texas.

The Carleen Bright Arboretum is one of the top botanical gardens in Waco. Discover Woodway’s botanical haven near downtown Waco. 16 acres host diverse gardens – roses, meditation, butterflies – at our enchanting arboretum. The arboretum also features a koi pond, fountains, and a nature trail that winds through native woodlands. It’s no wonder that the Carleen Bright Arboretum is known as the “Hidden Jewel of Woodway.”

Earle-Harrison House & Pape Gardens: Botanical Gardens in Waco

If you’re looking for a beautiful and historic botanical garden in Waco, the Earle-Harrison House & Pape Gardens is a must-visit. This location, featuring a pristine antebellum house and five acres of exquisite gardens, is ideal for nature lovers and history buffs.

Lush botanical gardens surround Earle-Harrison House in Waco. Colorful flowers, winding paths, and serene ponds create a peaceful, natural setting

The current iteration of the Earle-Harrison House is prized for the beauty of its botanical garden and grounds, as much as for the house itself [1]. Stretching over five acres, the groundskeepers tend to the blooming flowers, lily pond, towering live oaks, manicured lawns, fragrant herbs, and fresh vegetables [1]. Not to mention, the breathtaking 75-foot observation tower provides a stunning view of the surrounding area [1].

The Earle-Harrison House is Waco’s only restored antebellum building [2]. Completed in 1858 for Dr. Baylis Wood Earle, wife Eliza Harrison Earle, and their family, this side-entry Greek Revival-style home is a testament to the grandeur of the era [2]. With nine cypress columns and longleaf heart pine exterior sheathing, the 5,000 square foot structure has fourteen-foot first-floor ceilings, walk-through windows, and a beautiful winding staircase [2].

Earle-Harrison House & Pape Gardens are professionally managed by staff of Historic Waco [3]. Per an operating agreement signed in 2023, Historic Waco provides interpretation of the Earle-Harrison House; coordination of events and programming; oversight of the historic properties and artifacts; and frontline management of the entire complex on behalf of the Pape Foundation [3].

If you’re looking for a beautiful and historic botanical garden in Waco, the Earle-Harrison House & Pape Gardens is a must-visit. With its captivating gardens and charming antebellum house, this location is ideal for a leisurely afternoon stroll or an exciting day of exploration.

Carleen Bright Arboretum: Botanical Gardens in Waco

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, TX, and I must say, it was a delightful experience. The Arboretum is a hidden gem located in Woodway, just a short drive from downtown Waco.

Lush greenery surrounds winding paths. Colorful flowers bloom in every direction. Tall trees create a canopy overhead. A tranquil pond reflects the natural beauty

The Arboretum covers over 16 acres, with almost half of it developed as botanical gardens. Walking through the gardens, I marveled at the diverse array of plant life on display. From the colorful roses in the Rose Garden to the native woodlands along the Todd Willis Nature Trail, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the standout features of the Arboretum is the certified Monarch Way-station. This area specifically attracts and supports the declining Monarch butterfly population in recent years. It was fascinating to learn about the different plants and flowers that are essential to the Monarch’s survival and to see them up close in their natural habitat.

The Carleen Bright Arboretum is a serene destination featuring botanical gardens, a koi pond, fountains, and a meditation garden. The Pavilion Event Center offers a private event space with panoramic views. The Whitehall Tourist Information Center provides insight into the Arboretum and its surroundings. A perfect spot for botany enthusiasts or those seeking a tranquil afternoon. Highly recommended for a stroll through its gardens to appreciate the natural beauty.

Magnolia’s Garden: Botanical Gardens in Waco

Thrilled to visit Magnolia’s Garden during my trip to Waco, I discovered the garden at the Silos, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, the famous couple from the HGTV show Fixer Upper.

Lush greenery surrounds a winding path through Magnolia's Garden, with vibrant flowers and towering trees creating a peaceful, natural oasis

The staff carefully tends to a variety of plants and flowers in the beautiful oasis of the garden, impressing me with their attention to detail and the array of colors and textures.

One of my favorite parts of the garden was the Magnolia Seed + Supply store, which sells a variety of gardening tools, plants, and seeds. I picked up a few items to take home with me and start my own garden.

In addition to the garden, Magnolia also has a bakery, coffee shop, and several retail stores on the property. I highly recommend stopping by the bakery for a sweet treat and a cup of coffee.

Overall, Magnolia’s Garden is a must-visit for anyone who loves nature and wants to experience the beauty of Waco.

Exploring Carleen Bright Arboretum: Botanical Gardens in Waco

Thrilled to visit the Carleen Bright Arboretum during my trip to Waco, Texas, I immersed myself in the beauty of nature as a passionate enthusiast. This hidden gem in Woodway is a must-visit for anyone who loves botanical gardens and nature trails.

Lush greenery surrounds winding paths, leading to colorful blooms and tranquil ponds at Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco

Rose Garden and Native Woodlands

Upon arriving at the arboretum, the stunning Rose Garden greeted me. Filled with vibrant roses of different colors and sizes, it proved to be a perfect spot for capturing beautiful photos. After admiring the roses, I ventured into the Native Woodlands, which are home to a variety of native plants and wildlife. The Todd Willis Nature Trail winds through the woodlands, offering a peaceful and scenic walk for all explorers.

Todd Willis Nature Trail

I enjoyed walking along the Todd Willis Nature Trail, which offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for all skill levels. As I walked, I was surrounded by the beauty of the native woodlands, and I even spotted a few birds and butterflies along the way.

Meditation Garden and Fountains

After my walk, I visited the Meditation Garden, which is a tranquil and serene spot. The garden features a peaceful water fountain and lush greenery, making it a perfect place to relax and unwind. I also explored the fountains located throughout the arboretum, which added a touch of elegance and beauty to the gardens.

Overall, the Carleen Bright Arboretum is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Waco, Texas. The stunning Rose Garden, Native Woodlands, Todd Willis Nature Trail, Meditation Garden, and fountains make it a perfect spot for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful escape.

Events and Activities: Botanical Gardens in Waco

As a botanical garden, Carleen Bright Arboretum is not just a place to visit and admire nature’s beauty, but also a venue for various events and activities. Here are some of the events and activities that you can enjoy at the Arboretum:

Lush greenery surrounds winding paths in the botanical gardens, with colorful flowers and exotic plants on display. A tranquil pond reflects the vibrant scenery, while visitors explore the various themed sections

Weddings and Private Events

For those looking for a picturesque location for their special day, the Arboretum offers a stunning backdrop for weddings and other private events. The gardens’ serene atmosphere and beautiful scenery make for a memorable celebration. The venue offers an indoor and outdoor event space, which can accommodate up to 200 guests. The venue rental includes access to the gardens, tables, chairs, and a sound system.

Educational Programs and Picnics

The Arboretum is not just a place for leisure but also for learning. The venue offers educational programs for all ages, including guided tours, workshops, and classes. Visitors can learn about various topics, such as gardening, bird-watching, and nature photography. The Arboretum also offers picnic areas for visitors who want to enjoy their lunch surrounded by nature.

In conclusion, the Arboretum is a perfect place to host your events and activities. The gardens offer a serene and picturesque atmosphere that would make your event unforgettable. Additionally, the educational programs and picnic areas make the venue ideal for families and nature enthusiasts.

Conservation and Community Involvement: Botanical Gardens in Waco

As a botanical garden, conservation is at the heart of what we do. We believe that by preserving and protecting our natural habitats, we can create a better future for ourselves and the generations to come. At the Carleen Bright Arboretum, we are committed to promoting conservation and community involvement in several ways.

Lush gardens with diverse plant life, visitors and volunteers working together, educational signs and interactive exhibits, all surrounded by a sense of community and conservation

Monarch Way-Station

One of the ways we promote conservation is through our certified Monarch Way-Station. Monarch butterflies are a vital part of our ecosystem, and their populations have been declining in recent years. As a way to help preserve their habitat, we have created a way-station that provides the necessary resources for monarchs to thrive, such as milkweed plants and nectar sources. Visitors can learn about the importance of monarch butterflies and how they can help by creating their own way-stations at home.

McLennan County Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens

Another way we promote conservation and community involvement is through our McLennan County Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens. These gardens showcase sustainable gardening practices and provide education on how to create a habitat-friendly garden. We believe that by creating gardens that are in harmony with nature, we can help preserve our natural habitats and promote biodiversity. Visitors can learn about composting, rainwater harvesting, and other sustainable practices that they can implement in their own gardens.

At the Carleen Bright Arboretum, we believe that conservation and community involvement go hand in hand. By promoting sustainable practices and educating the public on the importance of preserving our natural habitats, we can create a better future for ourselves and the planet.

Visitor Information: Botanical Gardens in Waco

If you’re planning a visit to Waco, Texas, you won’t want to miss the botanical gardens. Here’s what you need to know before you go.

Lush greenery surrounds a sign for Visitor Information at the botanical gardens in Waco. A colorful array of flowers and plants creates a vibrant and inviting atmosphere

Hours and Admission

The Carleen Bright Arboretum is open every day from dawn until dusk. The Whitehall Visitors Center is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to help support the maintenance and development of the gardens.

Directions and Parking

The arboretum is located at 9001 Bosque Boulevard in Woodway, Texas. From Interstate 35, take exit 334A for Highway 6 South. Continue on Highway 6 for approximately 5 miles, then turn right onto Bosque Boulevard. The entrance to the arboretum will be on your left.

Parking is available on site, and there is no charge for parking. Handicapped parking is also available near the entrance to the gardens.


Reservations are not required to visit the arboretum, but they are recommended for groups of 10 or more. To make a reservation, please call 254-399-9204.

Other Information

The arboretum is a small but beautiful garden that is perfect for a relaxing stroll or a picnic with friends and family. There are benches and picnic tables throughout the gardens, as well as a pavilion that can be rented for private events.

If you’re short on time, you can easily see the highlights of the arboretum in an hour or two. However, if you have more time to spare, you can easily spend an entire day exploring the gardens and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

Overall, the Carleen Bright Arboretum is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Waco. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you’re sure to find something to love at this beautiful botanical garden.