When you think of Sarasota, the Ringling Museum of Art or the iconic Unconditional Surrender statue might be things that first come to mind. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle lives a floral oasis that will whisk you away from the city. If you have a love for all things floral and green, you might want to check out the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
What was once the modest 2-story Spanish-style home of William and Marie Selby in the 1920s is now a floral oasis you need to see. After opening to the public in 1975, it now houses over 20,000 greenhouse plants across their 8 greenhouses and Tropical Conservatory, plus thousands more in the outdoor gardens.
Selby's website boasts that they're the only public greenhouse where you can see rare and unusual flora year-round - specializing in epiphytes, more commonly known as air plants.
A few of the air plants you might recognize are the gorgeous hues of orchids and bromeliads, but you'll also find gesneriads, ferns, and other tropical plants everywhere you look.
Wind the outdoor garden pathways, climb among the trees on their boardwalk paths, or enjoy any of their 8 greenhouses full to the brim with plant life. They often will have limited time exhibits, using flowers, shrubs, and other varieties of plant and decor to create absolutely magical installments. The recent Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise exhibit was very popular during its time at the gardens.
Admission to these gardens gets you in all day and includes all outdoor gardens, the Tropical Conservatory, Museum of Botany and the Arts, and the Garden Shop. Explore the entirety of Selby or just check out a couple of things;
If you want to explore more of Sarasota, their Jungle Gardens (where you can feed the flamingos) are a tropical oasis worth checking out, and the treetop trails, sky-high views, and wildflower fields of Myakka River State Park are some of the most unmatched in the Sunshine State - true nature-filled gems of the area.
No matter what you decide to do at the Marie Selby Gardens, you'll be blessed with memories of gorgeous views - and all the pictures too.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Price: $20/adult; $10 for guests of members, free for members.
Address: 900 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
Hours: 10am-5pm, 7 days a week. Closed on Christmas Day.
Why you should go: A beautiful botanical garden full of lush floral and plant life - they do limited-time exhibits every now and again, offering unique artistic displays that are swoon-worthy.