How's this for being a TDT reader and, thus, an insider expert on the best of what there is to do in this wonderful city: Not only do you know that there's an Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden and that it's right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but you also know about it before it even fully exists.
Take that, weird, slightly sweaty guy at the water cooler who's always trying to one-up you with his Tulsa knowledge. You're sure to have the edge on him this time.
What promises to be a premier botanical garden - one of the fanciest in the whole U.S. - is taking root in the Osage Hills, just a few miles northwest of downtown Tulsa.
The setting? 160 acres of beautiful, rolling hills, where the Cross Timbers from the east meets the western prairie. Think panoramic views of sunrises, sunsets and skyscrapers.
See downtown peeking out at us from the right?
While the folks at the OCBG look to preserve the original ecosystem of the area, they're also planning 15 theme gardens, 60 specialty gardens, a 7-acre lake, a 3,000-seat amphitheater, visitor center, conservatory, inter-faith chapel, tram service and, if you can believe it, more.
The Garden will promote research and education. The site has already become a living laboratory, and university botanists have collected, identified and catalogued the land's nearly 400 plant species. Archaeologists have searched for artifacts, and foresters are helping to preserve the ancient forest.
And university geology students are checking out the 1.5-mile walking trail, as are their rock-loving spawn.
The Centennial Phase - that 7-acre lake I mentioned, plus a temporary visitor center, an entrance road, a small parking lot and those hiking trails - is complete.
What's cool about this project is that it will grow with our ability and commitment to fund it. The land for the Garden site was donated, and if donations prove to be enthusiastic enough to complete the garden according to the plan, it expects to host 300,000 visitors each year - which, given attendance at parks like the Tulsa Zoo and River Parks and Woodward Park, seems a very conservative projection.
The best part about all this? You can check out the garden for yourself. For free, even.
The OCBG hosts a free open house each Saturday from 10am-1pm. Kids, families, discontented goth teenagers, Uncle Bill - all are welcome to walk the trail and give the Garden a general once-over.
Or, if you're so inclined, a twice-over.
I think you'll find that the Garden and its promise is worth a donation of at least a few of your hard-earned dollars.
Does anyone else thing that pink one looks like a Fraggle?
My husband told me this was a wild blackberry bush. I believe him.
Well, I think I believe him. But I didn't exactly try any to make sure.
At any rate, you'll need some of this if you want to hit the trail:
You deep woodsman, you.
If you could add one thing to the Garden's master plan, what would it be?