McKee Botanical Gardens: Everything You Need to Know

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When visiting the McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach, FL, prepare to be captivated. Yes, not many visitors know of this national significance in the national register presenting a diverse botanical collection.

So, if you spend a lot of time in Florida and Disney is not on your list, head to McKee Botanical, which has award-winning art exhibitions to beautiful indoor plants with trails.

More About McKee Botanical Garden

McKee Botanical Gardens

When you visit McKee Botanical Garden, you will appreciate everything, and one thing is for sure you need not be a horticulture enthusiast. There are 18 acres of landscape to explore in these Historic Places, endorsed as a project of National Significance by The Garden Conservancy.

The garden has undergone a long history since started by Arthur McKee and Waldo Sexton, first known as the McKee Jungle Gardens. It closed in the 1970s but reopened in 1994. But, until today, the McKee Botanical Garden remains true to its founder’s vision.

In the park, you can find more than 10,000 native tropical plants with the most extensive water lilies collection. In addition, there are restored architectural treasures like the Spanish Kitchen and The Hall of Giants.

The garden has also seen dinosaurs return with sculpture exhibits from HG Frabel and S Johnson. Here you can enjoy a wide cultural and educational variety of programs for children and adults.

Whether you want to see the lily ponds, visit special events, or see flowers & trees, it is possible in Vero Beach at the McKee Botanical Garden.

Things to Know Before Visiting McKee Botanical Garden

McKee Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Garden has a diverse yet extraordinary collection that will tickle anyone’s imagination. But before you head to the site, there are a few things to know to plan your visit.

McKee Botanical Garden Open

The garden opens year-round from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM. On Sundays, the property opens at 10 AM and closes at noon 5 PM.

The gift shop opens at regular times, and the children’s garden closes at 4:30 PM daily.

The gardens are closed on Mondays and Major Holidays like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve/Day, Easter, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

Admission Fee

For members, admission to the gardens is complimentary, while adults pay $15, and seniors (65+) and youth (13-17) are $13. Kids’ entrance fees and military are $10, and children under two are free.

General Garden Etiquette

  • No drones to outside food or beverages are allowed.

  • Children are not permitted to play in the water features or designated areas.

  • The garden is smoke-free, and no changing of clothes is permitted in the restrooms.

  • Visitors cannot bring bicycles, motorized scooters, skateboards, or more.

  • For professional photographers taking photos, you need a Professional Photographer Membership.

  • All guests must check in at the entrance, and pets are prohibited.

  • Guests must remain on paths and not pick outdoor plants, feed animals, or stand in the waterfalls or waterways.

Specialties at The Garden Space

There is always something interesting to do and see at this Florida botanical garden in Vero Beach. You can get different discounts for special events or explore magical gardens throughout the year. Here are some highlights of what you can do in the park.

The Children’s Garden

All ages will enjoy the children’s garden as Allie, Flit, Minkee, Crackers, and Gordon cannot wait to meet you. There is a splash garden for the kids to enjoy, and the park spreads over one acre of grounds.

There is also a reading circle, a monkey bridge to a pirate shipwreck, and a fairy forest. Your children will learn and grow to thrive without the use of technology. The youth to adults can listen to music and enjoy story times in this imaginative, lovely space for all to see.

Children can also join in on camps held at McKee Botanical Garden and can register online. Different camps will be taking place in 2023 from:

  • Wildlife Discovery Week

  • Jungle Exploration Week

  • Arts and Science Week

  • Earth Discovery Week

Water Lily Festival

water lily pond at mckee botanical garden

Another highlight to enjoy in the sun to have some fun in Florida’s botanical garden is the Water Lily Garden. Here you can explore the fountains of different species of water lilies and massive lily pads.

Alternatively, it is not the only plant in bloom, as you can see giant trees, orchids, and other flora when you walk past waterfalls and other features in the garden.

Finally, take a stroll to the Meditation Garden to relax and breathe fresh air.

Standout Exhibitions

A highlight is the Garden of Glass presented by Jason Gamrath, or enjoy some pilates classes with Beth Nolan. Then there is the Magical Festive of Lights in December. For Dad, there is the annual motorcar exhibition in February 2023.

Relax at the Garden Cafe

After walking for hours, you can enjoy a treat at the Garden Cafe, which has fresh salads, paninis, wraps, soup, quiche to sandwiches. Indulge in the jam bars to homemade brownies. There is even a tasty menu for the children.

Plan Your Event

The McKee Botanical Garden is where you can host events from parties to corporate training to other special occasions. Unfortunately, the garden does not host any wedding events. Yet, there is a table with additional features available to seat all.

Contact the staff for a tour of the place. But suppose you are visiting to see this magical place. In that case, we recommend you download a map before heading out to McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach, situated in Orlando, Florida.

Facilities Available at the Garden

  • Restrooms – There are restroom facilities located in the visitor center and café.

  • Benches – Benches are scattered throughout the gardens so visitors can sit and enjoy the scenery.

  • Wheelchairs – Wheelchairs are available for rent at the visitor center

Frequently Asked Questions

It depends if you plan to enjoy some lunch in the gardens, you can arrange it for three hours at the most. It takes about two hours to stroll through the entire park.

The longest trail is the main garden path stretching 0.4 miles long.

Yes, the McKee Botanical Garden has a gift shop at the entrance that sells souvenirs, jewelry, books, and gardening items. The proceeds help support the garden’s education programs.

No, there is an admission fee to pay, and it ranges between $8 to $15.

Pets are not allowed within the McKee Botanical Gardens, except for service animals. This allows the gardens to protect its wildlife.

The gardens are beautiful year-round but especially gorgeous in spring (February to April) when many flowers are in bloom. The fall months also offer pleasant weather for exploring the gardens.

Yes, the gardens offer guided walking tours at 11am and 2pm daily for an additional fee. The tours provide more in-depth information about the gardens. Reservations are recommended.

Yes, there is a 40-minute open-air tram tour that departs every 30 minutes and takes visitors throughout the gardens. The tram tour has an additional fe

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