The Florida Tech Botanical Gardens are situated among the unassuming buildings of the Florida Institute of Technology. The fifteen acres of nature-filled walking trails and tropical, lush paradise is also called the Dent Smith Trail, and features winding streams, rare flora and foliage, and shady palm trees. The gardens make a peaceful setting to relax or get some exercise in the middle of the many academic buildings on campus.
The trail system collectively offers nature lovers, joggers, and walkers with approximately one mile and a quarter of the most beautiful and diverse backdrops found anywhere within Brevard County in Florida. Along with the Botanical Gardens’ dirt, mulch, and paved trails that meander along underneath the mesic-hydric palm/oak hammock, visitors will also find benches, pavilions, and bridges that offer walkers a chance to stop and relax for a bit for some quiet introspection and observation.
The grounds of the Florida Tech Botanical Gardens are dotted with streams and babbling brooks, which wind their way through the green, natural surroundings. They also add something to the gardens’ overall aesthetic beauty in a rather large way. The area of the gardens acts as a floodplain for the Crane Creek nearby, helping to offer a natural irrigation system for the more than two hundred varieties of flowers, bamboo, palm, pine, and much more. This means, however, that the area becomes quickly saturated whenever there’s a decent rainfall. Water will often collect on the trail and turn the area into a “bonus water feature.” Even when this happens though, the Botanical Gardens are still a great sight to take in.
Shaded by a hammock abundant with palm trees and several other tropical plants and vegetation, a stream meanders through the center of the Florida Tech campus, providing a scenic setting for the fifteen-acre Botanical Gardens. The main trail of the gardens is known as the Dent Smith Trail, named in honor of the Palm Society’s founder. The society is a global organization that is primarily involved in the research, in every aspect, of the palm family of plants. The Florida Tech Botanical Gardens were created during the 1960’s through the vision of Founding President Emeritus Jerome Keuper, and with the assistance of Dent Smith. These gardens have now become of the country’s most unique gardens of its kind on a college campus.
The Little Red Schoolhouse, located near the entrance to the Florida Tech Botanical Gardens, is a site of interest for history buffs. The old schoolhouse was used to teach children of the area’s early settlers, and is one of the oldest structures still in existence in Brevard County. For visitors more interested in learning about the plants of the gardens, a downloadable guided walking tour is available online that will point out some of the garden’s most notable specimens along the trail. The beautiful natural scenery provides a great opportunity for photographers as well. Children will love running over the bridges and looking at all of the lizards, turtles, and bird that reside in the Botanical Gardens.
2543 South Harbor City Boulevard, Melbourne, Florida, Phone: 321-6-74-85-36