If you are looking for something unique to do in Florida, consider visiting one of Florida’s many gorgeous gardens.
The climate offers some unique environmental conditions that foster the best botanical gardens in Florida, and the heat and humidity allow gorgeous plant growth.
24 of the Best Botanical Gardens in Florida
Florida provides several environments that are unique to the United States. As a result, you can witness flora and fauna in Florida that you can not see in other parts of the country.
It’s important to remember the state of Florida has a few different types of smaller environments within it, depending on where you are in the state. In general, Florida has a mild, subtropical climate.
That climate contains an amazing amount of biodiversity, including a significant amount of plants and animals. The state has some of the highest levels of biodiversity along the Atlantic Ocean.
Take note of any unique flora and fauna in the part of Florida you are in. Otherwise, there are a few sights to look out for throughout Florida, including the diverse bird and plant species. Read on to find the botanical gardens in Florida that you should visit.
1. Florida Botanical Gardens
The Florida Botanical Gardens are in Largo, Florida. The gardens aim to educate visitors about the local plants and animals, while also teaching ways to garden in an environmentally friendly manner.
As you visit the 100-acre gardens, you can explore many different areas, including the herb garden, the vegetable garden, the butterfly garden, the azalea, and the palm garden. The gardens are free to the public, and they offer quite a few events and activities for all ages.
Children love the scavenger hunts the gardens offer, and the whole family can get involved in bingo. Adults and children alike will enjoy private or public tours of the gardens.
2. McKee Botanical Gardens
The McKee Botanical Gardens maintain a historical garden to educate and enrich the lives of its visitors. You can see over 10,000 native and tropical plant species when you visit these gardens.
A major feature of these gardens is the Children’s Garden. This space provides a place where children can explore and understand nature.
After you take a walk through the gardens, refresh yourself at the garden cafe. These gardens offer plenty of different events, including an annual waterlily celebration and a Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit.
3. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens cover a 68-acre area that contains 24 central collections of plants. Some of these collections include the largest display of bamboo in Florida, in addition to the biggest herb garden in the Southeastern United States.
This space is a popular venue for weddings, retreats, and other events.
If you are around in the spring, look out for the Spring Garden Festival, which is hosted in the gardens. While these events can be lovely, you can also spend your time in this space, such as by simply having a picnic.
4. Sunken Gardens
The Sunken Gardens can be found in St. Petersburg, Florida. They contain flamingos, waterfalls, and over 50,000 tropical plants for your exploration. The gardens started as a hobby garden in the early 20th century. Over time, the gardens became an attraction for visitors.
As you plan your visit to these gardens, you can choose from tours, programs, and special events. If you are planning an event, you can rent part of these spaces. You can also arrange a guided tour for a group of people.
5. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
If you are looking for a botanical garden near Sarasota Bay, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens may be precisely what you are looking for. The Downtown Sarasota campus is one of two campuses that make up the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
This space makes up 15 acres that contain several types of environments, including rainforest and desert environments. There are a few specific features that you should look for in these gardens, including a mangrove walkway and a collection of native Floridian plantings.
You can find a series of rotating exhibitions in these botanical gardens. These gardens are free for members, although there is a fee for non-members.
6. Harry P Leu Gardens
While Orlando, Florida offers many attractions for those looking for excitement, there is also an oasis that provides an opportunity for communion with nature and tranquility.
The Harry P Leu Gardens make up a 50-acre space right near downtown Orlando. These gardens get their name from one of the people who donated the gardens to the city of Orlando in 1961.
These gardens provide plenty of classes, camps, tours, and other events that focus on educating visitors about nature and art. The gardens contain plenty of collections, including an arid garden, aroid collection, azalea collection, bamboo collection, butterfly garden, and citrus grove.
7. Mounts Botanical Garden
Discover Palm Beach County’s oldest and largest botanical garden at Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County. The area is 16 acres, and it contains 25 display gardens full of a lovely array of tropical and subtropical plants.
Some of the gardens you can visit are the rose and fragrance garden, the garden of tranquility, the herb garden of well-being, and a dry stream bed.
While you can visit the gardens to get an appreciation for these species, you can also use these gardens to connect with many different plant-specific societies and clubs. You can also attend plenty of events and specialty tours.
8. Naples Botanical Garden
The Naples Botanical Garden is 170 acres of gardens in Naples, Florida. These gardens aim to provide knowledge and understanding of the plants present in the gardens and conservation in general.
The garden is younger than many of the other botanical gardens in Florida since it was founded in 1993. This garden offers many opportunities to learn about nature.
However, the Naples Botanical Garden also maintains close ties to the arts community through the events that it offers. You can experience events and exhibits related to textile arts and art made from nature.
Read Next: Is Naples, Florida Safe to Visit in 2023?
9. Mead Botanical Garden
Visit Winter Park, Florida to discover Mead Botanical Garden. The acres are made up of several gardens and venues. The 48-acre garden is a beautiful home to several environments built around different ecosystems. All of the individual parts strive to fulfill an overall conservation master plan.
You can enjoy a walk around the Camellia Garden, exploration in the community garden and wildflower garden, a picnic in the picnic pavilion, and music in The Grove Stage and Event Pavilion. You can even do yoga in the garden.
10. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden strives to educate visitors about the beauty of tropical gardening. The garden opened to the public in 1938. Many of the specimens were gathered from around the world by avid botanists, including Dr. David Fairchild.
Over time, the garden has evolved through the addition of different garden features and buildings. The palm and cycad collections remain some of the most vital collections present in the landscape.
Today, the garden offers several seasonal offerings and events. Some collections and exhibits include aquatic exhibits, a tropical flower garden, and the children’s garden.
11. USF Botanical Gardens
The University of South Florida Botanical Gardens connects to the College of Arts and Sciences. Enjoy the 16 acres of over 3,000 plants and animal species.
The gardens were established in 1969, and they grew significantly over the next few decades. The gardens offer several seasonal festivals. These events provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about rare plants and to learn about sustainable gardening.
Since this garden is affiliated with the university, it also provides a connection with research in several areas of science, including botany, biology, and engineering.
12. Unbelievable Acres Botanic Garden
Unbelievable Acres Botanic Garden was founded in 1970 in West Palm Beach by Gene Joyner. Over the years, he sourced many tropical plants to fill the two and a half acres. After a while, an environment developed that echoed an actual rainforest.
The garden features several varieties of tropical fruit. Enjoy the environment with a self-guided tour. Check before you visit, because certain days are not open to the public. You can see which dates are available on the website.
13. Flamingo Gardens
The beautiful Flamingo Gardens can be found in Davie, Florida. Since its 1927 beginning, these gardens have grown. One part of the garden that experienced plenty of growth is the largest tree in Florida. This tree is one of eighteen champion trees found in the gardens.
Witness over 3,000 species of plants and animals throughout the 60 acres of the gardens. You can also enjoy the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, the Bromeliad Garden, and the Croton Garden.
Besides plants, you can see plenty of animals, including flamingos, alligators, peacocks, bobcats, panthers, and otters. Take a visit to the Wray Home Museum to get an idea of South Florida in the 1930s. You can get a tour from a guide or a self-guided tour.
14. Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens
Learn more about five distinct ecosystems at the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens. These ecosystems include marshlands, wetlands, mangroves, uplands, and a tidal basin.
The gardens are also complemented by the presence of sculptures in the sculpture gardens. Over 15 large sculpture installations add a unique character to this environment.
The gardens offer several events, including the annual Gardens Aglow event. You can participate in events like yoga in the garden or take a general public tour. Many events center around music or the sculpture garden.
15. The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden
The Kampong is one of several National Tropical Botanical Gardens. It is the only one of those gardens on the mainland of the United States, with the rest of the gardens being on the Hawaiian islands. This garden is known for its selection of fruit and flower-producing trees.
This garden is yet another botanical garden in Florida that has a deep connection to Dr. David Fairchild. He collected many of the specimens in the garden.
The area is also a common location for studies by students at local universities and colleges. Enjoy the lush gardens with either a self-guided or guided tour. The gardens offer several events, including lectures and children-friendly events.
16. Palma Sola Botanical Park
The 10-acre Palma Sola Botanical Park grows in Bradenton in Manatee County. This park started in 1990 after previously being known as the Manatee County Nursery. Some features of this park include the plumeria garden and the exotic fruit tree section.
You can rent this venue as a space for weddings and many other events. The park itself offers many events, including yoga classes in the park. In the winter, the park offers a light show.
17. Heathcote Botanical Gardens
Heathcote Botanical Gardens thrives deep in Fort Pierce, Florida. It is made up of several smaller gardens, including a Japanese Garden, Herb Garden, Reflection Garden, Rainforest Display, Native Plant Garden, and Palm and Cycad Walk.
Through design, each of these gardens provides a unique environment.
The gardens offer many events, including a tea in the garden, the Bonsai Gala, and garden festivals. Several programs and classes exist for children and adults alike. Many of these classes focus on teaching the importance of different aspects of nature.
18. Montgomery Botanical Center
The Montgomery Botanical Center in Coral Gables, Florida pays particular attention to palms and cycads. It has about 14,000 plants on display across its 120 acres. The goal of the center is to encourage education and conservation regarding palms and cycads.
While this center primarily concerns itself with research and conservation, it also offers events and educational opportunities for the public. The center is also a popular field trip destination and a place for people of all ages to study.
19. Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens provide plenty of trails for walks and hikes throughout 13 different ecosystems. The arboretum component focuses on trees. Some trails walk around lakes and pools, while others walk near championship trees and ravines.
The gardens offer plenty of events and programs for visitors of all ages. These events include a brunch and Plein air painting event, guided walks with an arborist or master naturalists, and yoga classes.
20. Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens
Volunteers and donations fully maintain the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens in Port Orange, Florida. These gardens offer plenty of volunteer opportunities for those who want to care for the gardens.
Several components of the gardens are the result of Eagle Scout projects. The gardens contain several plants, including magnolias, palms, azaleas, camellias, palms, succulents, and native plants.
There are also some master gardener demonstration areas, a children’s garden, and an herb garden in the shape of the state of Florida.
21. Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens
The Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens are made up of several gardens, including the bamboo garden, the bromeliad island garden, the butterfly garden, the native plant garden, the orchid room, the palm walk garden, the rose garden, and the secret garden.
Enjoy several events at the garden, including a Botanical Halloween event, an Arbor Day Celebration, and an art show. The garden also hosts many clubs, meetings, and classes.
Children and adults alike can enjoy educational and demonstration activities at the gardens. Some experiences can help attendants learn how to garden and cook with food from the garden.
22. Miami Beach Botanical Garden
If you are looking for a relaxing spot to enjoy in the heart of Miami Beach, check out Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Several smaller gardens make up the larger garden.
These smaller gardens include the edible garden, the Japanese garden, the native garden, and the palm garden. Beyond the garden, the garden center is worth a visit. This spot contains a plant nursery and an outdoor classroom.
If you would like, you can purchase plants of your own here. The garden hosts events and celebrations that center around nature. You can also take part in special classes, including yoga.
23. Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is a rather unique conservation habitat. This environment is frost-free, sub-tropical, and made up of native plants.
You can explore the 15 acres of the garden with boardwalks and nature trails. This space offers lovely birding opportunities for those who love rare birds. The garden offers many educational opportunities for children through its virtual living lab.
Adults may be interested in the garden’s speaker series, which features experts in different areas of conservation, including marine life and pollinators. You can take yoga classes in the garden several times each week.
24. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens have their origin in the early 1900s. The museum provides information about the Yamato Colony in what is now Boca Raton.
It prides itself on being a center for Japanese culture and gardening practices in South Florida. The gardens feature several exhibitions, educational outreach programs, festivals, and tea ceremonies.
These gardens are 16 acres, and they include a bonsai collection, lakes with koi, trails, and picnic areas. The gardens are an extension of the museum, and each of the six gardens is meant to replicate important gardens in Japan.
Things to Consider
There are a few things that you should consider when planning your visit to a botanical garden in Florida:
- Know your goals when visiting a botanic garden. Consider if you want somewhere you can take a stroll and learn about plants or if you want somewhere with interactive options for children. Planning ahead can allow you to have as much or as little structure as possible.
- Ensure that you know if anyone in your party has any allergies to plants or animals. If they do, ensure that you have the medicine you need. If you have someone in your party with severe allergies, it may be best to find another activity.
- Take a look at the website of a botanical garden that you are planning to visit. Checking ahead of your visit can help you prepare for any activities in which you want to participate. A website should also list if the garden is closed.
- If you are not used to the climate of Florida, it is vital to consider that this environment can be a bit tiring when it comes to a long walk. The heat and humidity can be tiring, especially for young children. Come prepared with water and snacks (if allowed) for your party.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some important questions and answers you should know about the best botanical gardens in Florida:
What are botanical gardens?
Botanical gardens, also known as botanic gardens, focus on providing a space that preserves and cultivates several types of plants. These gardens can take many forms. In Florida, the specimens are usually suited to the particular climates found in the state.
What is the biggest botanical garden in Florida?
The Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida are 182 acres. The Naples Botanical Garden comes close to being the biggest botanical garden in Florida at 170 acres.
Are botanic gardens in Florida free?
Many botanic gardens in Florida are free, while others require a small fee for admission. Always check before visiting a garden.
Do botanical gardens in Florida allow dogs?
Several Floridian botanical gardens do allow dogs. However, many do not. Always check ahead before bringing your pup along.
How can I get involved with a botanical garden in Florida?
There are several ways you can get involved with your local garden in Florida. Besides making regular visits, you can become a member of most botanical gardens or make donations. You can also get involved with conservation groups or become a volunteer gardener.
So, What are the Best Botanical Gardens in Florida?
Since each garden offers so many unique features and sights, we don’t there is a single best botanical garden in Florida. However, you may find that your own favorite garden provides plenty of space for you to wander.
Or, you may just fall in love with a garden that offers plenty of events and experiences. No matter your age, botanical gardens offer many benefits and opportunities for discovery.