Great Gardens and Botany of Southwest Florida

ADD TO FAVORITES
Grab your camera, don comfortable walking shoes and prepare for a full day of fun at any one of Southwest Florida's botanical gardens.

Lakes Park Botanic Garden, Lakes Regional Park, Fort Myers

Originally designed as a fragrance garden for the visually impaired, or just visitors seeking a quiet place to meditate or commune with nature, the park’s garden is all about the senses. A nonprofit, community-supported attraction, the garden is used to develop, maintain and display a wide variety of fragrant, exotic plants, flowers, herbs and vines. Although Hurricane Charley led to the destruction of some of the park's natural vegetation, the rebuilding and re-planting process continues. 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, 33908; 239-533-7580; www.leeparks.org


Naples Zoo at Caribbean
Gardens, Naples

Sitting in a jungle of trees nearly a century old, surrounded by exotic plant life, visitors will enjoy an up-close view of wildlife from around the world in this 43-acre historic garden founded in 1919. Admission includes wildlife shows, new exhibits, Alligator Bay, the Snakes Alive! presentation, a primate expedition cruise and a Meet the Keeper series. 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road, Naples, 34102; 239-262-5409; www.napleszoo.org


Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens offers shaded, bayfront grounds on the waterfront in downtown Sarasota. Featuring more than 20,000 plants on 9.5 acres, Selby is best-known for its stunning collection of orchids in a display house with a rain-forest atmosphere. Admire the huge banyan trees, the towering bamboo gardens and the rotating art and photography exhibits in the colonial revival Christy Payne Mansion. 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, 34236; 941-366-5731; www.selby.org


Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Naples

The Conservancy, which offers hands-on exhibits, animal rehabilitation, special programs and nature trails, is closed while undergoing major renovations. The plan is to re-open some time in 2012. Visit the website for ongoing updates.1450 Merrihue Drive, Naples, 34102; 239-262-0304; www.conservancy.org


Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota

This natural, kid-friendly oasis in north Sarasota is home to acres of tropical gardens and winding nature trails perfect spot for all ages and leisurely, educational or romantic walks. Once a swampy, subtropical jungle, the park now hosts a Birds of Prey exhibit, Critters and Things, Reptile Encounter and Birds of the Rainforest, a fun show with performing birds. A garden traditions include feeding the gentle flamingoes and hungry koi. 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, 34234; 941-355-5305; www.sarasotajunglegardens.com


B
abcock Wilderness Adventure, Punta Gorda

A 90-minute Swamp Buggy Tour takes visitors through Babcock Ranch and Telegraph Cypress Swamp. Visitors can spot panthers and alligators, as well as learn about the ranch’s history. In the museum, see Lulu, the (stuffed) three-horned cow. 8000 State Road 31, Punta Gorda, 33982; 800-500-5583; www.babcockwilderness.com


Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers

Among Southwest Florida’s great treasures, the historic winter homes of Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford sit on 14 lush acres and come complete with Edison’s laboratory. This jewel of Fort Myers is surrounded by 20 acres of lush tropical botanical and research gardens, 500 unique plants and four champion trees. The museum contains hundreds of Edison and Ford inventions and artifacts. ADA accessible; wheelchairs are available. 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 33901; 239-334-7419; www.edisonfordwinterestates.org


Naples Botanical Garden, Naples

Home to not just one, but six, beautiful gardens and a nature preserve, Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre paradise that highlight the plants and cultures of the tropics and subtropics including Brazil, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Florida. Kids especially will love the interactive Children’s Garden, while 90 acres of restored natural habitats, walking trails and a Butterfly Garden offer educational entertainment and enjoyment for all. Founded in 1993, the Garden re-opened to the public in November 2009 after an extensive expansion. Regular hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples, 34112; 239-643-7275; www.naplesgarden.org


Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples

A 2.25-mile raised boardwalk takes visitors through four environments: a pine upland, a wet prairie, a cypress forest and a marsh. Interpretive signs and volunteer naturalists along the boardwalk provide information about the wildlife and native plants, including a variety of wild orchids, visitors come across. The majestic, old growth bald cypress trees at Corkscrew are nearly 600 years old and 130 feet tall. Many wildflowers are in bloom throughout the year. 375 Sanctuary Road West, Naples, 34120; 239-348-9151; www.corkscrew.audubon.org

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

Comments

You are signed in as:null
No comments yet