Looking for something new to do over the weekend? If so, take time to check out a local botanical garden. Most gardens have more than just plant and flowers. Each is unique, beautiful and a great place to escape and relax.
Check out some of the top botanical gardens in the state of Florida:
McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach
Home to luscious palms, bamboo and native Florida flowers, McKee Botanical Garden is a great place to walk through, explore and relax away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life. There are many ponds throughout the gardens, which helps create a serene, peaceful feeling.
Not only is the garden beautiful, but educational as well. Throughout the gardens are signs explaining the different types of plants and flowers, as well as McKee hosts several education events throughout the year.
When done exploring the garden take time to relax at the Garden Café or pick up some garden themed souvenirs at the Garden Gift Shop. Please note that the Garden Café typically closes over the summer.
McKee is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sundays from noon until 5 p.m. Cost of admission varies depending upon the time of year. Call ahead or visit McKeeGarden.org for current admission prices.
McKee Botanical Gardens
350 US Highway 1
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Marie Selby Botanical Garden, Sarasota
Explore a bay front tropical oasis at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota, which is more than just a garden. Visitors will get a feeling of being in a tropical rain forest as they walk through the many exhibits of plants, flowers, fish and more.
The nine acres of lush greenery includes a conservatory, Koi pond, outdoor butterfly garden, a Banyan grove, bamboo garden, mangrove walkway and out of this world view of the Sarasota Bay. Guests will also be able to explore the Marie Selby historical house, which is located right in the garden.
Marie Selby Botanical Garden is also home to many research and educational opportunities. The garden hosts special events, classes and chances to study and document the garden through various activities.
When done wandering the garden stop by the Garden Gift Shop and pick up a nature themed gift for someone special. The Marie Selby Botanical Garden is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. (closes at 3 p.m. on most major holidays). Cost of admission is free to Garden Members, $19 for adults, $6 for children ages 4 through 11 and children under 4 are free.
Marie Selby Botanical Garden
811 South Palm Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
Pinellas County Botanical Garden, Largo
The Pinellas County Botanical Garden works hard at educating and inspiring visitors by showcasing unique flora, fauna and other natural occurring items. There is more to the garden than just greenery as it is home to plenty of Florida native wildlife.
The garden consists of more than 30 acres of garden with 90 acres of land left in its natural form. Wildlife that has made the Pinellas County Botanical Garden home include alligators, raccoons, bald eagles, turtles, butterflies, frogs, ducks, geese, owls, snakes, bats and more.
The Pinellas County Botanical Garden is open daily from 7 a.m. until dusk and is always free. The gift shop is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. and does not have specific closing times. Call for specific details about the gift shop. Garden tours are available departing at 9 a.m. daily.
Pinellas County Botanical Garden
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774
Naples Botanical Garden, Naples
Filled with more than just Florida native plants, the Naples Botanical Garden offers visitors tropical gardens from other countries. The garden is more than just an exotic escape; it is a place that caters to nature conservation and education.
Mini-gardens within the Naples Botanical Garden includes a Brazilian, Florida, Asian and Caribbean Garden, filled with plants and flowers native to those regions. There is even a Children’s Garden where kids can get hands on experience with nature. Guests can also walk through the Nature Preserve and see some near extinct plants.
The Naples Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Cost of admission is free to Garden Members, $14.95 for adults, $9.95 for children ages 4 through 14 and children 3 and under are free.
Please note: The Naples Botanical Garden is currently closed and is expected to reopen on October 23, 2014.
Naples Botanical Garden
4820 Bayshore Drive
Naples, FL 34112
Kanapaha Botanical Garden, Gainesville
Check out 62 acres of land covered with tropical plants and flowers at the Kanapaha Botanical Garden in Gainesville. Visitors of the garden will be able to explore and experience the wonder of Florida’s largest bamboo garden and the largest herb garden in the Southeast United States.
The ponds throughout the gardens help complete the peaceful feeling and are filled with Koi, frogs and lily pads. Many couples have been married in the garden on the bridge overlooking one of the ponds. Perfect place for a romantic afternoon complete with picnic.
On a hot day, the garden offers visitors plenty of shade and there are also many benches and gazebos perfect for relaxation. Kanapaha Botanical Garden is also one of few botanical gardens in the state that allow leashed dogs to enter.
The best time to visit the Kanapaha Botanical Garden in between the months of June through September when all of the colorful flowers are in bloom.
The garden is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until dusk. Cost of admission is $7 for adults, $3.50 for children ages 6 through 13 and children under 6 are free with paying adult. Please note that admission prices may vary depending upon any special events happening at the garden.
Kanapaha Botanical Garden
4700 SW 58th Drive
Gainesville, FL 32608