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“More than meets the eye! Even if you aren't outdoorsy, worth a tour :-).”

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Garden
Ranked #4 of 12 things to do in Fort Davis
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located 4 miles SE of Fort Davis on Hwy 118, the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center is comprised of semi-desert grasslands and igneous rock outcrops with a riparian canyon and spectacular views from all directions. Visitors may explore more than 3 miles of hiking trails from the moderate to strenuous 1.75 Mile Modesta Canyon Trail that leads into a hidden canyon featuring a series of permanent springs and pools, to the moderate 1.0 Mile Clayton's Overlook Trail which provides miles of breathtaking scenery from the overlook along with a Geology Exhibit to several additional trails, as well. The 0.5 Mile winding path through the Botanical Gardens offers a variety of trees and shrubs native to the Chihuahuan Desert region. Halfway through the gardens, is the Cactus and Succulent Greenhouse featuring one of the finest collections of cacti and succulents from the Chihuahuan Desert region. Many of the 165 species and subspecies bloom in early spring, providing a profusion of color and texture.
Austin, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“More than meets the eye! Even if you aren't outdoorsy, worth a tour :-).”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

My outdoorsy friends suggested we meet here for a tour of the botanical garden. Eh, I thought, what the heck could a desert "garden" hold? We-4 adults and 3 kids aged 10-16-were completely engrossed. The day we visited there was a cactus sale and a talk on foods found in the desert, including suggestions of what to eat if we were strangely alone in the desert with no food. We were able to sample edible items from various bushes and trees as well as mesquite flour cookies and a nopales (prickly pear) salad-both delicious! The guide then led us on an informative walk through the botanical garden including a large tent of "rescued" cacti. It is still very early in spring so plants are just starting to bloom. We were assured that July and August are beautiful times to visit-don't fear the heat as it cools off every night. We are considering a return trip!

Your admission is good for 3 days so be sure to go early on in your visit to save time to return if you missed something. They close at 5:00 and time got away from us quickly.
The staff/volunteers are friendly and well informed. They are very patient with a variety of questions and you get a good idea of who and how people inhabit this remote part of Texas.

Onsite is also a silver mine mock up with a lovely volunteer guide. Very kid friendly.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank ferdmcbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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197 reviews from our community

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English first
The Woodlands
Level 6 Contributor
192 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Amazing and so worth the time!”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We were pleasantly surprised at the beauty of this place...especially after hiking at Davis Mountains State Park. We hiked up to the top of the overlook where there was a well done geological presentation. There were so many different type of terrain and views along the way that kept us amazed. On the back side we were amazed by the canyon. Stunning beauty but a little challenging to navigate. I was glad I had poles. The information center had a nice bookstore and food to sample made of cactus. The botanical gardens were interesting and quite large but the cactus greenhouse was incredible. I have never seen such variety! There was also a mining exhibit that my boys enjoyed looking at. Very worth spending a half day to a full day!

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Texans112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Walk in Nature”
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Took the nature walk to the Botanical garden and then up to the Greenhouse to view the huge selection of Cactus. Amazing place and the guides are so helpful and knowledgable.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Elizabeth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Come Early, Stay Long”
Reviewed December 10, 2012

Been coming to this area since it was not much more than a greenhouse and a parking lot, so it was a very great surprise to see how much it had grown, especially the seeming miles of trails within the botanical garden. Each plant family was gathered into adjacent plots so that its diversity was apparent. If only I'd been there a few weeks earlier, say in mid-March, so many more of the cacti would still have been in bloom. Nonetheless, the greenhouse had dozens of their blooms camera-ready, and there were lots of flowers on the other plants to attract butterflies and their predators, the lizards and spiders. Posted the findings of the latter on the Nature Center's bulletin board and scored some really neat T-shirts before leaving.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Johnny F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Level 6 Contributor
550 reviews
169 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 222 helpful votes
“A Great Surprise”
Reviewed October 19, 2012 via mobile

There was much more to see here than we originally thought there would be. We went on the trails and enjoyed the botanical garden as well as the greenhouse area. It was interesting and a lot to take in. Allow at least a couple of hours to experience all that this place has to offer!

Helpful?
1 Thank michelewave04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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