Harris County Precinct 3 officials celebrated the 50th anniversary of Mercer Botanic Gardens on Jan. 8.

Named for Thelma and Charles Mercer, Mercer Botanic Gardens originally opened in 1974, according to Harris County Precinct 3 officials. Today, the nationally-recognized botanic garden spans 180 acres and features approximately 60 cultivated acres containing more than 10,000 plants.

"For 50 years, Mercer Botanic Gardens has been a sanctuary for people from all walks of life to connect with nature, learn about horticulture and enjoy the outdoors," Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said in a video. "As we celebrate Mercer's 50th anniversary, we want to thank those who have made Mercer Botanic Gardens a cherished part of their lives. Mercer Botanic Gardens wouldn't be what it is today without you. Your support, your visits and your volunteerism has enabled us to maintain and grow this beautiful space."

Mercer Botanic Gardens is maintained by Harris County Precinct 3 staff and volunteers. Friends of Mercer Botanic Gardens is a nonprofit organization that assists with funding and continues the enhancement of educational programs and plant collections.

Mercer Botanic Gardens is open to the public from 8 a.m. to dusk from March through October and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. from November through February. The botanical garden also hosts a variety of special events and programs throughout the year.