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“Relaxing walk along rare and endangered species”

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 March 13, 2013

This is not your stereotypical botanical garden full of manicured shrubs and flowers in neat rows. Instead, its more like a walk through a small forest along a 4-foot path that takes you past trees and shrubs you likely will see nowhere else. This spot has been undisturbed by development and sits in Key West's temperate climate, so it's a sanctuary of sorts for plants and birds. We spent about 90 minutes walking along, and as we walked, we used our phones to access the audio tour available at no additional charge. Be sure to watch the 5 minute intro film to understand what you will see, and don't miss the group of wrecked dinghy's and small boats near the parking lot on your way out. These were salvaged from refugees trying to flee Cuba across 90 miles of open ocean. It's a sobering sight.

2  Thank travelmikeBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (228)
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169 - 173 of 228 reviews

Reviewed February 26, 2013

This is a rather small place on the grounds of KW Community College on Stock Island, just over the bridge from KW. A very friendly woman greeted us and showed us the film and the entrance to the trails. It was a peaceful respite and we saw many birds, turtles and other wildlife as well as botanicals.

Thank Future_Fl0ridian
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 February 28, 2013

Thank you for your recent visit and comment on the Key West Botanical Garden. This Garden is just one of only a few areas of green left on the island making it critical to a number of threatened and endangered plants, birds and butterflies, including migrating birds and butterflies that pass through to their wintering grounds. Although partnered with the Community College, the Garden is not part of their grounds. The KW Botanical Garden Society, Inc., is a small not for profit volunteer organization that fights to maintain and preserve what little is left of the original 55 acres.

Our dedicated volunteers try to educate the importance of conserving and protecting disappearing keys habitat, this garden the remnant of a tropical forest unique to North America and one of the last vestiges of green in the lower keys. The garden's beauty is more than first glance as you discovered through the wildlife present. Visiting birder watchers are having a blast with their sightings.

Once again, thank you for your visit and comment and we hope to see you again. Keep current with garden successes and opportunities by visiting our website often.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2013

We spent about an hour here. It has some very nice trails, and a boardwalk, and a good variety of different plants to see. Signage is good. One unique item is the xylophones you can play next to the lake. The standout, however, is the display of boats refugees from Cuba have taken to reach the US. Gives you a good appreciation of the freedoms Americans are born with, and the ingenuity and risks people living under oppression will endure to have.

Thank Kevin S
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 February 28, 2013

Thank you for your recent visit and for commenting about the Key West Botanical Garden. Not just about the green stuff, the Garden offers a variety of exhibits of different interests for an educational and fun experience set around a botanical setting. The musical instruments are made out of recycled materials by Richard Cooke, Freetones Harmony Park, as part of our annual art show April – June, with the center piece created just for this Garden. It was such a success and fit so well with the garden a grant was used to purchase the exhibit to be appreciated by young and old.

The island has a rich cultural connection with Cuba and the Chug exhibit is just one part of that. Originally set to complement the Garden’s signature fundraiser, Hot Havana Nights, the exhibit started with just 4 crafts and expanded to 12. A short history of each documented landing can be found on page 50 of the Garden’s Garden Guide.

The importance of this Garden as just one of only a few areas of green left on the island makes it critical to an ever increasing number of threatened and endangered plants, birds and butterflies, and a stop off for migrating birds and butterflies who seek to avoid over water flight to and from their nesting grounds. These species use the garden to winter in or as a respite during their arduous journey making birding special during these months.

Once again, thank you for your visit and comments about the Garden and we hope you will continue to check on our many successes. It is with the help of good people like you the survival of this unique habitat in the lower keys can be assured.

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Reviewed February 22, 2013

This is it. This botanical garden is as close as you're going to find to a vision of what the Florida Keys were before humans started changing things. The entry fee is small and value is great.

2  Thank Stephen R
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 February 23, 2013

On behalf of the Key West Botanical Garden Society, Inc., I thank you for your visit and comment on the Garden. Moreover, we appreciate your impression of the Garden and our mission. As one of the last vestiges of green native habitat in the lower keys, it is a step back in time. Be assued it is a hard sell to keep what it has been with the pressure to make it new. We hope you will return often to 'see how the garden grows'. It is with the help of good people like you that the future of this unique habitat can be assured.

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Reviewed February 10, 2013

Three out of four in our group are master gardeners and have visited other botanical gardens. Unfortunately, this garden needs a lot of attention - markers missing and appears a little in disarray. The app for self-guided tour is a great addition but stops some places without markers for the designated tree or shrub. Lady at desk was very courteous.

1  Thank toodles7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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