Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City Utah

Red Butte Gardens is a botanical garden and amphitheatre, ran by the University of Utah, nestled amongst the Wasatch Range foothills in Salt Lake City, Utah. Containing over 100 acres of botanical wonders, visitors can enjoy hiking trails, native vegetation, and even Red Butte Creek. Open year round to the public, Red Butte even hosts top billing musical acts at their amphitheatre overlooking the Salt Lake City, valley.

The gardens originated from a man named Dr. Walter P. Cottam, who is co-founder of The Nature Conservancy and Botany Department Chairman at the University of Utah. Beginning in 1930, Dr. Cottam began conducting plant research on campus land and continued this work for over 30 years. His main focus was to evaluate plants to determine how adaptable they were to Utah’s high desert region.

In 1961, the Utah State Legislature formally recognized Cottam’s impressive collection by designating the University’s campus landscape as the State Arboretum. The original legislation mandated that the arboretum provide facilities and resources for cultivating a greater knowledge and public appreciation for fauba around us.

As the arboretum grew so did the need for permanent display gardens and public educational facilities. In 1983, Ezekiel R. Dumke. Jr. and Richard Hildreth headed efforts to have the University dedicate 150 acres at the base of Red Butte Canyon for a regional botanical garden. At that time the State Arboretum was renamed Red Butte Garden & Arboretum. The site provided visitors an amazing opportunity to experience horticultural collections and to better understand the richly diverse fauna found in the area.

In 1985, the garden officially opened to the public and in 1994 the Walter P. Cottam Visitor Center opened for business. Since then expansions have included the Courtyard Garden, Fragrance Garden, Medicinal Garden, Herb Garden, Hemingway Four Seasons Garden, Dumke Floral Walk, Children’s Garden, the Richard K. Hemingway Orangerie, the amphitheater, an expanded gift shop, and the McCarthy Family Rose Garden. All were funded by community donations.

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