To our family, travel isn't just about fun. We try to use it to learn more about our wonderful world and the people and creatures inhabiting it. During most of our vacations, we try to find a subject each of our children are interested in and find a way to work it into our itinerary. Sometimes it is even necessary to pick our vacation destinations based on an interest, for instance choosing Hawaii to view the volcanoes or Galveston to find out more about sea turtles.
If you have a family member with an interest in plants, you will find a hidden gem in Fort Worth, Texas that is sure to feed their curiosity. While you may already know about the city's botanic gardens you probably are unaware of their neighbor. Right next door, you can find The Botanic Research Institute of Texas (or BRIT).
The BRIT is housed in a building designed around sustainable practices. You can view their solar paneled roof or their restored prairie habitat. Their whole building is full of innovations in green architectural design. Self-guided tours are free, but guided tours may be arranged for a small fee.
But the real draw of the BRIT is their dedication to public education. They built this institute around a large collection of botanical books in their library and an impressive herbarium. The herbarium holds around one million plant specimens. Unlike most herbariums opened only for researchers, the BRIT is open to the public. You can make an appointment to use the herbarium, and an employee will help you. This would be great for your kids that are serious botanists in training.
If you are hoping to spark a plant interest in your family, the BRIT is still a great place to visit. Take some time to visit their rotating exhibits, before heading over to the beautiful Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. Currently, they are showcasing native Texas plants. They also frequently have education sessions on Saturdays that we’ve found interesting for the whole family. Check their website at BRIT.org to find out what exhibits and education opportunities are present during the time of your visit.