The word “Shangri La” means beauty, peace and enlightenment. These words were at the very core of H.J. Lutcher Starks vision when he first created these botanical gardens over 60 years ago. Now, part of the Stark Foundation, the vibrant colors of these 250 acres paint a beautiful backdrop where you can spend all day winding through the more than three hundred plant species.
Aside from the beautiful botanical gardens, the grounds are also home to nesting birds you can observe from the bird blind. The foundation’s goal is to promote beauty and education, so be sure to check out their website for upcoming classes and clinics to participate in during your visit.
Tuesday through Saturday they also conduct an Outpost Tour where you can board a pontoon for a guided tour on the Adams Bayou. Aside from the beauty of this magnificent property, the best part is this is all enjoyed complimentary thanks to the Stark Foundation. Donations are welcome, but not required.
While in Orange, you may also want to check out the Stark Museum of Art and W.H Stark House. Also, funded by the Stark Foundation, both are complimentary to enter as well. The Stark Museum houses collections of American Western Art from both the 19th and 20th centuries. The W. H. Stark House was the home of H.J. Lutcher Stark when he was young and is artfully decorated with treasures from his parent’s travel. It is also a testament to the outstanding craftsmanship of its day. Both venues are located in historic downtown Orange and are worth the visit.