Miami Beach Botanical Garden
It was situated on the historic Collins Canal out of Miami, Fl, an integral part of Miami Beach’s origins when it was used as a City park. From groves along what is now Pinetree Drive, John Collins dug the canal in the early 1900s for bringing mangos and avocados to the Port of Miami by boat. It was originally a golf course on the site of the Garden. It was through Rosie, a baby elephant who served as a golf caddy to President-elect Warren Harding in 1921 that Fisher promoted tourism.
On a vacant site opposite the Miami Beach Convention Center, built in 1957, the City of Miami Beach established the “Garden Center” in 1962. Miami Beach has long been a tourist destination, but it has also experienced economic recessions, World Wars, and devastating hurricanes. Sadly, the Garden had deteriorated before the 80s Art Deco revival and after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Then a group of residents approached the City in 1996 to create the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy as a non-profit organization with a mission to restore the Garden. Currently, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a public/private partnership owned and operated by the Conservancy and the City of Miami Beach. A major focus of the organization is the promotion of environmental enjoyment, stewardship, and sustainability through education, the arts, and interaction with nature.
The whole family can find fun at this botanical garden. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the impressive sights and atmosphere of tranquility that comes along with this garden. Most people tend to spend about 2 or 3 hours here in total, but everyone can spend as long as they like exploring its 2.6 acres. It is a lush three-acre landscape filled with 100 palm species, orchids and native plants such as the corky stem, which attracts Florida’s state butterfly, the black-and-yellow striped zebra longwing.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of South Beach to enjoy the beauty of stunning orchids, the tranquility of the Japanese Garden, and the beautiful koi pond. There are several distinct garden areas at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden that can be explored. Highlights include spotting orchids in the trees and along the ground, marveling at the garden’s largest and oldest palms in its northeast corner, and breathing in the sweet scent of the ylang-ylang tree. The water features in this garden are impressive as well. Several ponds and wetlands exist throughout the garden and provide a suitable environment for plants that thrive by water, such as pond apple trees and red mangroves. On a clear day, the sky reflects off the water’s surface and appears almost as if it were a feature of the garden as well.
In addition, the garden offers yoga classes, cultural events, workshops, and other activities throughout the year. Some activities are currently held virtually, but there are still events taking place in the garden. Be sure to check the website for more details. If you’re looking to rent an event space, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden offers spaces for weddings and more. The garden also has different tour hours. Self-guided audio tours are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. You can find a garden map accessible at the main entrance and welcome center.
When you visit the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, you’ll find quite a few benefits you may not have expected. Most of the paths throughout the entire garden are wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available for loan to visitors. As tempting as it may be, don’t take any parts of the plants. All the fruit and leaves need to be left where they are. Feel free to take pictures, however, as these rare plants are certainly worth documenting. Don’t forget to grab a complimentary garden map at the entrance as well, so you’ll know where to go to see everything.
However, you can grow your piece of Miami with seeds and orchids from the Botanical Boutique. You can nab some unique souvenirs here such as items created by local artisans, jewelry, and even compost soil made in the garden. At the Garden Center, you can get a peek at what the garden is currently growing. A nursery, propagation center, and outdoor classroom make the garden center a great stop for budding plant enthusiasts. Thanks to Miami’s subtropical climate, the garden is open year-round and many plants flower continuously. Hours are currently limited and you must purchase timed-entry tickets ahead of time to visit.
There will be a new look for Miami Beach Botanical Garden in the fall of 2011. That’s because the garden is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation. Public access to the garden at 2000 Convention Center Dr. will be restricted to allow for a $1.2 million landscape renovation project. The enhancements include relocating existing palms and shade trees, adding more native plants and trees, removing extensive concrete pathways and brick pillars, and moving the main entrance to the southeast corner of the garden. All tours, community activities, and arts and education programs are also canceled during construction.
Executive Director Laura Jamieson said the 2.6-acre garden hasn’t undergone renovations this extensive since it opened as a Miami Beach park in 1962. The garden is owned by the city and operated by the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy. Over the last 50 years, the garden has gone through numerous hurricanes and the plants need refurbishing. The public will see some amazing and refreshing changes which everyone is very excited about.
Construction is being carried out by Harbour Construction on the project designed by South Florida landscape architect Raymond Jungles. The design will create more open space by adding a larger water pond. It will have a large water garden that will bring the sky into the garden, animate the space, and reflect the landscape, as well as cool the areas directly around the buildings and magnify the garden’s scale. Without the restrictive fences that exist now, navigating the garden will be easier.
The garden renovation is being funded by general obligation bonds and administered by the city’s Capital Improvements Project Office. While all tours and programs will be canceled throughout the summer renovation, staff will remain on-site to book future weddings and other social events.