Thank you for considering Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center for your special event.
Shangri La provides a beautiful and unique setting for weddings, private parties, receptions, meetings and corporate functions, reunions, and other special events, and it may rent certain areas of its facilities to organizations, groups or individuals based on availability and as determined in the sole discretion of the management of
Shangri La.
 
Please note that ONLY current members of Shangri La at any of the corporate levels of membership or at the Star or Crescent individual levels of membership may rent Shangri La facilities, except as otherwise determined by the Stark Foundation.
 
Please call 409.670.9113 to schedule your special celebration or private event. Photographers wishing to use Shangri La as a location for a photography session or similar backdrop should refer to Shangri La Photography Policies and Guidelines for more details.

RENTAL AREAS AND TERMS FOR FACILITY RENTAL

 

RENTAL AREAS:

 
Shangri La is owned and operated by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation (Owner), a nonprofit corporation.  While Shangri La is comprised of more than 250 acres, only specified rental areas are authorized for access by certain members. The areas of Shangri La available for rental, together with rental fees, are defined and described as follows:

 

Option One: Central Courtyard

This area begins at the main entrance/admissions area of Shangri La and extends throughout the open Courtyard that is at the center of all of the structures at the Shangri La entrance.  This area includes all orientation center buildings (i.e., the Exhibit Hall, Discovery Theater and Meditation Pavilion), the central courtyard/lawn area that is surrounded by the orientation center buildings, the covered walkways adjacent to orientation center buildings, restrooms, the outdoor eating area in front of the Star and Crescent Moon Cafe, the Children’s Garden, and the Wetland Demonstration Garden area (the Central Courtyard Area).
 
The Central Courtyard Area does not include the Greenhouses or the Tree Ring Plaza/Ruby Lake, nor does it include the Administration Building, the Volunteer Center, the Cafe (interior), the Garden Store, Nature Discovery Center or any part of the Botanical Gardens.
 
The Central Courtyard Area ends to the south at the boardwalk adjacent to the exit of the Discovery Theater (i.e. path to the Nature Discovery Pavilion) and to the east at the portal between the Greenhouses, which is the entry to the Tree Ring Plaza. 
     
  • Rental Fee*:
  • $1,500.00 (for up to 100 people)
  • $2,000.00 (for 101-200 people)
*in addition to annual membership fee; damage deposit not included
     
  • Rental Times:
  • 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.** from Tuesday – Saturday, plus one-hour margin from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for setup and one-hour margin from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for cleanup***
Or
Any time up to 3 hours during the period 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, plus one-hour margin for setup and one-hour margin for cleanup during that period for a total rental time of 5 hours
 
**Event Time (3-hour maximum duration) ***A surcharge of $750 will be added for each rental that exceeds 9:00 p.m.
 
Maximum Capacity:  200 individuals

OPTION TWO: Area 4 of Great Lawn (Near Pond of the Blue Moon)

Area 4 is the section of the Great Lawn (located in the Botanical Gardens) that is nearest to the Pond of the Blue Moon.  All facilities encompassed in Option One would be available to use as part of this option, but only Area 4 of the Great Lawn is private and reserved for exclusive use by User.  If the rental occurs during Shangri La’s hours of operation, Shangri La will remain open to the public. 
  • Rental Fee*:
  • During Shangri La’s hours of operation (with Event occurring prior to 5:00 p.m.):
    • $1,500.00 (1-100 people)
    • $2,000.00 (101-200 people)
    • $3,000.00 (201-300 people)
    • $4,000.00 (301-400 people)
  • After Shangri La closes to the public (with Event occurring on or after 5:00 p.m.):
    • $2,500.00 (1-100 people)
    • $3,000.00 (101-200 people)
    • $4,000.00 (201-300 people)
    • $5,000.00 (301-400 people)
*in addition to annual membership fee; damage deposit not included
 
Rental Times:
Up to 5-hour rental (consisting of a maximum Event time of 3 hours, plus one-hour margin for setup and one-hour margin for cleanup).  Event may occur during any season/time on Tuesday – Sunday with available daylight, with staffing and/or availability as appropriate, as determined by the Director of Shangri La.**
 
**A surcharge of $750.00 will be added for each rental that exceeds 5 hours
 
Maximum Capacity:  400 individuals
 

OPTION THREE:  Oval Lawn

This area consists of a private area of lawn near the Hanging Gardens, which is located within Shangri La’s Botanical Gardens area.  All facilities encompassed in Option One are available to use as part of this Option Three, but only the Oval Lawn area is private and reserved for exclusive use by User. If the rental occurs during Shangri La’s hours of operation, Shangri La will remain open to the public.
  • Rental Fee*:
  • During Shangri La’s hours of operation (with Event occurring prior to 5:00 p.m.):
    • $1,000.00 (for up to 100 people)
  • When Shangri La is closed to the public (with Event occurring on or after 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Saturday or between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday):
    • $2,000.00 (for up to 100 people)
*in addition to annual membership fee; damage deposit not included
 
Rental Times:
Up to 5-hour rental (consisting of a maximum Event time of 3 hours, plus one-hour margin for setup and one-hour margin for cleanup). Event may occur during any season/time on Tuesday – Sunday with available daylight, with staffing and/or availability as appropriate, as determined by the Director of Shangri La.**
 
**A surcharge of $750 will be added for each rental that exceeds 5 hours
 
Maximum Capacity:  100 individuals
   

OPTION FOUR:  Beaver Pond Outpost Facility

This area consists of the Beaver Pond Outpost facility that is located along Adams Bayou, which is only accessible via boat transport.  All facilities encompassed in Option One are available to use as part of this Option Four, but only the Beaver Pond Outpost area is private and reserved for exclusive use by User. Additionally, two (2) electric boats may be provided to transport up to 50 guests to the area.  If the rental occurs during Shangri La’s hours of operation, Shangri La will remain open to the public. 
 
  • Rental Fee*:
  • During Shangri La’s hours of operation (with Event occurring prior to 5:00 p.m.):
    • $2,500.00 (for up to 50 people)
  • When Shangri La is closed to the public (with Event occurring on or after 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Saturday or between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday):
    • $3,500.00 (for up to 50 people)
     
*in addition to annual membership fee; damage deposit not included
 
Rental Times: 
Up to 5-hour rental (consisting of a maximum Event time of 2.5 hours, plus 45-minute margin for setup and 45-minute margin for cleanup and 30-minute voyage time on Adams Bayou to and from Outpost).  Event may occur during any season/time on Tuesday – Sunday with available daylight, with staffing and/or availability as appropriate, as determined by the Director of Shangri La.**
 
**A surcharge of $750.00 will be added for each rental that exceeds 5 hours
 
Maximum Capacity:  50 individuals
 
RENTAL TERMS:
Any rental of Shangri La requires the completion of a Facility Rental Agreement and payment of Rental Fee and Damage Deposit, together with any related additional charges for expenses incurred.
 
The terms of rental outlined below set forth guidelines applicable to a rental of any area of Shangri La, which have been put in place to better serve you and to protect Shangri La and its amenities.  Please review the Rental Terms and contact us if you have any questions about the Terms, which are incorporated by reference in the subsequent Facility Rental Agreement between Shangri La and you/your organization as User (User or You).
 
General Rental Terms:
As an educational institution and a preserve for plant and wildlife biodiversity, protection of Shangri La’s manmade and natural treasures is paramount. To ensure the safety of your invitees, an enhanced visitor experience, and to protect and preserve the natural habitat and beauty of the Gardens and its amenities, we respectfully request that You adhere to following regulations:
     
  1.   Membership Prerequisite:  Only current members of the Stark Cultural Venues (Site) at the Star and Crescent levels of individual membership or at any level of corporate membership, or current corporate sponsors of an event, program, area or other opportunity at Shangri La, may rent specified areas at the Site.
  2.   Permissible Events: While Shangri La staff members strive to create a welcoming environment for people of all ages, cultures and abilities, not all events are permissible. In observance of Shangri La’s educational mission and the non-profit status of the Foundation under which it is operated, commercial, political, religious, and fundraising events are strictly prohibited on Shangri La grounds or buildings.
  3.   Event Times: Shangri La is open to the general public Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., during most of the year, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day (collectively “general operating hours”). Shangri La is closed on Sunday and Monday.
    Public access will be maintained during general operating hours. For the comfort of your guests, all private events located in the Central Courtyard area (Rental Areas Option One) will be scheduled only after general operating hours, once the Site has closed to the public, on Tuesday – Saturday or anytime on Sunday.  All other rentals areas of Shangri La are available at any time during and after general operating hours Tuesday – Saturday or on Sunday, subject to the specific rental considerations outlined under the Rental Areas above.  Rental fees for rental times that occur after general operating hours reflect such exclusive access by You.
  4.   Event Lead: A Manager from the Shangri La staff will be assigned to Your event. While not responsible for ensuring the setup of Your event, this Event Lead will observe and monitor Your event’s setup and coordinate any maintenance or security needs.  Only the Event Lead may give direction to Garden Staff during your event.  The Manager, plus security guards and staff as we determine, will be present for all events for which the Site is rented.  All staff assigned to Your event must be at the Rental Area (Area) of the Site until breakdown of the Event is complete.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, You and the adult invitees at Your event must supervise any children for their safety, especially around water areas.
  5.  Reservations/Deposits: Bookings are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations for Your event must be made at least 10 days in advance and require a deposit of $500 (Damage Deposit) to cover the cost of possible clean-up and damage.  A deposit of 50% (Reservation Deposit) of the rental fee that corresponds to the Rental Area selected by you is due at the time of signing, which amount is in addition to the Damage Deposit also due at signing.
    A rental reservation will be booked, processed and considered binding after (a) the date, time, guest count and location are agreed upon in writing by Shangri La staff, (b) a signed Facility Rental Agreement has been received and countersigned by the Owner, and (c) the appropriate Reservation Deposit and Damage Deposit has been remitted by the User by either cash or credit card.  
    Verbal reservations may be held for up to 10 days to allow a prospective renter to complete all paperwork; however, due to the volume of requests, dates will not be held for more than 10 days.  If the Site receives a request within 10 days for the same rental date, You will be given 48 hours to sign your Agreement and secure the required deposits.
  6.  Final Payment/Additional Charges: The Rental Fee balance remaining after payment of the Reservation Deposit, together with any other additional charges known at that time (such as supplemental security), must be paid at least ten (10) days prior to the event.  Payment must be made by either cash or credit card.  If the balance due is not received, Shangri La staff may, in its sole discretion, cancel the Event, without liability.
    Additional rental time may be contracted for an additional fee and must be approved by us.  If your event runs over the contracted rental period (as well as over the applicable cleanup margin), an overtime charge of $750 per hour or per increment of an hour will apply without proration. Any use of the facilities that occurs during the rental time but that extends beyond the applicable rental area will be charged at the rate of $750 per hour or per increment of an hour.
  7.   Cancellation/Refunds: You may cancel a reservation at any time.  All cancellations must be in writing.  If You cancel a reservation more than 30 days prior to the Event or if your reservation is cancelled by Shangri La staff as provided herein more than 30 days prior to the Event, your Reservation Deposit and Damage Deposit will be refunded.  Prepaid rental fees may be returned only if Your event is cancelled no less than thirty (30) days prior to the scheduled event or as provided in Paragraph 11 below.
    The Damage Deposit will be refunded at the conclusion of Your Event once all invoices and fees have been paid in full and the Site has been restored to original condition.  The Damage Deposit may be withheld if the Area and/or Site is not cleaned or properly restored or if overtime charges or additional services/areas fees apply.
  8.  
  9.   Music/Amplification: Due to the close proximity of the Site to residential areas, you must receive prior permission to play any music and/or create amplified sound on or about any areas of the Site.  We will monitor and decide upon the appropriate volume for any event both exterior and interior.  We reserve the right to approve any musicians and/or music selections for Your event.  We reserve the right to request any person or group of people acting contrary to our noise policy to leave the Site. Assistance from Owner’s security staff and/or outside law enforcement agencies may be acquired if this request is not immediately met.
  10.   Catering: Garden guests are permitted to bring outside food on the Site as part of a facility rental, including a wedding, birthday or anniversary cake.  Catering arrangements are not included in the Rental Fee and must be made separately by You with a caterer or other food and/or beverage provider of your choice.  
    If You are planning to offer food and/or beverages at Your event, it must be provided by a caterer or food service provider who meets with our approval, which means that this information must be communicated to us prior to Your rental.  This allows us to assure the quality of Your event’s food service and keeps delivery traffic from unfamiliar vehicles to a minimum on our environmentally-sensitive property.
    If you are planning to offer alcoholic beverages at your event, all products and services must be provided by your caterer in accordance with Texas law, provided that (a) substantial food is also served and (b) You ensure that the caterer (or other server) has a current permit or license for such operation.  Your caterer (or server, if separate from caterer) must be (i) approved by us prior to retention and (ii) have a current liquor license for any event providing alcoholic beverages, if applicable.  Under no circumstances will You be permitted to directly provide alcoholic beverages for Your event.
    An off-duty law enforcement officer must be arranged by Owner for all events that include the serving of alcoholic beverages, as further described in Section 14 below, the cost of which must be borne by You as an additional expense.
  11.   Garden Appearance; Equipment and Decor: The Horticulture Department of Shangri La takes pride in the appearance and overall condition of Shangri La. Mowing, pruning and planting schedules are constantly changing and are dependent upon many variables, including the weather. Please keep in mind that plant conditions and blooms depend largely on Mother Nature and are, many times, out of our control. Due to seasonal changes, Shangri La cannot guarantee that the Area rented by You will have the same appearance as when originally viewed.
    Tents and/or any other equipment may only be used in conjunction with the rental of an Area hereunder with prior approval from us, and sufficient setup time must be contracted as part of the Facility Rental Agreement. Equipment rental (including chairs, tables, tents, etc) must be selected from a list of companies approved by us.  Shangri La does not provide linens.
    Rental equipment must be delivered and picked up on the day of Your event, during the scheduled rental period. No early deliveries are accepted.  Delivery and take down times must be verified with Shangri La staff in advance.  NOTE: In the event of an unscheduled early delivery or late pick-up, an overtime fee of $500 may be charged.
    Decorations, signs and banners may not be taped, nailed, stapled, pinned or otherwise fastened or affixed to a surface, unless approved by us.  Due to the sensitive nature of the Gardens, artificial petals/leaves, glitter, confetti, rice, birdseed, balloons, pinatas, moonwalks, fireworks (including sparklers), tiki-torches, candles, butterflies, doves, ponies or any other animals are STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
    Skates, bicycles, scooters, riding toys, moonwalks/bounce houses, etc. are not permitted.  Wire and floral attachments are not permitted on any Garden structure or plant material without approval from the Event Lead. Decorations, supplies, rentals, musical instruments and/or other items are not permitted on the Site prior to the contracted Start Time. The total contracted Event Time includes setup and breakdown.  All decorations must be removed from the rented area at the conclusion of the Event and, regardless, no later than the rental End Time in order to avoid an overtime charge. The Area and/or Site must also be restored to its original condition or the Damage Deposit may be withheld.
  12.   Setup, Maintenance and Cleanup:  Shangri La will provide a clean site for Your Rental Area that must be returned to the same condition in which it was found.  Those using the Area as specified in the Facility Rental Agreement are liable for any damage to the Area or Site.  Set-up and/or food and beverage service for your event may not begin before the Start Time for the Use on the Event Date stated in the Facility Rental Agreement.
    Please allot time for setup and cleanup within the Start Time and End Time contracted for the Event, although the total rental time includes margins before and after the Event Start and End Times for completion of setup and cleanup.  
    ALL catering supplies and trash must be disposed of in the designated area at the conclusion of the Event.  While we provide customary janitorial service for the operation of the Site and will ensure that the Site is in clean and ready condition upon your arrival, we do not provide cleaning supplies for the cleanup of foodstuffs, ice and other event-related refuse, which is the responsibility of You or Your caterer.  You or your caterer must bring your own supplies.
  13.   Review of Plans/Inclement Weather: Prior to Your event, we must review and approve all logistical plans including the caterer, rental company, decorations, entertainment and all set-up and delivery schedules.  We reserve the right to disapprove any logistical plans and/or vendors, including caterer.  
    Further, cancellation of events and/or damages to a User due to inclement weather is the responsibility of the User.  As all Rental Areas available at Shangri La are located in an outdoor setting, You should plan for an alternate site and/or make alternative plans and preparations in case of cancellation due to inclement weather.  Shangri La staff will cooperate with a brief delay of outdoor events due to rain and will make an effort to accommodate Your Event if weather prevents the Event from taking place in the Area; however, Shangri La is not responsible for providing such alternate arrangements for Your event and will not issue a refund for cancellation of the Event due to inclement weather, except as otherwise provided herein.  
    To assure your safety, the Garden’s Event Lead will make the final decision on whether the Area may be used for Your event in the instance of inclement weather.  Damages to rental equipment, decorations, etc. due to inclement weather are the responsibility of User.
  14.  
  15.   Photography: The Rental Area is available for photo opportunities, without additional charge, with rental of the Area of the Site. Otherwise, a photography fee is charged for use of Shangri La’s areas for professional, commercial, and special occasion photography.  Appointments must be scheduled with the Administration Office, and visitors and photographers must comply with our separate Photography Terms and Conditions and complete all required documentation.
  16.  
  17.   Use of Facility Name: Once your event is contracted, use of Shangri La’s name is permitted only to announce the location of the event. The invitation can in no way imply that Shangri La or Owner is sponsoring the Event.  Hanging signs on the outside of buildings or on plants and trees at the Site is not permitted. The pavement may not be chalked or otherwise marked to direct individuals to the rented area at the Site.
  18.  
  19.   Security: For the safety of Your guests, security must be arranged, using approved Site personnel, for all activities after regular visitor hours and for all events involving more than twenty (20) people.  Additionally, as stated in Paragraph 9 above, off-duty law enforcement personnel will be retained by Owner for all events at which alcohol is served or otherwise provided, with the cost of such additional security to be borne by You (which is in addition to the Rental Fee hereunder).  The number of security officers and/or off-duty law enforcement personnel will be determined by the management of Shangri La based on guest count, duration of event, rental area, and specific activities.
  20.  
  21.   Parking: Parking in Shangri La’s general Visitor Parking Area, located across West Park Avenue from the Shangri La entrance, is included in the rental amount for all of Your invitees.  The parking spaces of the restricted parking area located within the grounds of Shangri La are and will be restricted to Your invitees with properly-designated disability placards as well as vendors and Shangri La staff working Your Event.
  22.  
  23.   Insurance: You must obtain a commercial general liability insurance policy in the amount of Two Million and No/100 Dollars ($2,000,000.00) that names Shangri La and the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation as additional insureds, covers the entire rental term, and provides for a waiver of subrogation in favor of the additional insureds. You will be required to provide a certificate of insurance at least ten (10) days prior to the scheduled event that names Shangri La and the Stark Foundation as additional insureds for the duration of Your event and that evidences the required waiver of subrogation; otherwise, Your event may be cancelled at our discretion.  Please refer to the Facility Rental Agreement for specific coverage and policy requirements.  
    You must acknowledge in a separate Facility Rental Agreement that Shangri La is not responsible for any liability in the event of illness, injury or death to any person or damage or loss to any property during the term of the rental and must indemnify Shangri La and its Owner. Additionally, Shangri La and the Stark Foundation must be indemnified as part of the Facility Rental Agreement.
  24.  
  25.   Garden Rules: Compliance by You and Your invitees with all Garden Rules and Regulations is required.  We reserve the right to request any person or group of people acting contrary to rental regulations or to general Garden Rules to leave the Site. Assistance from Owner’s security staff and/or outside law enforcement agencies may be acquired if this request is not immediately met.
 
The Garden Rules and Regulations, which are posted at Shangri La and applicable to all visitors, are as follows:

NO SMOKING OR TOBACCO PRODUCTS.

The entire Shangri La property is a smoke-free, tobacco-free environment – – indoors and outdoors.
There are NO designated smoking and/or tobacco-use areas within Shangri La, including outdoor areas. Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the buildings or on the grounds of Shangri La.
 
Visitors under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult, and children must be supervised at all times.
 
No climbing, running, jumping, sports, or games.  Athletic and recreational equipment is not allowed.  Recreational sports and activities, including skating, skateboarding, rollerblading, cycling, ball playing, kites, Frisbees, etc., are not permitted. 
 
Stay on pathways or lawn areas and use only designated paths. Do not walk in garden beds.
 
Leave flowers and plants for everyone to enjoy. Do not pick, collect or remove seeds, flowers, fruits, vegetables, plant labels, feathers, etc.
 
Do not wade or swim in ponds, streams, lakes, fountains or other water sources. 
 
Do not climb trees, walls, fences, fountains, rock formations or art work.  Visitors will be held liable for any damage caused or contributed by them to Garden property.
 
Use electronic audio devices with earphones only.
 
No firearms.
 
No alcohol, except as may be part of a catering arrangement authorized in a Facility Rental Agreement.
 
No pets.  Upon presentment of appropriate documentation, service animals may accompany visitors with disabilities.
 
Shirt and shoes are required at all times.
 
Commercial/professional/special occasion photography, tripods and/or easels are only permitted by prior arrangement.
 
Dispose of trash in designated recycle bins and trashcans. 
 
Do not feed or handle wildlife. It can be harmful to them and to you.
 
Fishing is not allowed from the edges of Adams Bayou or at any point inside Shangri La.
 
Use Garden benches for resting. Blankets and folding chairs are not permitted.
 
No picnics or coolers. With the exception of bottled water and baby bottles, food and beverages may not be brought onto the premises of Shangri La (except as may be part of a catering arrangement authorized in a Facility Rental Agreement).  Food and drinks may be purchased and consumed at the Star and Crescent Moon Cafe.
 
Visitors who wish to picnic may do so nearby at the Municipal Recreational Area adjacent to the main Shangri La Visitor Parking Area located across West Park Avenue from the Shangri La entrance. School groups that are part of a reserved School Group Tour are subject to separate directions regarding picnicking.
 
Cars are allowed only in designated areas. 
   
 
 
Thank you for considering Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center for your private event!  We are pleased to have you as our guest and look forward to working with you to create a memorable occasion.