The Naples Botanical Garden is simply a must-do for nature enthusiasts. This impressive attraction was founded in 1993 by a group of eight Naples residents with a simple dream: to create a world class botanical garden. The gardens are comprised of six gardens, 2.5 miles of walking trails, and 90 acres of preserve with seven ecosystems including mangroves, marshes and untouched forests. It is home to hundreds of animal species and more than 300 species of exotic plant life from Brazil, Asia and the Caribbean and native plants from Florida.
The Lea Asian Garden transports visitors through the exotic tropic and subtropical landscapes of Asia. There is a Northern Thailand riverside scene, an ancient Javanese terraced sanctuary, a Balinese temple water garden, an East Indonesia megalithic court and a New Asian sculpture garden.
The interplay between people and plants is featured in this garden – from the indigenous peoples’ use of plants to the art of landscape design. The garden is bold and distinctively Brazilian, a tribute to Roberto Burle Marx, known internationally as the “father of modern landscape architecture.” Its centerpiece is the only original Burle Marx ceramic mural in the United States.
The Kapnick Caribbean Garden is designed to give the visitor to the Naples Botanical Garden a prism of landscapes through which to view the natural and cultural history of the islands of the Caribbean. A visitor touring this garden will encounter diverse landscapes representing everything from mountain tropical forests with lush, exotic plants to low islands largely characterized by dry forests, savannahs and species of cactus and scrub. The diverse landscapes of the Caribbean are a reflection of a complex and varied human history.
The Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden displays the essence of the Florida landscape, encouraging us to renew our connection with the natural elements that draw us to this land of sunshine. The central feature of this garden is the Great Circle. This circular form is reminiscent of the numerous pot lakes one sees when flying over Southwest Florida. The Great Circle is formed by a circular planting of sabal palms, Florida’s State Tree, underplanted with bougainvillea and silver palmetto. Within the Great Circle are swathes of Florida’s most beautiful grasses and wild flowers.
The Water Garden is featured in the heart of Naples Botanical Garden, atop the River of Grass. Filled with beautiful water lilies, lotuses and papyrus, this garden also features a small island in the pool. A boardwalk transects the Water Garden with a space in the middle that widens enough to become a stage. Surrounded by the Great Lawn, performances on the boardwalk will delight visitors viewing from all sides of this garden.
Beyond the saw palmetto tunnel at the Vicky C. and David Byron Smith Children’s Garden lies a carefree world full of flowers, vegetables, butterflies, tree houses and babbling streams. This child friendly garden is one you have to see for yourself.
The gardens offer educational, interactive and entertaining programs and activities for the whole family. There are children’s programs and summer camp, and adult classes and workshops ranging from painting, planting and interactions with wildlife. Even Fido gets to join in on the fun with dog walks on the grounds! It’s easy to see why this popular destination cannot be missed when visiting Naples. It’s sure to leave a lasting memory on any Southwest Florida vacation.