From West Palm Beach to Key West here’s a look at some extraordinary gardens throughout South Florida. From butterflies to sculptures to rainforests and jungles South Florida gardens are as varied as they are spectacular. Take a trip to Japan at the Morikami Museum in Delray or The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Coconut Grove for a glimpse of Hawaii.
Mounts Botanical Garden, 559 North Military Trail in West Palm Beach
Mounts Botanical Garden is Palm Beach County’s oldest and largest public garden. It includes 14 acres of landscaped gardens that should give visitors ideas of what they can accomplish in their own home exterior spaces. The garden displays tropical and subtropical plants from six continents, including plants native to Florida, exotic trees, tropical fruit, herbs, citrus, palms and more.
Must Sees: Check out their vegetable and dooryard tropical fruit garden, shade and color Island and rose-fragrance garden.
There is a $5 per person suggested donation. Call 561-233-1757 or visit Mounts.org for more information.
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, 253 Barcelona Road in West Palm Beach
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens consists of the Norton House and 1.7 acres of property. It features more than 100 sculptures by Ann Weaver Norton, the second wife and widow of Ralph Hubbard Norton, an art collector and museum founder. The sculptures are displayed in the house, studio and gardens.
Must Sees: The gardens feature more than 300 species of tropical palms. One of the must see items are the Ann Norton’s Gateway sculptures.
Price is $7 per person. Guided group tours available. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 561-832-5328 or visit www.ansg.org for more information.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, 4000 Morikami Park Road in Delray Beach
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens opened in 1977. The original building is modeled after a Japanese villa. It features a ring of exhibition rooms embracing an open-air courtyard with a dry garden of gravel, pebbles and small boulders. It includes a permanent exhibit chronicling the history of the Yamato Colony, a Japanese farming community in South Florida 100 years ago. Also features exhibition galleries, a 225-seat theater, authentic tea house with viewing gallery, library, classrooms, museum store, cafe and lakeside terrace with Japanese courtyard garden. The museum houses 5,000 Japanese art objects and artifacts, while the 200 acres that surround the two museum buildings include expansive Japanese gardens with strolling paths, tropical bonsai collection, small lakes, nature trails, pine forests and park and picnic areas.
Must Sees: An upcoming “Must See” is the Lantern Festival In the Spirit of Obon taking place Saturday, October 19. During the celebration, guests will personalize hand-made, paper lanterns with special messages to honor and remember their loved ones. When night falls, visitors will pay homage to them as candlelit lanterns float across the lake, as part of a traditional Japanese ceremony known as Tōrō nagashi. Other festivals include New Year celebration Oshogatsu and the annual Spring festival Hatsume.
Prices change per month. Call 561-495-0233 or visit www.morikami.org for more information.
Butterfly World, 3600 W. Sample Road in Coconut Creek
Enjoy the beauty of South Florida as you stroll through tropical gardens with twenty thousand live, brilliantly colored butterflies. Waterfalls, exotic birds, hummingbirds, orchids and roses complete this natural habitat. Hand-feed the lorikeets and enjoy the botanical gardens, butterfly museum, live Bug Zoo, and gift and plant shops.
Must Sees: Butterfly world features more than twenty thousand exotic butterflies as well as some of the world's most amazing birds.
Open Daily Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 954-977-4400 or visit
www.butterflyworld.com for more information.
Flamingo Gardens, 3750 S. Flamingo Road, Davie
This 60-acre botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary features thousands of rare, exotic and native plants, as well as alligators, bobcats, otters, flamingos and over 70 native species of birds. They feature native and exotic plants living among Florida's largest collection of "Champion" trees. They are also a sanctuary for injured non-releasable Florida Wildlife.
Must Sees. Some of the must-sees include a free-flight Aviary with over 40 species of Florida wading birds, the Florida panther habitat, the Flamingo pond, river otters and the Florida Bobcats.
Guided, reservations required. Donations are encouraged. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Call 954-473-2955 or visit www.flamingogardens.org for more information.
Bonnet House, 900 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale
Bonnet House (named for the bonnet lily that grows in the slough) was designed by American artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and began construction in 1920. Bonnet House remains much as it was in the 1930s and 1940s, when Frederic and his wife Evelyn created the unique blend of art and whimsy that delights us today. The estate was given to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983 to ensure that a piece of Florida history would be enjoyed by future generations. Bonnet House also offers educational programs for Broward County as well as adult educational programs in art, ornithology, and orchid cultivation.
Must Sees: Bonnet House hosts an annual series of outdoor music concerts, an Orchid, Garden & Gourmet Food Festival, provides exhibition opportunities for artists, and displays examples of the artwork of Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett.
Adult price is $20. Senior and resident discounts available. Call
954-703-2614 or visit www.bonnethouse.org for more information.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables, in Coral Gables
Fairchild opened up to the public in 1938 and includes 83 acres and 11 lakes. The garden bills itself as one of the world's preeminent botanic gardens and is an international leader in tropical plant conservation. They have an extensive collection of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees, tropical fruit trees, vines, and succulents.
Must Sees: Their rainforest is a spectacular exhibit which blends native Florida species with true rainforest species. The 2-acre exhibit includes an aerial irrigation system to enhance rainfall and humidity, so visitors will have an opportunity to experience the plants and environment of the world's dwindling rainforest ecosystems. Another notable exhibit is the Montgomery Palmetum, a world-renowned display and research collection of palms from all parts of the world, which is recognized as the most important documented palm collection in the world.
Adults $25; Seniors 65 and up $18; Children 12-17 $12 and free for children under 5. Visit FairchildGarden.com for more information.
The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, 4013 S. Douglas Road in Coconut Grove
The National Tropical Botanical Garden is a not-for-profit institution, dedicated to discovering, saving, and studying the world's tropical plants. There are five gardens all located in Hawaii except for the Kampong, which is located on Biscayne Bay. The garden contains a fascinating array of tropical fruit cultivars and flowering trees. Among the five locations there are nearly 2,000 acres of gardens and preserves with thousands of species gathered from throughout the tropical world. The Kampong serves as the mainland campus for the NTBG's educational courses and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Must Sees: Their heritage collections from Southeast Asia, Central and South Americas, the Caribbean, and other tropical locales create a cornucopia of exotic fruit, including candle fruit, peanut butter fruit, egg fruit, cocoplums, and more than 50 varieties of mango.
Adults $15; ages 62 and over or students with I.D. $10; children 4-12 $5; children 3 yrs. and under free. Call 305-442-7169 or visit Ntbg.org for more information.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, 3251 S. Miami Avenue, Miami
This Italian Renaissance-style villa was built in 1916 and the complex contains antique furnishings and art dating from the 15th through the 19th century. The home is surrounded by more than 10 acres of formal gardens and fountains. It’s designed in a formal European manner, but composed of plants appropriate for South Florida’s climate and sandwiched between a subtropical forest and a mangrove shoreline. The gardens are spectacular and unusual for their architectural features, fountains, and sculptural elements. The most prominent fountain came from the central square of the small town of Sutri in Italy, and was imported specifically as an adornment for the gardens.
Must Sees: Check out their Secret Garden, which is a walled space with a raised terrace that provides views the gardens and Biscayne Bay and the Garden Mound, a large architectural feature capped with large live oaks.
Adults $15, Miami-Dade residents $10; Children 6-12 $6, residents $5; Children 5 and under free; Seniors 62 and up $10; Students $10; Visitors using wheelchairs $10. Call 305-250-9133 or visit Vizcayamuseum.com for more information.
Montgomery Botanical Center, 11901 Old Cutler Road, Miami
Montgomery Botanical Center is a not-for-profit botanic garden established in 1959. The Botanical Center keeps living specimens from wild plant populations worldwide. They emphasize palms and cycads. MBC has a scientific focus and its mission is to advance science, education, conservation, and horticultural knowledge of tropical plants.
Must Sees: Montgomery Botanical Center’s collections of palms and cycads are world renowned. MBC houses the largest Microcycas calocoma in the U.S. They also has a robust collection of Syagrus, a sister group to the coconut, and many other rare cycads.
Donations are encouraged. Guided reservations are required. Call 305-667-3800 or visit MontgomeryBotanical.org for more information.
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, 205 Whitehead Street, Key West
The Audubon House has many rare plants and hundreds of blooming orchids on 1-acre of land in Key West. They have been voted the most beautiful outdoor location in Key West for many years. The Wolfson Family Foundation that owns the property have invested more than $100,000 in moonlighting for evening events which make the gardens magical after dark.
Must Sees: Check out their 200-year-old Sego Palm, butterfly garden, herb garden and an 1840-style nursery that provides a historic look at gardening.
Adults are $12; Students $7.50; Children 6-12 $5; and Children under 6 are free. Call 305-294-2116 or visit AudubonHouse.com for more information.
Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail in Miami
Jungle Island, Miami’s premier entertainment destination, combines the beauty of Miami’s tropical landscape with a jungle full of extraordinary animals from around the globe. Building upon its rich 75-year history, today’s Jungle Island is a contemporary theme park, featuring extremely rare twin orangutans, the world’s largest cat, the liger, and over 300 vibrant birds, including the world’s only trained Cassowary.
Must Sees: Besides the animal life Jungle Island also features unusual flora, from the extraordinary African sausage tree to a collection of rare cycads. Visitors to Jungle Island can stroll along the 1.35 miles of winding, covered trails while enjoying the many special exhibits, attractions and tours that are available. Also check out TheEverglades Habitat, whichrecreates the boardwalk trails of the Florida Everglades and features its native flora and fauna. The area provides an educational platform on water conservation and ecological programs, as it serves as the natural bio-filtration system for the park.
Adult prices are $32.95. Specials available. Call 305-400-7000 or visit www.jungleisland.com for more information.