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“a gem and a must see if you love nature”

Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden
Ranked #59 of 169 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
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“a gem and a must see if you love nature”
Reviewed 19 March 2014 via mobile

The smartphone walking tour was very informative and entertaining. Even without the guided tour the sheer beauty makes it well worth the visit and it was a very nice way to spend the afternoon. I grew up in South Florida and was shocked to learn that many of the trees and butterflies I knew from my childhood in the 60's are now endangered! It was well worth the very low admission price to see this Florida treasure.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Evan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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221 reviews from our community

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English first
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
150 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Good for Birding”
Reviewed 8 March 2014

Very nice preserved corner of Key West with forested paths to walk along. Did a bit of birding here and saw a few Eastern Birds such as the Ovenbird, Northern Cardinal, Black and White Warbler, etc. A bonus is the exhibit of assorted water craft used by Cubans to escape to the USA.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Tom H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
Level Contributor
56 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“No place better to get acquainted with the local flora ...”
Reviewed 20 February 2014

This is off the beaten path and unlike your average garden .. it is not a horticultural garden, but a natural garden that cultivates native plants, butterfly gardens, Cuban palms and also has space for Cuban chugs, the rafts and water crafts Cubans have used to cross the Florida Straits to freedom. If you love gardens, you really shouldn't miss this. It's $7 well spent to enjoy the the Florida Keys as early settlers may have found them. The garden is just on the other side of Cow Key Channel on Stock Island, and a visit could (should ?) include lunch before or dinner afterwards at the very popular Hogfish Bar and Grill.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank dreamdiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
El Paso
Level Contributor
45 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Very disappointing.”
Reviewed 13 February 2014

Spent $7.00 each to get in and left after a quick 20 minute walk-around. Not very much too see, poorly labelled, poorly developed. Have been to many gardens elsewhere and must say this is the poorest value so far encountered. Don't waste your time and money.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Pedro999
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 review, 15 February 2014
Thank you for your recent visit to the Key West Botanical Garden, we are sorry about you having a bad experience. We too are disappointed by your post, an indication we failed in our mission to educate the importance of protecting native habitats for the flora and fauna of this region. 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 the migrating birds and butterflies who seek to avoid over water flight to and from their nesting grounds. Being transient, these species use the garden to winter in or as a respite during their arduous journey making birding special during these months.

It is currently the dry season but additional rains has prompted continue growth. This is not an ornamental garden, pleasing as they might be, and most flowers are not as big as a hibiscus, but each are still remarkable and attain their own beauty that make up the building blocks for this native habitat. We are sorry you did not notice them.

As part of our role as a not for profit environmental organization, our staff and volunteers spend thousands of hours greeting our visitors for the chance to educate the importance of conserving and protecting 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 continue our efforts to provide signage, offering cell phone, smart app and printed guides of the facilities. 20 minutes is not enough time to truly explore and enjoy all this Garden has to offer. The garden's beauty is more than first glance. If you get an opportunity to visit the garden again, we'd like to show you some of the natural magic we strive to protect.

Please check our website for more information and thank you for your comments.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Salisbury, North Carolina
Level Contributor
489 reviews
143 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
“A Great Find”
Reviewed 10 February 2014

We were on our way to a nearby marina when we passed the entrance to the Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. On our way back, decided to stop in and were glad we did. A very nice natural area with an elevated boardwalk trail. The staff is friendly and helpful. And if you are a geocacher, there are a couple on the property.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Gene K
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 review, 15 February 2014
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. 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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