Myriad Botanical Gardens of OKC was born as part of a downtown urban renewal project called the Pei Plan dreamed up by city leaders and legendary architect I.M. Pei in the late 60s.
Dean A. McGee, an oil pioneer and founder and CEO of Kerr-McGee Oil Corporation, was a huge proponent of building this centrally-located garden.
It was named after “the Myriad”, or what was formerly known as the Cox Convention Center, and is now Prairie Surf Media.
Initial design of Myriad Botanical Gardens was based on Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and city leaders even made a trip to Denmark to study its design.
A nation-wide search was made for the architects that would design the Myriad Gardens. In 1971, the New York architectural firm Conklin + Rossant was chosen.
City leaders and members of the Myriad Gardens Authority broke ground on the 17-acre plot for the garden on Nov. 17, 1977. The area was constructed as money was available.
In 1981, leaders formed the Myriad Gardens Foundation in order to raise private funds for the construction of the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.
The Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory was constructed from 1983-1985, but it did not open to the public until March 25, 1988.
Myriad Gardens and its Crystal Bridge received a facelift thanks to funds from Project 180. In addition to new landscaping, the park also received a new children’s garden, a new restaurant space, and reglazed acrylic panels on the Crystal Bridge.
The Conservatory underwent a nearly 2-year, $11 million renovation from April 2021 through November 2022.