Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

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Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

By: Jennifer Agress | November 26, 2019

See What's Blooming at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Visit Miami’s whimsical tropical oasis

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a treasure trove of the natural world spanning 83 acres situated in The City Beautiful, Coral Gables. Filled with exotic plants and trees, meander along trails to the butterfly garden, rainforest and sunken garden. You’ll experience a wide variety of ecosystems and learn about plants and wildlife native to Miami and from around the world, including sculpture gardens and hummingbirds amidst native and tropical plants and vibrant flowers. With more than 3,400 species on display, you’ll spy palms, cycads, orchids and so much more throughout the various gardens and exhibitions.

With so much ground to cover, the big question is where should you begin? The garden is divided between the Uplands and Lowlands ecosystems. You can discover the garden on one of its many guided walking tours available throughout the week or on a self-guided exploration. Maps and booklets are available to aid your journey. Free tram tours are also available daily and you’re invited to borrow a pair of binoculars before you set out on your adventures. In order to maximize your visit, Fairchild also offers two onsite restaurants, The Glasshouse Café by Le Basque and the Lakeside Café, in order to take a break and refuel.

Discovering the Gardens

With one of the most diverse collections of plant species anywhere in the country, a visit to Fairchild is all about exploring the gardens. To get a sense for what you’ll find, read on for some of the highlights. No matter what route you take, a visit to Fairchild offers an unparalleled educational experience into the natural world.

The Uplands

Spanning 23-acres, The Uplands is the more formal of the garden’s grounds with many exhibits and collections, as well as conservatories and labs. You’ll also find The Shop at Fairchild and the Tram Plaza here. As the name suggests, Uplands is situated 14-feet higher in elevation than the Lowlands and it resides 17-feet above sea level.

Some of the exhibition highlights include Wings of the Tropics where you’ll find the garden’s exotic butterflies—Blue Morpho, Owl, Bamboo Page, Leopard Lacewing—fluttering above pools of tropical fish and rare plants. Similarly, the Lisa D. Anness South Florida Butterfly Garden is where you’ll find up to 40 species of native butterflies interacting with hundreds of different plants. The two-acre Richard H. Simons Rainforest is found along a winding stream with waterfalls, tropical palms and orchids.

The Edible Garden is a favorite stop where you’ll discover numerous easy to grow vegetables, herbs and tropical fruit to inspire your own home gardening practice. For a truly exotic experience, venture into the Lougheed Spiny Forest of Madagascar to discover a world of succulents from the African island nation. Soak in the beauty of the garden’s landscape design at the Allée, Overlook and Bailey Palm Glade where you’ll glimpse the formality of landscape architect William Lyman Phillips’ design and breathtaking views.

The Lowlands

Throughout the garden’s 60-acre Lowlands, you’ll experience a more naturalized botanical experience as you meander along paths and wide open spaces. Investigate South Florida’s relationship to the nearby Caribbean islands in Jewels of the Caribbean where you’ll encounter plants, trees and shrubs from the Bahamas and beyond. The Keys Coastal Habitat is a fascinating look into South Florida’s unique ecosystem and the area is designed to attract migratory birds and other wildlife. On your journey, you’ll also encounter 11 lakes and eight water features.

Special Events

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden often sites art installations throughout the lush gardens, with past exhibitions by Dale Chihuly, Roy Lichtenstein, Fernando Botero and Yoko Ono. They also hold concerts and musical performances on the beautiful grounds. The International Mango Weekend is hands down one of the most popular. Other annual events include the Orchid Festival, Chocolate Weekend and Gala in the Garden. The garden also offers art and photography classes, as well as special events and educational programming throughout the year. Brides- and grooms-to-be can also consider the gardens the perfect location for their wedding. Visit Fairchild’s website for admission fees and discounts.

History of Fairchild

With a mission to explore, explain and conserve the world of tropical plants through inspiring a greater knowledge and appreciation for plants and gardening, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden was conceived by Dr. David Fairchild in 1938, along with environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, county commissioner Charles Crandon, landscape architect William Lyman Phillips and accountant Col. Robert H. Montgomery. Today, the garden continues to grow and thrive in the vision of its founders.

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