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Tribute Day

Lady Bird Johnson Tribute Day - 2012 Centennial year

The Wildflower Center goes all out Sunday, July 28 to honor our founder, Lady Bird Johnson, and all she has done for our nation's treasured environment. Admission will be FREE for visitors. Enjoy exhibits, children’s activities and more during extended hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lunch, drinks, snacks and ice cream are available in the Wildflower Café, noon to 4 p.m.

Special programs for the whole family

  • Create a Bluebell flower craft in the Visitors Gallery anytime during the day.
  • Pam Penick signs Lawn Gone! from 1 to 3 p.m. in The Store
  • Explore the gardens with a guided tour at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.
  • Bring your camera to take a photo with a life-sized likeness of our founder. 
  • Go behind the scenes to see the Center’s hidden treasures during an interior guided tour at 10:30 a.m.
  • Enjoy Storytime--about flowers--in the Little House at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.
  • Meet watercolor artist Jan Heaton at her exhibit in the McDermott Learning Center from 1 to 2 p.m, and hear her talk about it at 2 p.m.
A special feature is a memorabilia exhibit in the Visitors Gallery, which will include a hat owned by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and a Lucite cane (given to Lady Bird by Marianne Peak, superintendent at the Adams National Historic Park), a needlepoint jacket and white lace house slippers, all owned by Lady Bird herself.

Also, don’t miss your chance to own an elegant flower-themed pen in honor of Lady Bird Johnson. The Wildflower Center is partnering with Paradise Pen Company at Barton Creek Square Mall to commemorate the former first lady on Tribute Day. The specially-packaged pens will go on sale at the Paradise Pen Company store in Barton Creek Mall on Sunday, July 28, and are available until all 100 of this very special model are sold. The Center will receive $15 from the sale of each pen. Also, only on Tribute Day, 10 percent of all store sales at Paradise Pen will go to the Center, and there will be drawings for special prizes including a lovely 5280 pen and Wildflower Center memberships.

Lady Bird Johnson in front of the Wildfower Center entrance

More about Lady Bird

Claudia Alta Taylor was born in Karnack, Texas on December 22, 1912. Stories say that she earned her life-long nickname when a nursemaid said she was "as purty as a lady bird." She met the then Congressional secretary Lyndon B. Johnson while he was in Austin on official business and she was studying at the University of Texas. The couple married in November of 1934.

Mrs. Johnson felt close to nature and its beauty throughout her life, from Caddo Lake near her childhood home to the well-manicured lawns of the White House. Known as the "Environmental First Lady," she spent much of her life conserving the country's landscapes.

We honor her close to the date, July 26, 1968, when President Johnson presented her with 50 pens he used to sign environmental bills inspired by her work.   Because of her, we have more wildflowers along highways and fewer billboards and junkyards as a result of "Lady Bird's Bill," or The Highway Beautification Act of 1965. This law cut back on roadside advertising and required that junkyards along highways be removed or screened.

Mrs. Johnson also created the First Lady's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, planting azaleas and trees around the White House and cleaning up and replanting parks and areas all throughout the District of Columbia. She worked to control the rat infestations in the Shaw area, planted flowers in parks all over the city and prompted businesses and citizens to get involved in beautification. 

Lady Bird Johnson's impact on the nation was enormous and continues today in places like the Redwood National Park, the Grand Canyon and here in Austin. Although Mrs. Johnson passed away on July 11, 2007, we continue to remember her life and contributions, because, in her own words, "The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become."

© 2013 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center