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Florida Guide > Places to Visit



If you are planning a trip to Sarasota, there is far more than shops and beaches for you to see. You need to make time and include a trip to the beautiful Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a respected world centre for tropical plant research, conservation and education, as well as a famous orchid showplace. The Gardens was officially opened to the public on 7th July, 1975. You will find an amazing spectacular exhibition of rare orchids, bromeliads and epiphytes (plants that live on other plants) in the stunning Conservatory. Botanical Art Exhibitions are featured in the Museum of Botany and Arts as well as inside the truly historic Selby House.

Selby Gardens is a smoke free facility both indoors and outdoors to prevent unpleasant odours interfering with the fragrant smells of the orchids. On your way in their is a small Theatre where you can view a three minute orientation video.

As you begin your tour, there are so many different species of orchids, bonsai, bamboo, ferns, that are planted around in a lush rain forest habitat. Truly stunning.

In the historic Selby House which was built in the 1920’s, you will find Selby Houe Cafe. You can stop and have a few minutes relaxation with a cup of Local Coffee, an assortment of teas, salads, sandwiches, soups, cookies, ice cream, beer and wine. The Cafe opens daily between 10. 00am - 4. 00pm.

From there visit the Banyan Grove to admire the large fig trees and were planted by the Selbys in the 1930’s. Continue to the Hibiscus Garden where there is a magnificent display of tropical Hibiscus. You can then stop for another rest in the Gazebo which is nicely shaded next to a massive red silk cotton tree, and you can take in the vistas of the Great Lawn.

There is also a Wedding Pavilion with shimmering views of Sarasota Bay. Take some time to appreciate the workmanship of the stained glass frieze overhead and read the story of the sacred bo tree. This is a favourite wedding site for many locals in Sarasota and surrounding areas.

It must be time for another break so stop by the Carriage House. They have daily tasting by Local Coffee and tea. Loose leaf teas and tea accessories are available and sampling is at no charge. Relax on a bench and enjoy the tranquil motion of Japanese Koi fish whilst in the background the lush waterfall sounds amid luxuriant tropical plants.

Allow yourself plenty of time 2/3 hours at least to savour all these beautiful gardens have to offer.

Enjoy your visit.

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Page added on: 5 March 2011
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