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“Not What We Expected” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Audubon House & Tropical Gardens

Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
205 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
305 294 2116
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Ranked #23 of 69 Attractions in Key West
Type: Historic Sites, Gardens, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Cultural
Activities: Birdwatching, Shopping, Arts and crafts
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Attraction details
Owner description: The home of Capt. John H. Geiger, harbor pilot and master wrecker, was built between 1846 and 1849. Slated for destruction in 1958, it was saved by the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation, a nonprofit educational institution. This large scale restoration was the first of its kind in Key West, thus sparking the restoration movement in Key West.Antique enthusiasts will appreciate the unique quality of the furnishings displayed in the Audubon House Museum. All furnishings reflect the elegance and comfortable living enjoyed for a wealthy family in Key West during the mid-1800’s. 31 of the original hand colored Antique engravings of the 22 birds J.J. Audubon painted in the Florida Keys during his 6 week visit in 1832 can be seen throughout the House. In addition to informative reading panels, an introduction to the property and its history will be given by your guide, and then you will roam the house and gardens at your leisure. Varieties of orchids and bromeliads emerge from the foliage and trees to surprise you with their vibrant blooms. Native plants and exotics provide an environment that is reminiscent of old Key West. Trees and plants are labeled with their common names, Latin names, and country of origin. This is the finest tropical garden in the Florida Keys. You may even catch a glimpse of some of our local birds! The garden tour also includes a self-guided visit to the Cook House. Houses of the period in the Florida Keys did not have inside kitchens as they were sources of heat and of course, fire hazards. A visit to the Audubon Gallery of Fine Arts will take you through the wonderful world of original Audubon Antique hand painted lithographs. The original Antique prints of some of J.J. Audubon’s contemporaries are also available for sale.The Museum Shop offers a wide selection of unique one-of-a-kind gifts, home décor, Antiques and educational materials.Our lush tropical gardens can be the site of your event:, whether you are planning a wedding or a corporate event. Let us make your event happen.
West Hempstead, New York
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Not What We Expected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

The tour of the Geiger House consists of a nice explanation in the vestibule of the history of the house and the of the Geiger family. As the guide makes clear, Audubon probably never set foot in the house. Then why use his name unless it is to draw people in. the first and second floors contain period pieces from the 1800's while the third floor is devoted to some of Audubon's works. The gardens are ok and nothing special to write home about. Not near the top of my list of things to see in Key West.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AudubonHouse, Manager at Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Dear Ken,

We want to thank you for taking the time to review the Audubon House. The House became known as the Audubon House way before any one of us was born. When Ms. Jesse Porter contacted Col. and Mrs. Wolfson, back in the late 1950's, and informed them of the soon to be horrid future of the Audubon House (destroyed to be replaced by a gas station), it was in good faith that the House was purchased as such - the Audubon House. Our more recent research has proven that there was no validity to the claim since the House was built by Capt. Geiger some 14 years after JJ Audubon's visit. As this was the first large scale restoration project in Key West, sparking a wider preservation movement throughout the town, we believe that the wonderfully quaint Key West that we know and love would probably not look so quaint had it not been for this piece of misleading Key West folklore.

Our mission is to accurately represent life in the 19th Century, and we are delighted that you enjoyed the tour and the furniture.
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Houston, Texas, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“An excellent history lesson...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

My lovely wife and I visited the Audubon House on 25 September 2013. We were able to speak at length with the staff and guides, who took the time and care to see that all our queries were answered. We were able to learn much of the early history of Key West, the founders and their families, how they lived in a somewhat pestilential frontier island, and the slow development of the island into what it is today. It was much more than a simple display of the worthy art of John James Audubon, it was an immersion into the world of the past.
The gardens surrounding the House are among the finest in Key West, with a host of different epiphytes clinging to the majestic trees. A full hour was spent wandering this way and that, looking at one splendid orchid or other flowering thing after another. Absolutely lovely!

Visited September 2013
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AudubonHouse, Manager at Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, responded to this review, October 3, 2013
Robert, we are so grateful you took the time to write such a wonderful review. You and your lovely wife absolutely understood the mission of the Audubon House! We mean to represent Key West's history as seen through the lives of its most preeminent family, the Geigers. We honor JJ Audubon's contribution to art and science by showing his Key West works, but we are so much than that. The gardens are truly spectacular, and as you mentioned the orchids are always flowering. Thank you also for mentioning our staff. We all make sure that our guests feel as though they are part of our family, and always make the time to answer their questions. We look forward to seeing you again soon (there will probably be something different to admire, whether in the House or the Gardens!)
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Sanibel Island
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Audubon house full of surprises!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

The Audubon House has an interesting history that will really surprise you! It's contribution to the history of Key West will give you a good look into the towns people, their vocations, and the industry of past years. The house itself is interesting and the Audubon drawings amazing. The grounds are beautifully kept. Found the historical facts referencing the art, the steps in making the plates, and how the artist was able to get the birds tiny details on paper quite astonishing. Our guide was well versed, ( can't remember her name), and Frankie who greeted us was friendly, helpful and most hospitable. Will definitely return.

Visited September 2013
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AudubonHouse, Manager at Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, responded to this review, October 3, 2013
We are always so grateful when someone takes the time to write a positive review. Thank you so much for doing so. Our aim is to accurately depict life in 19th Century Key West, through the fascinating lives of the Geigers, one of the preeminent families of the city. Although we honor JJ Audubon's contribution to arts and sciences by representing the works painted in Key West during his stay, we are about so much more. Both our gardeners are passionate about their work in the gardens, we will pass on your kind words to them. Also, thank you for recognizing our staff, Mary and Frankie are truly amazing, and as everyone else on staff believe that our guest should be treated like family. We look forward to seeing you again soon!
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Houston, Texas
1 review
“One of the Best Tours in Key West”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

Great historical background of the house and the gardens. Beautiful Gardens! The house was interesting. The artwork amazing. It was fabulous to see the same bird done several different ways from the artist proof to the final print.

Visited September 2013
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AudubonHouse, Manager at Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, responded to this review, October 1, 2013
Good morning Julia,

We just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review of the Audubon House and for your kind words. It is always so gratifying to us when our guests enjoy everything the House, the Gardens have to offer. We hope to see you again.
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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Audubon House - not like it used to be.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

We toured the Audubon House today. It has been at least 25 years since I last toured the house. It is not the same as it used to be. Many exhibits were gone. The house used to have way more Audubon water colors. I still enjoyed it though.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AudubonHouse, Manager at Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
First, we want to thank you for your review. Yes, we have changed. The mission became to faithfully represent life in the Florida Keys of the mid-19th Century through the story of one of its preeminent families, The Geigers. You may remember the Double Elephant Folio of the Birds of America, which was donated to FIU, better equipped to preserve such an important piece of American history. Some of the other J.J. Audubon Antique originals were de-accessioned as they did not represent his work in the Florida Keys. The Audubon House was then able to purchase original first editions of the 22 birds painted in the Florida Keys which you must have seen in the Audubon Room on the 3rd floor. We always encourage our visitors to stop by the Audubon House Gallery, next to the Gift Store, as we carry the full opus, with a few exceptions. We do hope you come to see us again, next time you visit Key West.
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