Beyond the shady, winding, tropical walkway, near the back part of the gardens, is a different kind of botanical experience entirely. This is the 60-acre natural area that had historically been used for farming. Now under the management of garden personnel, the wilds are returning. Trails with interpretive signs take visitors through this small slice of the Florida wilderness, which has become a safe haven for local animal life. Don’t be surprised if you spot a bald eagle nesting or gopher tortoise moving through the brush. While pets are allowed at Florida Botanical Gardens, you’ll need to keep them out of this area.
When to Visit
The Florida Botanical Gardens are open year-round, daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and no admission is charged. Special events are planned throughout the year, including yoga in the gardens, concerts, an annual pumpkin festival, and the centerpiece of the gardens’ events calendar: Holiday Lights in the Gardens. During the holidays, the gardens are decorated with more than a million LED lights, and visiting during this time has become a beloved local tradition.