This lush oasis is home to exotic wildlife, including plenty of the pink-feathered variety — and even a dynamite tree.
Flamingo Gardens covers 60 acres (24 hectares), including the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary and Wray Botanical Collection. Among the 3,000 varieties of trees and plants is some of the last naturally occurring jungle in South Florida. Take the 25-minute narrated tram tour, for a small fee, to learn about this and other highlights such as the 150-year-old live oak trees.
The gardens are divided into several sections. The Wray Botanical Collection is home to some large trees representing a number of species. These include the biggest tree in Florida, a 102-foot (31-meter) tall cluster fig. You’ll also see exotic species such as the tree with the exploding fruit: the dynamite tree.
The citrus groves offer a wonderful fragrance when the trees blossom in early spring. Winter is the only time you’ll see the ruby throat hummingbird in the Hummingbird Garden. Spot the rare South American malachite or pink spot sulphur in the Butterfly Garden. The Fragrance Garden displays herbs and other plants with strong scents.
Wander through the restored former home of Floyd and Jane Wray, the original owners of the property. Built in 1933, the house is an example of classic South Florida architecture. It’s now a museum that recreates a typical country home of that era.
The Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary houses injured wildlife, such as alligators, bobcats, panthers and eagles. See how many of the 45 species you can identify among the 250 birds in the Free-Flight Aviary. The birds are used for breeding and their offspring are released back into the wild to repopulate where numbers have diminished.
Events held in the gardens throughout the year include the Garden Festival and Bonsai Show, and Flamingo Fest, which celebrates art, sculpture and craft. Check the website for specific dates.
Flamingo Gardens is in the town of Davie, just under 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Fort Lauderdale. It’s open seven days a week, except it’s closed on Mondays from June through October. It is also closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Flamingo Café serves sandwiches, hot dogs and cold drinks. No outside food is allowed.