Finding things to do that the whole family will enjoy can sometimes be a challenge. The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (or BRIT for short) is one of the most gorgeous natural attractions in Texas and can be interesting for all ages. Located right in the heart of the Fort Worth Cultural District, yet far removed from urban distractions, BRIT begs guests to “come visit our world to discover your world.” The mission of BRIT is to educate guests on the value plants bring to our lives, and the importance of conserving plants and their diverse benefits for future generations. The facility accomplishes this through the sensory experience of the grounds, which showcase magnificent greenery and floral arrangements…as well as green living and experimental areas.
Spend a few hours or a whole day discovering the world-class collections of plants, books and programs offered by BRIT. Everything about the facility and campus are eco-friendly. The BRIT building, located next to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, is one of only six buildings in Texas to earn a LEED-NC Platinum Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is comprised of two sections: the Archives Block and the Think Block.
Inside the Archives Block, you’ll find the 20,000 square foot Herbarium, a climate-controlled living observatory that houses over 1 million dried plant specimens, some that date back as far as the 1700s. In addition to housing the SMU Herbarium collection and the Vanderbilt University Herbarium, BRIT presides over small collections from individuals and educational institutions. The remainder of the block is devoted to the BRIT Library and to research. The library is one of the world’s best, with over 125,000 books and other reference materials from 100+ countries. There are also 2,500 children’s books on botany and natural history on the shelves. BRIT botanists travel the world in search of new plant species, ways in which people and plants are interrelated and landscape ecology (land and the environment). Their research and documentation is ongoing, so it is always a fascinating place.
The Think Block contains BRIT’s educational, exhibit and administrative sections. Currently on display are artworks from Fort Worth ISD students and faculty. A Citizen’s Science Fair is coming later this summer.
If you and the senior in your life are fortunate enough to catch educational programs like the BRIT’s Distinguished Lecturer series or T.M. Barkley Plant Science and Ecology Seminar, you’ll gather information on current plant-related topics from prominent botanists.
Public and private tours are available, led by BRIT-trained Ambassadors, or go at your own pace. There are myriad native plants on the grounds and so much to see inside of BRIT, with its architecture and sustainable features like a living rooftop, vegetated walls and furnishings of wool and linen. At this time of year, flowers are in bloom, and the atmosphere is especially relaxing.
Adding to the natural ambiance of the largest herbarium in the Southwest is BRIT’s First Saturday Farmers Market, which will take place June 7 and every first Saturday from April through October, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. You’ll find fresh, seasonal items from local growers, live music and food trucks, plus hands-on educational workshops and programs, Plant Walks and public tours of the BRIT facility.
Make an escape to the Botanical Research Institute of Texas sometime soon with a senior you know…first Saturdays or any day. The tranquil setting of plants and research will be remembered fondly. Homecare Assistance of Fort Worth can arrange a trip to BRIT or other area must-sees for seniors, whether as part of in-home care or part-time care.