Last year in November, officials from the historic Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens announced plans for an ambitious expansion project that calls for the addition of a 36,000-square-foot facility on the southwestern side of the existing conservatory. The expansion, which is valued at an estimated $14 million, will add a number of new amenities including classrooms, a butterfly exhibit, events space and a café.
Now, fundraising efforts for the expansion have taken a major step forward thanks to the contribution of a $1.5 million grant from the Western New York Regional Economic Council.
“We are extremely excited about this,” said Botanical Gardens CEO David Swarts in an interview. “This support indicates that the state clearly believes our project has merit.”
When the botanical gardens conservatory was first completed in 1899, it was one of the largest public greenhouses in the nation. Today, it remains one of the most popular weekend destinations in Western New York. Attendance at the botanical gardens has grown significantly in recent years, but the conservatory has not undergone a major expansion since it was built more than a century ago. According to botanical gardens officials, the new addition will allow the conservatory to accommodate more events like weddings and educational classes.
If you’ve never had an opportunity to visit the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens in the past, consider spending an afternoon in the conservatory one day soon! Located in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed South Park, the Botanical Gardens is one of the most beloved historical sites in our area.