Skip to main content

Romantic Proposal Venue In Fort Lauderdale

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

Here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, romance is always in the air, especially in our vast tropical garden. Bonnet House offers a unique location in downtown Fort Lauderdale for couples to spend time together and enjoy the romantic atmosphere on our secluded garden trails. With our spectacular views, and gorgeous plants in bloom all year round, Bonnet House is the perfect place to propose in Fort Lauderdale.

While Bonnet House has been known throughout South Florida as a gorgeous location to host an outdoor wedding , our estate is also an excellent place to make a promise to your future bride.

Marriage proposals are important, and your engagement should be a special time for both you and your new fianc é . Before getting engaged, there is so much to consider about how you will make that big moment as special as possible. In addition to the engagement ring you choose, you also need to plan the location, your wardrobe, any photography, the way in which you’ll pop the question, and more!

But don’t stress Bonnet House has you covered. In addition to the beautiful outdoor location, Bonnet House will do what we can to accommodate your proposal on site in any location you choose. Whether you want to propose in our Courtyard, our Veranda, or on our Chickee Bridge, an events coordinator will be available to help guide you and any potential guests through your proposal.

If you hear wedding bells in your future, and you just can’t wait for the day you’ll share your vows and say “I do,” consider making your engagement official at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Contact David Wooden at 954-703-2608 or [email protected] to book your proposal.

Orchid Display House

A Complete Guide to Orchid Care

By Bonnet House Blog One Comment

At Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, we understand the importance of caring for one’s orchids, sharing South Florida’s history, and the unique natural environment that we call home. Even in a warm, sunny environment like South Florida, orchids can be a challenge to grow and specific techniques vary based on a multitude of factors. We’ll take some time in this blog to highlight some of the basics of orchid care. The first step to basic orchid care is  understanding what type of orchid you want to grow. Each orchid is unique and requires a different balance of sunlight, water and food in order to grow.

The first step is to consider the amount of sunlight your plant will require. Essentially, orchids need just enough sun so that they have somewhat yellow-green foliage and strong, vertical growths. If your orchid is exposed to too much sunlight, the foliage will appear dark green, and will not have the typical strong upright growths.

The roots of your orchid, as well the entire plant will not survive without sufficient exposure to moving air. For this reason, most orchids do not actually grow in soil, with the exception of a few terrestrial varieties. When potting your orchid, your pot should be open with good drainage, but it should still be capable of holding enough moisture to support the plant’s needs. Typically, orchids are intolerant of an environment with little to no airflow. When considering where to keep your orchid, you should ensure that your plant is exposed to gentle air movement at all times. If you are growing your orchid in an indoor environment, you can simply use an overhead fan on a low setting, or a portable oscillating fan that is directed away from the plant.

Watering is the most common issue faced by orchid owners. In order to properly water any plant, you must consider both quantity and frequency. Due to the specific nature of your growing environment and the type of orchid itself, there isn’t an exact answer to how much and how often you should water your orchid. However, the main rule of thumb is to give the plant some water just as it dries out. The most effective way to determine whether or not your orchid has begun to dry out is to insert your finger into the soil and determine the moisture content yourself. This will not cause harm to the plant, and will let you know whether or not it is time to give your orchid some water. When your orchid is ready to be watered, it will require copious amounts. Continue watering your plant until you start to notice water running freely from the drainage holes in the pot. This will not only soak the potting medium, but it will flush away salts that naturally accumulate. At a minimum, be sure to water your orchid at least once a month.

If you care for your orchid properly, it will be able to grow and flower for long periods without the use of fertilizer. However, feeding orchids fertilizer regularly does yield better results. Typically, orchids should be fertilized once a week in the summer and every two weeks during the fall and winter times. Regardless of what brand or type of fertilizer you select for your orchid, most experienced growers recommend that you use no more than one half of the label-recommended strength after you water your plant.

Here, at Bonnet House, we have an orchid curator and orchid care volunteers who maintain the two greenhouses and display house.  The Orchid Display House is part of the house tour.  Visitors can visit the estate and enjoy a self guided tour of the house and grounds, view the beautiful orchids grown throughout the estate and on display in the Shell Museum Complex.  Click here to purchase your tickets.

Intimate Summer Weddings Close/ Intimate Ceremony Dates Available

By Bonnet House Blog 2 Comments

As the COVID19 epidemic has spread throughout the world, countless planned events have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Unfortunately for many happy couples, this has also included wedding ceremonies, receptions, honeymoons, and much more. With travel restrictions and social distancing recommendations, getting family and friends together for a wedding can feel nearly impossible. Here at Bonnet House, we understand the importance of celebrating love and family, especially such during such challenging times. This is why we have made it a priority to create opportunities for couples to get married now in a safe environment that includes  options for live streaming to your loved ones. To ensure the safety of those involved, up to five people will be permitted during the ceremony, including the couple, officiant, photographer, and videographer.

Here is a list of our package details:
● Package 1 – Use of Bonnet House only – $500
● Package 2 – Use of Bonnet House & Video – $1,300
● Package 3 – Use of Bonnet House with Photography – $1,300
● Package 4 – Use of Bonnet House with Video & Photography – $2,100

To make sure that everything runs according to plan on your wedding day, Bonnet House will provide you with a Personal Bridal Assistant, and allow you to use the Bonnet House Estate for a one hour ceremony between 9am and 6pm. You can also use the property for bridal photography one hour before the ceremony. Free parking is available onsite as well. Please click here to view our preapproved vendor list for a list of officiants.

An intimate summer wedding on the beautiful Bonnet House estate will be sure to provide you and your loved ones with lasting memories. An intimate wedding keeps the focus of the ceremony on the couple and the love that is shared. By choosing our wedding options, you can share your beautiful ceremony and commitment with those you love most, while still maintaining the intimacy and serenity of a small wedding.

To view our availability, please click here. If you are interested in hosting your wedding ceremony at Bonnet House this summer, contact David Woodin at 9547032608 or [email protected] to book your event.

Family Summer Special: Get Outdoors With The Family

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

This summer, it has never been more important to get outside with the family and Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place to do just that! Located right in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens provides guests with the opportunity to escape the realities of everyday life and enjoy our 35-acre tropical paradise.

June 1st through September 5th, Bonnet House is proud to host our Family Summer Special! This special deal includes $20 admission for adults and is free for anyone 17 and under. Guests will not only be able to take a self-guided tour of our main house, but they can also enjoy searching for monkeys in the trees surrounding our vast gardens and view the aquatic wildlife on our lakes and ponds.

In addition to the historic significance of the estate, the Bonnet House grounds encompass one of the last examples in South Florida of a native barrier island habitat. While you visit, your family can learn about the five distinct ecosystems that can be found on the property. This includes the Atlantic Ocean beach and primary dune, a freshwater slough, the secondary dune which includes the house site, mangrove wetlands, and a maritime forest. To complement the natural vegetation, the grounds also contain a Desert Garden composed of arid plantings, a hibiscus garden, and more.

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is the perfect place to bring your family outdoors this summer. With free admission for the kids, you and the whole family can spend a beautiful day learning about the historical and ecological significance of South Florida without breaking the bank. We hope to see you and your family at Bonnet House this summer.

We are open Tuesday through Friday 11 am-3 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm, and tickets can be purchased at the Welcome Center.

Bonnet House Independence

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

It’s official! Bonnet House Museum & Gardens has taken title to the entire 35 acre estate. The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation has recently signed over the deed to the historic property, and this transfer of ownership will allow Bonnet House to continue directly managing the estate, as it has since 1990. This was the fortunate result of a property reorganization agreement that was entered in February.

In 2019, The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation made an attempt to manage the estate’s preservation, however outcry from our local Fort Lauderdale community halted those plans. Patrick Shavloske, Bonnet House’s CEO states: “The board, staff and volunteers are all relieved to see this chapter in the property’s history come to a final conclusion…We can now focus all our efforts on preserving the estate and developing programming that meets the community’s needs. We estimate that since January 1st, 2020, the reorganization has saved Bonnet House well over $100,000, and with the impact of COVID19, such savings are even more important.”

As of June 2nd, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is officially open to the public in its entirety for self guided tours. To abide by social distancing guidelines, they have set up a one way route for guests to walk throughout the Main House. They have even developed a mobile app that features recorded information about the BirchBartlett family, the unique art collection, and many interesting stops along the tour, including the Bridge/Boat House, studio, courtyard, butler’s pantry, kitchen, Shell Museum/Orchid House/Bamboo Bar and more.

Admission costs $20 for the house and grounds tours, $10 for the grounds only tour, and is free for our members. Daily visits will take place Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with early access for members and visitors with health vulnerabilities from 9:00 am. to 10:00 am.

There is so much to celebrate here at Bonnet House. Whether it’s the recent update in Bonnet House ownership, or our 100th Anniversary, we hope that you come visit us soon! Tickets can be purchased onsite at the Welcome Center, or you can purchase tickets ahead of time, here.

Bonnet House Reopens: Self Guided Tours Of House & Grounds

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

While it’s felt like a long couple of months, we are so excited to announce that Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is officially open to the public in its entirety for self guided tours! We couldn’t be more happy to begin getting things back to normal around our estate, while maintaining social distancing requirements and complying with additional CDC recommendations.

To ensure the health and safety of our guests, we made the decision to close the main house during the height of the pandemic. However, as of June 2nd, guests are welcome to tour the main house in addition to the beautiful gardens throughout the tropical estate. To keep our guests safe while they visit, we have marked a one way route through the museum that highlights all areas of the main house.

To enhance the experience of our self-guided tours, we encourage guests to use our new mobile app on their cellphones, which features recorded information about the BirchBartlett family, the unique art collection, and many interesting stops along the tour, including the Bridge/Boat House, studio, courtyard, butler’s pantry, kitchen, Shell Museum/Orchid House/Bamboo Bar and more.

“We are pleased to welcome guests back for self-guided house and grounds tours, offering an enjoyable way to experience the historic estate, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary,” said Patrick Shavloske, CEO of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. “What better way is there to emerge from the seclusion resulting from COVID19 than a visit to this magical property that has served as an outdoor paradise for 100 years?”

Admission costs $20 for the house and grounds tours, $10 for the grounds only tour, and is free for our members. Daily visits will occur Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with early access for members and visitors with health vulnerabilities from 9:00 am. to 10:00 am.

Guests will be required to maintain the social distance of six feet between visitors at all times, except for families that are currently residing in the same dwelling. Also, to comply with the CDC’s recommendations, guests must wear masks/face coverings at all times. Face coverings and refreshments will be available for purchase in the Welcome Center or Museum Shop.

We hope that you and your family will join us as we reopen our estate. Tickets can be purchased onsite at the Welcome Center, or you can purchase tickets ahead of time, here.

Bonnet House Reveals Truth About Florida’s Past

By Bonnet House Blog One Comment

Here at Bonnet House, one of the most important parts of our mission involves preserving our history and educating the public about South Florida’s unique and fascinating role in the discovery and colonization of North America. While there is quite a bit we already know about the early Spanish and European settlers,  there is still so much that is being learned and uncovered to this day. Bonnet House is proud to play a pivotal role in some of the more recent discoveries that have led experts to believe that the history of Florida we previously understood is not what it seems.

Most have been taught that Florida was discovered in 1513 by Ponce De Leon on his quest to find the famous Fountain of Youth. However, authors Todd Turrell and Brian Schmitt recently published a book titled “The Florida Keys – A History Through Maps,” presenting compelling evidence suggesting that European explorers arrived in Florida before Ponce De Leon. The authors presented two lines of evidence, consisting of three European made maps that predate Ponce de Leon’s landing, and a significant archaeological discovery uncovered right here at the Bonnet House estate.

The first and earliest of the maps was created by Juan de La Cosa in the year 1500 (thirteen years before Ponce de Leon is recorded to have discovered and named Florida) that depicts vast lands north of Cuba and is acknowledged as the earliest undisputed representation of the Americas. The second map, created in 1502 and called the ‘Cantino Planisphere,’ depicts in detail the peninsula of Florida eleven years prior to the 1513 landing of Ponce de Leon. The third, a 1511 Peter Martyr map, is the first printed map devoted to the New World depicting the lands north of the Bahamas and Cuba, and also demonstrates that Europeans had explored and mapped Florida before Ponce de Leon.

The archaeological evidence of the pre Ponce de Leon discovery of Florida was discovered in 1984 at our very own Bonnet House Estate by archaeologist and coauthor Robert Carr of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy. The conch shells unearthed on our estate were a mystery because rather than piercing the shell with a small hole at the crown in the manner used by the indigenous people and the Spanish, who were well acquainted with indigenous practices, they had been opened by breaking large holes into the shell wall. One shell had been pierced by a metal sword or knife, tools used by Europeans (see photo above of a conch shell with a non-Indian break).

“Radiocarbon dates of the shell indicated that the mollusk meal had been consumed in the fifteen century,” says Carr. “The evidence indicates they were opened by people who were not Spanish, but who likely arrived in South Florida from the north along the Atlantic coast or had sailed directly from Europe. This could be evidence of explorer and navigator John Cabot ‘s voyage of 1497 which reportedly sailed from Canada to as far south as the Florida Keys.”

Here at Bonnet House, we couldn’t be more proud to have played a role in this important discovery. We have these now famous conch shells on display in the Caretakers Cottage with an explanatory label and others can be viewed in the antique cabinet in our Studio. If you’re interested in viewing these conchs and experiencing all that our beautiful estate has to offer, you can purchase discounted admission tickets to use when we reopen with this link by using the coupon code “Covid19.”

To take a virtual tour of our grounds, including the shell midden, watch this video.

Beach Front/Ocean Front Wedding Venue In Fort Lauderdale

By Bonnet House Blog One Comment

Here at Bonnet House we love love! Wedding ceremonies and receptions are among our favorite events that are hosted here at the Bonnet House historic estate.  Our venue is perfect for couples interested in celebrating their love and commitment to each other in a warm, outdoor setting. Spanning 35 acres, Bonnet House offers a variety of exquisite settings, each uniquely beautiful in its own way. Whether you are planning a close, intimate gathering or a grand and lavish affair, Bonnet House sets the scene for romance and timeless memories. With its beautiful tropical and subtropical plants and its proximity to downtown Fort  Lauderdale, Bonnet House has become a favorite destination for couples across the world.

Often referred to as “Fort Lauderdale’s Best Kept Secret,” Bonnet House offers an incredibly unique environment to celebrate your big day. Not only do we have a beautiful historic estate, we also have the ability to host beach front ceremonies. Getting married on the beach is truly a memorable experience for both the happy couple and their guests. Our ocean front estate has everything you will need for your perfect private wedding location.

Our estate offers a variety of services and amenities to help our guests make the most of their special day. The use of photography is permitted two hours before the wedding ceremony begins. Brides also have the ability to use the private upstairs bridal suite, and will have access to a personal bridal assistant. Bonnet House will even provide a ceremony and front door hostess, as well as complimentary tram service for guests to be escorted from the free parking lot to the main house.

If you are interested in hosting a water front wedding that will create lasting memories for you and your guests, consider hosting your wedding ceremony and reception at Bonnet House’s beautiful historic estate. For more information about your wedding or  reception, contact David Woodin at [email protected] or call at (954) 703-2608.

You can also take a virtual tour of our various wedding locations with special appearances from Events Manager, David Wooden. Click on links below to enjoy virtual wedding tours of the estate.

Wedding Tour Intro

Tour of  the Allee/Ceremony Site

Tour of the Courtyard

Tour of the Veranda


Virtual and Vintage Tours of Bonnet House

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

With the truly unprecedented events unfolding around us involving the coronavirus, Bonnet House is proud to present you with a virtual—and vintage—visit to the museum.

For those who have visited Bonnet House, you will recall that there is a video shown in the Carl Weinhardt Gallery that provides a broad history of the property and a visit to the upstairs.  That video is actually part of a much longer production that takes viewers through the first floor and presents much more oral history by Evelyn Bartlett and Irene Hart.  It also contains extended clips from the Bartletts’ home movies.  Joanne Leathe is the volunteer tour guide, Mike Green is the narrator, and the man in brown with the walking stick is Frank Lloyd Wright.

During these trying times, we hope you enjoy this four part virtual and vintage tour of Bonnet House!  Click on Links Below to View Vintage Videos.

Part 1                  Part 2                  Part 3                        Part 4               ___________________________________________________________

Below are a few virtual visits and vintage videos.  Visit our Facebook page for the latest Bonnet House news.

Click here to view a vintage interview with Evelyn Bartlett.





Learn about the Boathouse.  Click here to to view the Video. 




Learn about the Top of Fort Lauderdale Beach.  Click here to view the video.






Learn about Hugh, our resident swan, and the Slough.  Click here to view the video.






House of Refuge

Learn about the House of Refuge and Barefoot Mailman.  Click here to view the video.




Learn about the Barrier Island.  Click here to view the video.




Learn about brackish water. Click here to view the latest video.

View this slideshow of the construction of Bonnet House in the 1920s.

Bonnet House Construction

For additional content and updates be sure to visit our Facebook page.

Live Classical Music In Fort Lauderdale: Outdoor Concert At Bonnet House

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

In order to kick off 2020 and our 100th anniversary, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens has been hosting its annual event series, Concerts Under The Stars. This concert series has always been extremely popular, as we offer an incredibly unique opportunity to enjoy live classical music in an outdoor setting on our beautiful historic estate. These events continue through March featuring Lynn University’s String Quartet performing a broad and diverse range of repertoire that mixes contemporary music with the traditional.

Classical music has been an important part of Fort Lauderdale’s community. Evelyn and Frederic Bartlett would have surely enjoyed listening to classical music frequently when they lived in the estate. While it is not difficult to find live classical music in Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House is offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy an outdoor concert at our historic estate.

Lynn University’s String Quartet is a very popular local group, performing on March 12th at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens as part of our Concerts Under The Stars series. Guests can enjoy sipping craft cocktails, including old fashions, and wine on the veranda while they listen to lovely music. A wide selection of cheese will also be available to anyone who might be hungry.

On the evening of the event, our parking lot will open at 6:00pm, and the doors will open at 6:30pm. Signature cocktails, as well as wine and cheese services will then be available from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. The concert will follow from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. There are three seating options available to our guests. General seating (rows 18-32) is available for $45.00 for non-members and $40 for members. We are also offering Premium seating (rows 9-17) for $55 for nonmembers and $50 for members. VIP seating will also be available (rows 1-8) for $85 for nonmembers and $80 for members. Tickets are available at the door, but they will be sold with a $5 additional charge.

We hope that you join us for our Concerts Under The Stars series. We are confident that this experience will delight guests of all ages and backgrounds. If you are interested in attending this event, or learning more, click here!