Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a tropical oasis of beauty and bliss. With a magnificent view of the Sarasota Bay, Selby Gardens caters for every age and every occasion, from school outings to weddings, from group tours to individual classes.
The history and story behind Selby Gardens is a romantic interlude all on its own. Be sure to check the tale of Marie Selby and marvel at one woman's passion for everything flora and how it brought this legendary garden to us.
Selby Gardens offers more than just lovely walks. They host the Garden Music Series, which runs all year long, offering many varieties of music entertainment in the way of bands, soloists, and orchestral magic. Their Lunch in the Garden Series will have you coming back for more once you have experienced the phenomenal speakers and delicious light lunches.
Art exhibits, sunset cocktail evenings and specific annual events, such as their fun Spooktacular Halloween gathering, are just a few of the unique and enticing events hosted by Selby Gardens.
As soon as you walk into the Conservatory, you will feel like you have been teleported into another world. The tropical rain forest will envelope and entice you into exploring all the wonders that it has to offer. Feel like a child again as you marvel at the insect-catching pitcher plants, as well as the spiny trunks that climb up high to the green house roof and over the fantastic hanging baskets filled with seasonal flowering plants. The lovely part about the Conservatory is that you can revisit every season and know that the foliage and flora will have changed. A new experience each time!
Be you a professional or be you an amateur photographer, or even just a child at heart, you will love the Butterfly Garden. Butterflies have always held a special place in Marie Selby's heart and that they are now personified in this spellbinding garden means you can enjoy them too. With the indigenous butterflies kept in mind, the Butterfly Garden focuses on keeping their habitat as close to what they are used to. You will be inundated with the flittering beauties either whisking past your ear or landing sedately on your arm. Be gentle and be still. You are now in their world.
Did you know the Bromeliad family of plants includes the Pineapple? As one of the first plants to be cultivated many years back in Selby Gardens, the Bromeliaceae, as they are scientifically known, has become the essence of much study of the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center. The most commonly known shape of a Bromeliad flower is the rosette, which has a lovely wide pattern and many colored petals. But Selby's Bromeliad Garden has many varieties. So if you fancy yourself a painter or artist of some kind, you may want to try your hand at capturing their substance and soul while relaxing in this bewitching garden.
2.Mangroves and Baywalk
Take a leisurely walk along the recently remodeled wooden walkway and enjoy the phenomenon's that are Mangroves trees. Although Mangroves are originally found in brackish type water and can withstand harsh conditions, they have quite a comfy home here at the Mangroves and Baywalk garden area in Selby Gardens. Take a moment to focus in on the way the stem and roots grow, as they are a real marvel of nature. When you are done take some time to appreciate the heart-stopping views of the Bird Key and Sarasota Bay.
Schimmel Wedding Pavilion
As wedding venues go Selby Gardens is right up there on the list. The Schimmel Wedding Lawn is a favorite for wedding photos and even the actual wedding ceremony, whether it is a small intimate or large event. The charming Pavilion is also another popular spot to exchange those vows. With gorgeous Sarasota Bay and the serene gardens as your backdrop you couldn't want for a better setting.
The Ann Goldstein Children's Rainforest Garden
Children love to be outdoors, whether they will admit it or not. Once surrounded by the magic of nature and they start breathing in the freshness of the Sarasota breeze, they will go a little nuts, in a good way. The Ann Goldstein Children's Rainforest Garden offers so much for the kids to do, from their swinging bridges to their epiphyte canyon, from the many caves where they can explore and discover to the majestic waterfall. And when their legs are tired and need a break, take them down to the Amazon village to watch an exciting performance at the amphitheater.
The Banyan trees that grow near the Selby House Cafe are a real anomaly. Originating from a single fig and developing into an epiphyte, which is a where a plant grows on another plant, the Banyan tree is another miracle of nature. If you look back into history and many famous works of art, you will see that the Banyan tree was often used as a shady spot to sit under and chat or have a picnic. Selby Gardens mimics that fabled setting for many a visitor.
Marie Selby, herself, planted the first Bamboo tree, the Giant Bamboo, and it still resides near the Pender Path at Selby Gardens. As one of the fastest growing trees in the world, the Bamboo trees at the Gardens cover a large area and bring a calm and peaceful addition to the many garden settings at Selby.
The original habitat of ferns is a subtropical climate and Sarasota allows the ferns in the Fern Garden to flourish and grow in a lovely natural way. From Australian tree ferns to Staghorn ferns, this lush garden will have you taking a load off and just appreciating the laid-back atmosphere, along with the little lizards and other indigenous creatures.
Epiphytes are a plant growing on another plant, much like a parasite relationship. The Epiphyte's at Selby are hidden amongst tall oaks and even the low-lying Spanish moss species. The picturesque and brightly colored flowers attract all the local insects and the vibrant, multicolored Koi fish add to the harmonious effect, not to mention the mellow and tranquil waterfall nearby.
Yoga in the Gardens
For a relaxing and a literal breath of fresh air, Selby Gardens offers Yoga Sessions outside and one with nature. The 4-week program focuses on yoga breathing, aligning your body, and leaving you calm and centered for the week ahead.
Art and Culture
Selby Garden often hosts exhibitions and the latest is Selby's Secret Garden made up of 17th and 18th century art pieces that bring the botanical gardens beauties to life. On occasion, an art class or two will give for either beginners or intermediate.
If you love photography and flora, what better way than to combine the two with a photography course, often held at Selby.
Caring for plants was, of course, close to Marie Selby's heart and if you feel the same you can attend a little short course on everything from 'how to grow orchids' to 'tending to terrariums'.
Selby Gardens offers many varied programs from school to family events, to titillate your interest. Here are the most popular:
The Selby Summer Camp Lookout
For those littlies aged 6 to 11, this is a phenomenal experience and one not to be missed. Getting their hands dirty and taking little explorations is what the Summer Camp is all about.
Little Sprouts Club
Who can forget about the littler than little guys? Fuel their natural addiction to explore and discover by enrolling your tiny tot and beginning their forever journey for a love of nature.
For all grade levels, the school programs are both a delight and an educational way of exposing the kids to horticulture and the many facets of nature. Get them out there and breathing in the fresh Sarasota air.
Membership and Volunteer Work at Selby's
There is something for everyone at Selby's Botanical Gardens and if you find yourself repeatedly coming back for more, then a membership may be a better option. It will prove a very rewarding investment. In addition, Selby is always looking for volunteers, so no matter whether you are a professional horticulturist looking for an outlet or a complete novice, and lover of nature, there is a volunteer position for you at Selby's.
A few options are a tour guide (what better way to learn all about flora?), Welcome Center, or Gift Shop assistant, Data Capturer, a Walk & Talk Guide, Horticulture Assistant or a volunteer at the Kids Corner and Children's Rainforest Garden (this position is better suited to a teenage volunteer).
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811 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, Florida 34236, Phone: 941-366-5731
Best Things to Do in in Sarasota, Florida: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens