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“A nice departure!”

Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden
Ranked #58 of 180 things to do in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is the only "frost-free" botanical garden in the continental United States. A tropical environment with ample rain allows most trees to retain their leaves in the dry season (December through late May). It is home to many endangered and threatened flora and fauna. Unlike traditional botanical gardens, this garden advocates as a teaching tool native plants and species in a natural conservation habitat. Tropical forests of the world hold at least half of all the variety of life on Earth. Moreover, the species found with the Caribbean are among the richest in plant and animal life on the planet.The Key West Forest & Garden is a special place where you can appreciate biodiversity and learn more about its importance. For instance, the forest has two of the last remaining fresh water ponds in the Keys and is a major migratory stopping point for neo-tropical birds from places as far as South America, as well as being home to many rare birds in the Florida Keys.Enjoy this "one of a kind" U S tropical forest and garden filled with butterflies, birds, plants and beautiful flowers. Your visit begins with a smiling volunteer greeter at our education center. See a short film and browse the photo walls. Pick up a Garden Guide that describes the 8 self-guided information tours, 2 wetland habitats and 2 butterfly gardens. The lush courtyard has a waterfall wall of tropical plants and below turtles happily show off their home. Meander through a one acre butterfly habitat with over 23 species discovered! Stroll through a lush canopy of tropical palms and trees. Discover the hidden pond and maybe get lucky enough to see a rare resident white crowned pigeon or bald eagle! Restrooms and refreshments are available.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed August 12, 2012

I stopped at the Botanical Gardens while in Key West and had a great time. It was a delightful departure from everything else I did in Key West. Lots of beautiful plants and creatures to observe in a natural habitat. The staff was also very nice and helpful. Would definitely recommend it!

4  Thank em8310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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187 - 191 of 229 reviews

Reviewed July 26, 2012

we went here July 2013 and it was nice. We saw some baby raccoons and a few seabirds. The place does look like it is under construction, I will agree with some reviews saying it is not well maintained. However, it is still a nice place to go see and it's free. I did read one review that said they were charged? Don't know why? It is Free just to let people know. I hope they do continue to improve the place because we have no reason to go back once you see it once. I will recommend going to Crane Point in Marathon if you are up that way. This place is similar except Crane Point is more beautiful, has more trails and much more to see, and is well maintained.

1  Thank Butterflykey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
botanicalgarden, General Manager at Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, responded to this reviewResponded August 7, 2012

Thank you for your recent visit to the Key West Botanical Garden. The protection, survival and success of this unique habitat in the lower keys depend on good people such as you. Unlike other gardens and nature preserves supported by Trusts, endowments or the government, the Key West Botanical Garden is a non-profit supported and maintained by volunteers, membership and admission fees. The preservation and improvement of the garden does cost money and there is an admission to the garden of $5 per person with a military and senior citizen discount offered. I can only guess that you stopped in outside of our regular business hours of 10 – 4 PM and missed the Visitor Center experience. You would have been provided the information about our mission, programs, conservation efforts and what you needed to get the most out of your experience at the garden; 8 self-guided tours, 2 wet-land habitats, 2 butterfly gardens, cell phone tours and so much more.

It is currently the growing season as prompted by the frequent rains. After a sustained drought over the past few years, the garden celebrates the rain and subsequent new growth that is sometimes misinterpreted by our guests as over grown. A number of native fauna depend on these plants for their sustenance, protection and reproduction. The garden purposely set aside areas for this natural growth. What may seem as over grown weeds to some is most likely a butterfly condo.

You may be intersted to find we are partnered with the Crane Point Hammock in Marathon Key, Florida, through a number of programs including our Education Department that offers Monroe County School children classes in conservation, habitat and environmental studies. Please check our website for more information and thank you for your comments.

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Reviewed July 20, 2012

A wonderful representation of the natural beauty of the Florida Keys! It was great to stroll the trails (some of which are still under construction), view the wildlife, enjoy the native flora, and learn about the history of the garden. Beautiful reception area and washrooms too! Don't miss this gem!

4  Thank VeggieCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2012

There are thousands of front yards and backyards in South Florida by far more appealing than this weed garden. You can see them for free driving through the nearest neighborhood. I am deeply confused as to the existence of this location. There is evidence that at one time or in the distance future there was a beautiful garden. Not when we went. The highlight for us was the bathroom. It was lovely. Inside the garden we counted all of five flowers; however, the overgrowth and debris was EXCESSIVE. The highlight was spotting a gator, turtle, local bird and free running iguanas that they are trying to exterminate. Skip it!

2  Thank CuriousTrvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
botanicalgarden, General Manager at Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, responded to this reviewResponded August 1, 2012

We thank you for your visit to the Key West Botanical Garden, but your comments left us dumbfounded and shows we failed our mission in educating the importance of native. We don't have an alligator in our lake and those lovely fields of "weeds" are part of a native ecosystem which nourishes wildlife while displaying its natural beauty. Most "front and back yards" are devoid of important native habitat which is why so many species are threatened and endangered. Instead, yards are planted with exotics which require valuable water resources and aren’t nearly as beneficial to birds, butterfly species, etc. Each family of butterflies has specific plants that they nectar and lay their eggs on, making i.d. fun and easy. The FL. keys landmass chain is critical to migrating birds who seek to avoid over water flight to and from their nesting grounds. They use the garden to winter in or as a respite during their arduous journey making birding special during these months. Over 3,500 children/yr. attend an open classroom in the garden, learning about natives and the interactions between flora and fauna. Guests come to observe, learn, photograph, do Yoga, meditate or just find serenity. We welcome over 25,000 visitors/yr. and host several very popular events.

Our July newsletter lists 125 individual plants which are currently blooming and/or fruiting. We regret that you couldn’t see their beauty. Our teachers and volunteers spend thousands of hours greeting and educating visitors, work to conserve and protect disappearing keys habitat, a remnant of a tropical forest unique to North America and one of the last vestiges of native habitat in the lower keys. We aren't an ornamental garden, pleasing as they might be. The garden's beauty is more than skin deep. Not everyone gets it, but your voice resonates from the largest website of its kind, misrepresenting what the garden is about. We hope you'll take serious consideration as to what the mission of other non -profits are and give hard working volunteers the benefit of the doubt before passing such harsh judgment. If you'd like to visit the garden again, we'd like to show you some of the natural magic we strive to protect.

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Reviewed July 14, 2012

What a find this place was. There are different walks to do along trails which were very easy to follow on the map. All the staff we spoke to were very knowledgeable and to get away into peacefulness for a couple of hours or longer was so rewarding. Well done to all those who give their time to improving this garden all the time. So pleased we found it and would certainly return.

4  Thank Susan499616
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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