What is that smell? If it’s the sweet aroma of hundreds of roses, then you know you’re in Tyler, Texas. America’s Rose Capital, Tyler is home to some of the most stunning and inspiring gardens in the country. A simple stroll through one of these gardens could restore anyone’s faith in the great creation of our world. On top of the wonderful displays of nature, Tyler offers religious groups a chance to travel through history, and learn more about this gateway city to East Texas.
If you’re planning a spiritual trip to the Lone Star State, Tyler cannot be missed. It’s here you can peruse antique shops and specialty stores, visit immaculate mansions and tour thought-provoking museum exhibits, and, of course, pick a rose or two. Here are some of the top attractions for religious groups in Tyler, Texas.
Tyler Rose Museum
Part of the Rose Garden Center, the Tyler Rose Museum chronicles the history of the Texas Rose Festival and the rose industry. Visitors can enjoy interactive exhibits that draw them into this integral part of the community. Hear the marching band and watch the floats go by in the Parade Room, or admire beautifully hand-sewn gowns that date back to 1935 and the bejeweled crowns and scepters on display. In the “Attic of Memories,” guests can find antiques and memorabilia donated from private collections of local residents, giving them a look at the life of the people in Tyler and Smith County over the past hundred years.
Tyler Municipal Rose Garden
After a tour through the museum, groups can venture outside to the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden. The world-famous garden features 14 acres, 35,000 rose bushes and more than 500 varieties of roses. Take a moment to reflect on the beauty of nature in the Ida Garden, or gather your group for a prayer in the Heritage Garden. The camelia and day lily collections should not be missed.
Azalea & Spring Flower Trail
If your group is planning to visit Tyler in spring, then you must follow the Azalea and Spring Flower Trail. Azaleas were introduced to Tyler in 1929, and after a number of homes planted gardens filled with the colorful flower, the city was gaining attention for its many gardens. In 1960 the chamber of commerce established a marked route. Today, the Azalea Trail weaves through ten miles of gardens and historic home sites, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The most popular time to visit is during the Easter season, when the city hosts a variety of events around the trail. This is your chance to celebrate a sacred holiday in the midst of abundant color and life.
Nestled atop a hill overlooking Texas Highway 64, the Roseland Plantation is a testament to the elegance and charm of the Old South. The stately two-story structure showcases Southern architecture at its best, with columns, a portico and balcony. The house, built in 1854, has been restored and furnished in period antiques and displays. Groups can take a guided tour of the property and enjoy a lovely afternoon tea served on antique china, crystal and silver.
Blue Moon Gardens
For those who would like to take home a piece of Tyler, the Blue Moon Garden is a great spot to pick out some beautiful perennials, or get a custom potted planter. Groups can visit the nursery and pick out a variety of flowers, and even purchase seeds to grow their own gardens at home.
High Hill Farm
Located 20 minutes outside of Tyler, this 75-acre property features winding paths through a forest of ancient oaks, an infinity pool where you can relax after a long day of sightseeing and casual dining spots serving farm-fresh dishes. The venue space can host up to 500 people.
The American Freedom Museum
Step back into history at the American Freedom Museum, illuminating the American experience during decisive moments in the country’s history. Explore exhibits highlighting the battles of the American Revolution and Civil War, plus more recent conficts in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. After a visit here, your group will truly appreciate the young men and women who courageously served their country and fought for America’s freedom.
To learn more about the settlement of East Texas, take your religious group to Dewberry Plantation. The antebellum-style mansion, built in 1854, was the home of Colonel John Dewberry, who played a major role in settling the region. The home is the only original two-story, pre-Civil War house still standing in the county. Your group can tour the home and hear detailed accounts of the residents who lived there.
Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge
Opened in 1995, the Tiger Creek Refuge is a 140-acre preserve with more than 35 rescued big cats that live in large natural settings. From staff members dedicated to the conservation and protection of big cats, your group can learn all about the initiatives of the refuge and how to get involved with the cause.
Located in LeGrand Park and Gardens, the Goodman Museum has been a Texas Historic Landmark since 1964. Originally built in 1859, the house has been renovated and restored over the years. It is still furnished with the original belongings of the Goodman-LeGrand family, some of which are older than the house itself. Groups can view items such as hand-carved furniture, a grandfather clock, fine silver, medical books, Civil War-era medical tools and original paintings.
Just as no two roses are alike, there is no place else like Tyler, Texas. A visit here will make your religious group appreciate the simple beauty of a flower, the proud history of the South and the wonder of nature. It truly is a special place.