Friday, February 18, 2011

Naples Botanical Garden: A disappointing work in progress

This past week, while driving from Marco Island to Ft. Myers we passed signs for Naples Botanical Garden.  We love to visit gardens and have enjoyed some amazing gardens throughout the world.  We easily followed the signs to the garden and enthusiastically parked looking forward to a new adventure.

Our first surprise was the price.  It cost us each $12.95.  We are use to most gardens being free or having a small charge and at least a senior price.  Of course, here we are in Florida where the majority of the people visiting are seniors.  Anyway we paid our nearly $26 and entered.

 The signage is good and the walkways and architecture but the actual plants and flowers are clearly a work in progress.  The garden is new.  The website indicates it was founded in 1993 but it wasn't until 2000 that a gift from the Kapnick family enabled the purchase of the current 170 acre site with 7 different habitats.  Looks like the garden was reopened in November 2009 after an extensive expansion.  Plenty of volunteers are around to answer questions and are welcoming so it looks like it is a good volunteer activity for seniors.  

Our favorite place was the butterfly house, officially a part of the Children's Garden.  We also got some good shots of water lilies.  

Overall though for the price and its level of development we can't enthusiastically recommend it like we can the amazing free gardens in Vancouver or the topical unique gardens in Panama which charge very little or the intimate free Yampa Valley Botanical Garden in Steamboat Springs.

No comments: