About Us

Since the publication of the book Lost Horizon in 1933, the term “Shangri La” has represented a place of beauty, peace and enlightenment. In Orange, Texas, a modern Shangri La has been recreated with the best of both nature and gardens.

Nestled within 252 acres in the heart of Orange, Texas, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is a program of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, a private foundation whose mission is to improve and enrich the quality of life in Southeast Texas and encourage and assist education. The unique ecosystem of Shangri La presents an ideal opportunity to further that mission as well as carry on the vision of H.J Lutcher Stark, the man who originally developed it more than 60 years ago.

The formal Botanical Gardens contain more than 300 plant species in five formal “rooms” as well as four sculpture “rooms”. Adjacent to the Botanical Gardens is a bird blind which allows visitors to observe nesting birds in Shangri La’s heronry.

The Nature Center includes a hands-on exhibit called the Nature Discovery Center, a laboratory, and three outdoor classrooms located deep in the cypress swamp. The Orientation Center includes an Exhibit Hall, Discovery Theater, Children’s Garden, Exhibition Greenhouses, Cafe, and Garden Store.

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is the first project in Texas and the 50th project in the world to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum certification for LEED-NC, which verifies the design and construction of Shangri La reached the highest green building and performance measures.

As one of the most earth-friendly projects in the world, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center offers a glimpse of how people can live in harmony with nature. The combination of gardens and nature at Shangri La presents a serene oasis for retreat and renewal, as well as the opportunity to explore, discover and learn.

Visit Shangri La and rekindle your sense of wonder.

Shangri La is a program of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, a non-profit organization.