Florida Guide > Places to Visit
Marie Selby Gardens Sarasota - a great place to visit!
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Sarasota
If you are looking for a day out with a difference then try the Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota. Their mission is:- “to further the understanding and appreciation of plant life, with emphasis on epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants), and provide enjoyment for all who visit the Gardens”
Right in the middle of a built up area, the gardens cover 14 acres and are easy to find (look for the massive bronze statue of an orchid outside! ) with plenty of free parking in the shade, the gardens have, amongst other things, one of the oldest and largest orchid collections (over 6000) in Florida and every time you visit there will be different ones in flower – great for horticulturalists and photographers alike.
The gardens are an easy walk and take you through such delights as a Bamboo walk, a Butterfly garden (which is very tranquil and beautiful despite being a short distance from the road) Giant Banyan groves with their massive roots, Hibiscus, Herb and Fern gardens, a Bonsai display, a Koi pond and a Mangrove forest to name just a few things.
The walk also takes you along a boardwalk that edges Sarasota bay and is an ideal place for bird watching across the bay whilst you sit and listen to the water lapping the mangrove roots. I have seen Ospreys, Ibis, and Herons from here.
For the slightly more adventurous there is the Tropical Hardwood Hammock to climb, for the less adventurous there are some great specialist Orchid and Florida books in the shop and free Wi-Fi if you need to sit and surf.
Throughout the year there are events, classes and plant sales – my favourite event is the annual juried photography exhibition where all the entries are displayed in the magnificent (air conditioned! ) Mansion house – a lovely way to cool off after a walk around the gardens! They also have a café and plant shop (not forgetting the daily tea tasting sessions also in the mansion – another welcome option)
My absolute favourite thing in the gardens is the ‘bottle or shaving brush’ tree – the pink flowers look just like old fashioned shaving brushes!
Every time I visit the gardens there is something new or different to see and it is so peaceful there I always feel quite calm and rested after a visit!
The gardens are open every day 10-5 except Christmas day and all the details can be found on the Selby gardens website
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