Remember that breathtaking moment in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy first opened the door of the family farmhouse to reveal the Technicolor wonders of Oz? Or perhaps the fantastic giant flowers and plants Alice discovered on the other end of the rabbit hole in Wonderland?
Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables has undergone a similar transformation, thanks to the incredible, colorful glass creations of Dale Chihuly on display through the end of May.
The gardens, an 83-acre tropical oasis on any day, have been adorned with translucent glass orbs, flowing petals and exploding blooms throughout the lush rainforest, picturesque Bailey Palm Glade Vista and new Wings of the Tropics exhibit, where they almost seem to interact with hundreds of exotic butterflies.
“Each year, our garden is transformed into a unique natural gallery where extraordinary works of art are intermixed with spectacular tropical foliage. Our landscape, meticulously designed to showcase the best of the natural world, melds beautifully with artistic expression,” said Dr. Carl Lewis, director. “This year, we are pleased to have renowned American artist Dale Chihuly unveil his most comprehensive garden exhibition to date.”
Chihuly, 73, is the leading glass artist of his generation, with works on display in museums and private collections around the world. His most prominent displays can be found in the famed Bellagio hotel on the Las Vegas strip and the MGM Grand casino in Macau.
In 2010, a permanent exhibit was opened next to the Space Needle in Seattle. His garden exhibitions have been displayed across the country, but the current display at Fairchild is his largest.
Visitors can enjoy the installations weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and on weekends between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Guided tram tours are included in the price of admission.
On Thursday and Sunday evenings between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., visitors can view illuminated art under the stars of the South Florida sky while strolling the garden in the moonlight. Dinner is served in the Glasshouse Café or guests can bring a picnic.
Admission is $25 for adults and $18 for seniors or free for members. A special day and night GlassPass is available for $50 for adults and $35 for seniors.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Rd. in Coral Gables. For directions and more information, go to FairchildGarden.org.