Longboat Key holds many secrets near and far, especially when it comes to magical places to visit while staying on the quaint little barrier island. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida is one of these locations. These botanical gardens help foster understanding and appreciation of tropical plants, especially epiphytes which are plants that grow on other plants. They do this through programs of research, conservation, education and displaying these beautiful plants. Selby Gardens shining star is perhaps its collection of more than 6,000 orchids.
What Sets The Gardens Apart
With over nine and a half acres of Bayfront property to get lost in, it easy to see why so many people fall in love with the scenery. The highlight of your tour will be when you look up and see the reflection of all the colors of the plants on the glass ceiling of this amazing botanical museum. The research staff at the Selby Gardens have collected many of these colorful plants from the wild on over 150 scientific expeditions. Home to over seven greenhouses acting as the heart of botanical research and plant identification, Selby Gardens has many reasons as to why it is internationally recognized.
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens have many distinct areas including the Tropical Display House, the towering Bamboo Pavilion, Banyan Grove, Cactus and Succulent Garden and Cycad Collection. You will also find the former Christy Payne Mansion on the grounds, an attractive example of Southern architecture. You will find Utopia at The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens which is only 24 miles away from Longboat Key. No Longboat Key vacation would be complete without a trip to The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Children can freely explore the Rainforest Garden as well as watching the koi in the fish pond. There is something for everyone at The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
One of the highlights for many visitors is an old ficus – most commonly referred to as Banyan. His large spreading branches provide shade for many other plants. Another tree worth looking for is The Rainbow Gum Tree. You won’t miss it due to its extraordinary rainbow-colored trunk. The hibiscus garden is a delight for many since it is a favorite with Florida gardeners. You will find the Butterfly Garden at the far end of the gardens which has been planted with flowers to provide food for the beautiful winged created while they lay their eggs on the leaves. Trying to take in everything in one visit will be difficult while here but try and remember to check out the bonsai collection and the display of air plants that are dangling from the branches of the oak tree.
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens borders the coastline of Sarasota Bay which is why it is a popular location for weddings. It is delightful knowing that you are enjoying the same view that the Selbys enjoyed almost 90 years ago, apart from the modern-day high-rises of course. You will find a welcoming boardwalk at the edge of the gardens, just around the strip of sandy beach that is naturally decorated with driftwood and seashells. It is a wonderful way to end your day at the garden before returning to your Longboat Key vacation rental. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens should be on your must-visit list while visiting Longboat Key!