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gardens in Miami?

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florida
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gardens in Miami?

We'll be in Miami for the Book Fair in mid-November. We love gardens. Of the ones I've heard of in Miami-- Fairchild and Viscaya-- can you tell me which might be more lovely? I understand that these sorts of things are subjective, but I would still appreciate hearing from folks who know them both and who have a preference.

Also: Is the downtown Hilton ok? It's where we're being put up. Are they any quite good restaurants within walking distance?

Many thanks.

Vero Beach, Florida
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1. Re: gardens in Miami?

I see very little of downtown, which changed rapidly over the past decade--lots of new condos.

Fairchild is one of the largest botanical gardens in the US and has one of the largest palm collections in the world. Its grounds were carefully designed to show off the small bluff.

Just west of Fairchild is Pinecrest Gardens. It doesn't have a Fairchild-type scientific collection of plants, but is an impressive example of Florida tourist attraction gardening. Certainly worth a look.

www.pinecrest-fl.gov/index.aspx?page=34

Also, the Kampong:

http://www.ntbg.org/gardens/kampong.php

Vizcaya's main attraction is the house, actually a palace.

Miami Beach, Florida
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2. Re: gardens in Miami?

Nancy

The Vizcaya and the Fairchild are both lovely and totally different in their concept.

Vizcaya is a museum mansion situated on lovely grounds. Both the museum and the gardens are beautiful and interesting.

Fairchild is a botanical garden, to my knowledge the only tropical botanical garden located on the US mainland.

It is huge - displaying many different garden settings, glass houses, lakes, tropical brokks and pleasant walkways.. A tram, manned by a docent, takes you on a narrated all-over tour, you have the option to get on and off and walk around in areas that catch your interest. It is well worth spending the time to stop and look close-up.

Will you have a car available while you are in Miami? The Vizcaya can be easily reached by Metrorail from downtown Miami, getting to Fairchild is more of a challenge without a car.

Mimi

florida
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3. Re: gardens in Miami?

Thank you both.

Actually I'd already googled the two places before I posted (wouldn't expect someone to do my "homework" for me), so I had some sense of the differences between the two. Because I still had trouble knowing which to choose if we only had time to visit one, I'd hoped that someone might have a strong preference for one over the other, and be able to speak a bit about why. Both sound great-- but we'll not be able to do both. I did visit Viscaya some 25 years ago, and I remember being wowed, but I've never been to Fairchild. In fact, I always hear about Viscaya, don't think I've ever heard of Fairchild. What we're hoping is to be able to stroll and look at wonderful flowers and trees and such for about 2-3 hours. (less interested in inside things-- unless, of course, the weather is poor)

E.g. we love the Marie Selby Gardens in Saratoga. Is either of these gardens as wondrous as Marie Selby, if you happen to know it? (Those TREES!) (and gorgeous setting)

Thank you!

Miami Beach, Florida
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4. Re: gardens in Miami?

Nancy,

I, too love the Selby (n Sarasota, Fl, not Saratoga, NY) No other botanical garden in Florida has that spectacular waterfront setting and their orchid collection is unsurpassed. Each year I spend the month of May on Lido Key and have became a member of the Selby 3 years ago. Every morning that I go to downtown I get off the bus at Selby and take a walk around in it before running the rest of my errands. This is my favorite walk in all of Sarasota and the islands.

My choice in Miami would be Fairchild, there is so much to see and admire, it is spectacular..

I usually visit twice a year and spend the whole day.

As BlueRusso said Vizcaya is more about the house than about the garden.

Mimi

florida
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5. Re: gardens in Miami?

Ah, yes-- of course I meant to say Sarasota. Thanks for correction.

OK: Fairchild it will be (if the weather gods cooperate). Now question will be how to get there. Actually we'll have a car, but I prefer not to drive in unknown areas (we're "seniors"), especially if there's lots of traffic. Is there easy public transport? If not, we may decide just to hop a taxi.

Btw, I assume that one does not need advance reservations for a place like Fairchild? The visit will be on a Saturday or Sunday probably. (I know-- probably not the best time.)

Thanks again.

Miami Beach, Florida
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6. Re: gardens in Miami?

Nancy,

I you do have a car, drive there.

There is limited public transportation to Fairchild which involves you walking to Government Center, taking southbound Metrorail to Douglas Station in Coral Gables and then transferring to bus 136 which leaves you directly in front of Fairchild (upon entering ask the driver th stop for you there)

This bus does not operate on Saturdays and Sundays and some limited morning and afternoon hours on weekdays. The areas surrounding Fairchild, i.e. Old Cutler Road and Cocoplum are some of the fanciest in Miami and the buses seem to mainly running to transport household staff to and from day work.

Of course it would be easy to take a taxi from the Hyatt to Fairchild, I am not sure about the way back though.

Mimi

Edited: 13 September 2011, 14:08
florida
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7. Re: gardens in Miami?

Thanks, Mimi. Btw, we're at the Hilton. I WISH we were at the Hyatt. (Actually I wish we were in Miami Beach!)

Miami Beach, Florida
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8. Re: gardens in Miami?

Since you are at the Hilton, my public transportation directions have to be different:

Take the Metromover from the Omni Station to Government Center and the follow the previous directions.

Mimi

9. Re: gardens in Miami?

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