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Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a tranquil place to escape from the bustling city. Take the opportunity to learn about the variety of unique plants that grow in South Florida as you walk the 2.6 acre estate. There are 13 small signs posted throughout the garden with phone numbers you can call for an audio tour of the garden, but for a little more context, here are some of our favorite sights:

Flora

This tightly packed garden gives you the chance to see a range of different species without having to walk far. Engage your sense of smell by walking over to the allspice tree (crinkle a leaf in your hand to release an aroma with notes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger). As you continue along the path, a large tree overhead — the ylang-ylang tree produces the flowers used to make the perfume Chanel No. 5. Further along a large rainbow eucalyptus, with its variegated red, orange, green, and purple bark, is a natural work of art. Also, in the edible garden, you can try Cuban cilantro—a bush with large, soft, furry green leaves.

Fauna

In the Native Garden, see plants endemic to Florida like the firebush and cabbage palm. Sit in the gazebo and patiently wait to see a zebra heliconian butterfly with yellow and black stripes. Heading over to the center of the garden, the main pond contains some humongous koi and pleco, which are giant suckers that look similar to catfish. There’s even a little dispenser where you can put in a quarter and get some food to feed them. On the inner side of the pond there is some tropical milkweed, which has lovely red and yellow flowers that attract monarch butterflies. Lastly, don’t miss the Florida redbelly turtles sunbathing on the rocks in the small pond just on the other side of the pathway.

Free Events & Info

Get your Zen on at the garden with meditation sessions every Tuesday at 10am, as well as yoga on Wednesdays at 12:15pm and on Saturdays at 9am.

Kids can catch Art in the Park on the last Sunday of each month when they can draw and paint in the grass with an artist and preschool teacher. Be sure to check the calendar for one-time events such as movie screenings, chef tastings, and music. For example, the South Beach Chamber Ensemble will perform Tchaikovsky and Brahms on Feb. 21 at 6pm. For more information and park hours check out the website.

Holocaust Memorial

After you visit the garden, be sure to stop by the Holocaust Memorial just outside. But be prepared for an emotional experience as you walk through the stone walls engraved with photos, maps, stories, and poems about those who suffered in the concentration camps during WWII.  Admission is free, 24/7.

cover image @josephezzra