The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is my absolute favorite place in all of Miami. From the very first time I visited I fell in love with it and I try to go back every time I visit. While in Miami this week I realized my grandma, who was also in town for Passover, had never been to the garden! My mom and decided we had to take her.
Fairchild is a great place to take your grandparents because they have a guided tram ride that takes you all over the garden with a driver who describes the plants, flowers, trees and artwork you are seeing as you drive by. The tram leaves every hour on the hour between 10:00am - 3:00pm. Not a step of walking required!
We took the 11:00am tram ride, just before the sun gets too hot. Though I have been on the tram ride at least three times before, each driver has their own tour style and often points out different things. Additionally, the art work being displayed in the garden has changed since my last visit.
Currently the works of Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne are punctuating the exceptional landscape of the garden.
Please excuse the angles of some of these photos, as I was shooting them out of the side of the moving tram!
One of the first highlights of the tram tour is the rainbow eucalyptus tree. The bark looks like it's been scribbled on by an army of kindergartners with crayons!
The first two sculptures we saw were the golden apple and the hungry bear. I love this apple! If I had a Manhattan apartment I'd put this on display for all to see!
Next we saw a flock of sheep which looked so natural at first, you had to squint to realize they weren't real!
I liked this dinosaur-like fountain and wished we could have gotten closer to it.
If you didn't look carefully you might have missed this noble owl standing at attention.
There was also a very whimsical rabbit, which reminded me of the rabbit in "Alice and Wonderland." I was waiting for him to jump to life!
This gorilla was also fun. Not to worry, I got a romantic shot with him later, after the tram ride.
I also loved this jade colored fish sculpture, which had a hollowed out center. I would have loved to meet the artist and hear why the fish has an exposed center.
There was also a giant duck, floating in the lake at the entrance of the garden. From the tram ride, you could only see him through the roots of a tree.
After all the Lalanne pieces we saw, my absolute favorite was the gold buck. He is located in the center of three long reflecting pools, which are my favorite look out point in the whole garden. He was so majestic it was breathtaking.
There were other sculptures, not part of the Lalanne exhibit that I also loved. I couldn't help but chuckle at this sculpture of a man looking up at the gorgeous trees.
There is also a sculpture of one of the garden's founding botanists, who we learned lived to be 108 years old!
On the plant side of things, I was struck by the beauty of these fan shaped leaves:
While zooting around we also saw a few Ibis birds. Our tram driver told us the Ibis is a fierce bird, which is the last species to leave before a hurricane. In fact, the Ibis is the mascot of the University of Miami hurricanes!
Here is the view out of the tram as we approached the end of the tour:
As we walked toward the exit I noticed that the staff drive around in little golf carts that are solar powered! How cool!
I also spotted a little friend on the stake of one of the information plaques:
If you travel to Miami, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden must make it on to your sight seeing list! Check out my post from a previous visit to see more incredible plants, flowers, trees and art work.