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Review of The Kampong

The Kampong
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Private Half Day Miami City Tour
Ranked #49 of 354 things to do in Miami
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Enter the gates of this hidden oasis tucked in metropolitan Miami. See the sausage tree, named for its pendulous fruit hanging from ropelike stalks. Stand dwarfed by a hundred-year-old baobab from Tanzania that weighs almost 50 tons. Drink in the haunting fragrance of plants prized by the perfume industry. See the vibrant magenta blossoms of the pink trumpet tree as they color the horizon. Touch the hard hexagonal projections on the skins of the jakfruit, the world's largest tree fruit, or the feathery foliage of the canary yellow royal poinciana from Guyana. Discover the place that David Fairchild, the "Columbus of American Horticulture" called home.
Reviewed April 5, 2012

The tours are only given a few times a month. The rare plants and home are well worth the visit. You will need about three hours to tour the property and gardens. They also have many special events that are always fun and often include delicious food.

6  Thank LOL305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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67 - 71 of 87 reviews

Reviewed March 14, 2012

The Kampong home and gardens is a lovely, exotic surprise tucked away on nearly eleven lushly landscaped acres in Coconut Grove, with spectacular views of Biscayne Bay. The land originally belonging to some French aristos, was then purchased by a woman doctor who lived and worked there. In 1916, it was purchase for $25,000 by Alexander Graham Bell's daughter, Marian Fairchild, who lived there during winters with her husband, Dr. David Fairchild. As Director of Plant Introductions for the US Department of Agriculture , he collected and introduced over 30,000 plants and their variations from South and Central America, Africa, and Asia, planting many of them in his own garden. He selected rare, beautiful, exotic tropical plants, ranging from flowers, fruits, and the bread nut tree to the baobab, orange champaca, giant ficus, mango, pomelo, bamboo, and curry leaf trees. Kampong also boasts one of the largest salt water mangrove preserves in the area.

The estate was next purchased by Dr. Catherine Sweeney who was a preservationist and botanist. She not only made Kampong beautiful - she introduced landscaping, renovated the Southeast Asian- Spanish influenced home, and stocked it with beautiful art, sculpture, and yellow rosewood details - but ensured its future by registering it on the National Register of Historic Places. Place and eventually donating it to the Pacific Tropical Botanical Gardens.

It is not as easily accessible as most attractions. Kampong is also a research center so a visit requires a bit of planning. It is open Tues-Fri from 10-12 by appointment only. They offer two-hour guided tours on selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 and reservations are recommended, although four of us just were able to walk in one Wednesday and join the scheduled tour. The tours are given by volunteers who are enthusiastic and passionate about Kampong. The more important thing, however, is less what they have to say than that they enable you to visit and enjoy this beautiful place.

4  Thank bluenote18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2012

We passed on Fairchild gardens so I can't compare the two. This place is relatively small and is beautifully landscaped and the staff is helpful. You must make an appointment to visit. We did the self guided tour but they have guided tours at 10:30 on Wed and Sat. The "office" is the house that Fairchild lived in. Most of the gardens are trees and shrubs (not flowers) but their is a lily pond with lilies and lotus flowers in it. There are lots of tropical plants from all over the world.

5  Thank KENTGA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2011

I can honestly say that, although I have lived here for ages, I had never heard of the Kampong and, as I asked my friends and family, they hadn't either. What a beautiful surprise to go visit this Botanical Garden and understand that David Fairchild, the man who traveled the world to bring us plants and fruits that we would have never experienced in the U.S., lived and worked here. Make sure to walk down to the bay and see the view he enjoyed while living here and while planning his many travels for the U.S. dept. of Agriculture. Make reservations and then go enjoy the scenery and the quiet in the midst of the bustling city, and know that you are also supporting local and national history at the same time. It is most enjoyable when visiting it from Oct/Nov through May, because of the heat; although, of course, there are things blooming and growing all year and it is always a quiet respite...

6  Thank kdmia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2011

Took a guided 2 hour tour of The Kampong May 21st at a cost of $20 a piece which I thought was well worth it. The Kampong is hidden in a residential area and we almost past it. It used to be a private residence many years ago.The parking lot is tiny but they do not get many visitors so it was not a problem. The Kampong is one of only 5 member gardens that are a part of the National Botanical Tropical Garden-it is also the only one of the 5 not located in the state of Hawaii.
The property is a little under 10 acres so it is a good bit smaller than the Fairchild which is only about ten minutes away. I was very impressed with the gardens. There were many plants from different parts of the globe and it was very well care for. Our guide was great and the group that toured was only about 10 people. There was a peacock rooming the grounds with her 4 chicks in tow. Apparently this garden is really a hidden gem as our hotel's concierge had never heard of it and neither had many of the locals we talked to.

The garden has limited hours during the week and is only open on the weekends occasionally for guided tours. See website for the schedule. The upside is that if you come you may have the grounds to yourself. Just a lovely garden. I choose it over the Fairchild garden to visit since I plan on visiting its sister gardens on Kauai soon.


9  Thank Kelly_TPM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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