Top Garden Attractions In South Florida

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Here at Bonnet House, we feel fortunate to be located in warm and sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Not only does our city have a rich cultural history, our climate and location make it the perfect place to view and enjoy the natural plants on our barrier island habitat. Bonnet House offers guests the opportunity to view our gorgeous garden area, however there are so many other beautiful and historic gardens to explore in South Florida. We’ve taken some time to compile a list of the best Fort Lauderdale gardens you won’t want to miss on your next trip to South Florida.

Fort Lauderdale has a variety of public gardens that show off the astonishing variety of plants that have impressed generations of visitors. One of the most popular gardens in Fort Lauderdale is Flamingo Gardens , home of Florida’s largest collection of Florida’s native wildlife, including over 3000 species of plants and trees. Established in 1927, Flamingo Gardens is one of the oldest botanical gardens and attractions in South Florida and continuously aims to preserve the ecology and history of the Florida Everglades.

Butterfly World is also located in Fort Lauderdale and was the first butterfly house ever built in the United States. Butterfly World encompasses three acres of butterfly aviaries, two aviaries for tropical birds, botanical gardens and even a working butterfly farm and research center. Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is also a popular destination in Fort Lauderdale. Visitors are often surprised to learn about the unique connection between Japan and South Florida. The original building is modeled after a Japanese villa and features a ring of exhibition rooms surrounding an open-air courtyard with a dry garden of gravel, pebbles and small boulders. Their gardens span sixteen acres and include strolling paths, a world-class bonsai collection and lakes teeming with koi and other wildlife.

If you’re looking for gardens closer to the Miami area, there are plenty of options to choose from. One of the most beautiful Miami gardens is the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden located in Coral Gables, Florida. This expansive 83-acre site never leaves guests disappointed with multiple educational buildings and large gardens that everyone is sure to enjoy. Also located in Miami is the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. This gorgeous home was completed in 1910 as James Deering’s winter home. Visit this enduring, inclusive, and innovative estate to experience what inspires people to embrace the cultural vitality and environmental sustainability of the world around us. Also, the Deering Estate is a beautiful cultural asset in the Miami area and is a historic site listed on the National Register of Historic places. As a 21st Century museum destination for tourists and local residents, a variety of signature events, programs, tours and classes are offered here throughout the year.

Bonnet House Celebrates 100 Years In 2020

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Over 100 years ago when South Florida was barely more than a small town, Frederic and Helen Bartlett were gifted the Bonnet House site as a wedding present. Soon after in 1920, the family began construction on the gorgeous Bonnet House estate as their winter retreat where they could each pursue their own artistic passions. After the unfortunate death of Frederic’s wife, Helen, visits to the winter get-a-way became infrequent and sporadic. If it had not been for Frederic’s marriage to Evelyn Fortune Lily in 1931, Bonnet House would not have become the beautiful museum and gardens we know today.

Over the years, Evelyn embellished Bonnet House with the eye-catching decorative elements that delight visitors to this day. Even after Frederic’s death in 1953, Evelyn continued to return to the estate, and maintain its beauty. In 1983, Evelyn gave Bonnet House to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, ensuring that the site would be preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

Now, as Bonnet House approaches its 100th birthday, we are reflecting on the legacy of Bonnet House and the Bartlett family in the Fort Lauderdale community. Since Bonnet House’s nonprofit status was established in 1992, our team has done our very best to preserve this important legacy. Since day one, it has been our mission to share the Bartlett’s love of art and nature through public tours, youth and adult education programs, and cultural events that foster community participation.

Our team at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens honors this legacy through the decades spent preserving and showcasing the Bartletts unique collection of art and personal treasures, while also highlighting the importance of the natural barrier-island ecosystem in Fort Lauderdale. Over the years, we have also been working to teach adults and youths about the fascinating history of South Florida and it’s original settlers through educational tours and programs. But our efforts do not stop there.

In just the last year alone, Bonnet House has hosted many wonderful events and has opened its doors to thousands of guests. From our dazzling Holiday Magic celebration to our successful Orchid Festival, 2019 has gotten off to a phenomenal start. But none of this would have been possible without all of our supporters. Bonnet House is incredibly fortunate to have some of the most outstanding board members, donors, volunteers, and staff. We are forever grateful for their dedication and unwavering commitment to the Bonnet House estate.

With the 100th anniversary of Bonnet House quickly approaching, we are asking for at least 100 friends to donate $100 to help kick-off 100 years! Donate $100 today with this link , or mail in a check to be one of the first to receive a commemorative 100th Anniversary t-shirt, lapel pin and Swarovski crystal pen. Your entire gift is 100% tax deductible, too!

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens Announces its 100th Anniversary Workshop & Class Schedule

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Workshops & Classes

The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens’ 100th Anniversary season is highlighted with a variety of exciting events, programs, workshops, tours and classes. This season is filled with art, music, holiday cheer, watercolor, calligraphy and drawing workshops; birding, orchid care classes as well as our annual Concerts Under the Stars series, Orchid Festival, VIP Upstairs-Downstairs Guided Tours and our 100th Anniversary Celebration. Holiday Magic at Bonnet House returns, a six-day event with evening tours and live performances beginning December 6th. Become a member for only $65 and receive significant discounts on classes, workshops and special events as well as free admission to Bonnet House year-round. 

The season schedule is as follows:
Birding Classes,
Individual Classes, Sunday, November 3, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. (The World of Birding-A Lifelong Pleasure Pursuit), Sunday, December 1, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. (Ascend to Better Birding I), Sunday, January 5, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. (Ascend to Better Birding II), Sunday, February 2, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.  (Common Birds of South Florida-Backyard & Waterways), Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m.- 5 p.m. (Birding by Habitat-Finding the Birds you Seek). Join birder extraordinaire, Paddy Cunningham on the historic Bonnet House estate. To register, visit www.bonnethouse.org or call 954-703-2606. Cost: Bonnet House Members $20, non-members $25.

Holiday Magic Holiday Arrangement Class: Thursday, December 12, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Learn how to create your own holiday arrangement with Victoria Park Flowers. Class is limited to 30 and is $20 per person. Fee includes self-guided tour of the house from 5:30-7pm. RSVP Required. Register online only at www.bonnethouse.org.

Calligraphy Workshop, (2) five-week sessions-Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Beginners Workshop: January 7 – February 4, Intermediate: February 11 – March 10. Join artist Tony Pastucci on the historic Bonnet House estate.  Workshop includes basic and intermediate principles of calligraphy.  To register, visit www.bonnethouse.org or call 954-703-2606. Cost: Bonnet House Members $100, non-members $125.

Watercolor Workshop, (2) six-week sessions-Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.; January 8 – February 12 or February 26 – April 1. Join fine artist and watercolorist Karen Eskesen in the historic Bonnet House courtyard. Workshop includes traditional techniques of realism in watercolor and line drawing and time to paint in the covered courtyard and gardens. To register, visit www.bonnethouse.org or call 954-703-2606. Cost: Bonnet House members $140, non-members $160.

Acrylic Painting Workshop, (2) six-week sessions-Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.; January 9 – February 13 or February 27 – April 2. Classes take place in the historic Bonnet House courtyard. Workshop includes basic principles of acrylic painting and time to paint in the covered courtyard and gardens. To register visit www.bonnethouse.org or call 954-703-2606. Cost: Bonnet House Members $140, non-members $160.

Two-day Orchid Painting Watercolor Workshop – Friday & Saturday, February 28 & 29, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30p.m.; To register, visit www.bonnethouse.org or call 954-703-2606. Cost for two-day session – Members $180, Non-members $200.

Basket Weaving, (2) 1-day workshops. Wednesday, January 29 and Saturday, March 7, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Florida Natural Basket – Create an artistic basket from natural materials found locally. The day will include an intro to basketry video and a walk on the property to identify the materials used. This class is an intro to local natural materials for all level weavers. To register, visit www.bonnethouse.org or call 954-703-2606. Cost: Bonnet House Members $105, Non-members $120.

Orchid Care Classes, Individual classes-Saturday, January 25: Orchid Basics 9:30am – 11:30am; Orchid Repotting & Mounting 1:00pm – 3:00pm. Classes take place in the historic Bonnet House Island Theater.  To register, visit www.bonnethouse.org or call 954-703-2606. Cost: Bonnet House Members $30, Non-members $35.

Explore The Natural Beauty of Fort Lauderdale

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As residents of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we are incredibly proud of our community, and its rich cultural history. We’d like to take some time to highlight some other Fort Lauderdale attractions that you can enjoy with the whole family!

Bonnet House – is situated on a coastal barrier island. Much of the natural environment of barrier islands has been lost today to commercial development. A walk along the Nature Trail allows you to step back in time and experience a rare piece of old South Florida.

In addition to being open for public tours, Bonnet House hosts an annual week-long sparkling Holiday Magic festival of trees and décor, an annual series of outdoor music concerts, an annual orchid festival and offers adult educational programs in art, ornithology, orchid cultivation, and lectures as well as educational programs for Broward County schools and homeschool groups.

NSU Art Museum – located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, The NSU Art Museum is home to diverse and innovative collections of art from around the world. Founded in 1958, NSU Art Museum aims to provide opportunities for individuals to access, learn from and be inspired by exceptional art from across the globe, and from different time periods. They have used their vast space (83,000 square feet, to be exact) to house over 6,000 works of art. They boast a wide array of collections that feature artists ranging from the American realist, William Glackens, to post-WWII, avant-garde artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.

If you are passionate about art and culture, be sure to stop by one of Fort Lauderdale’s favorite spots!

Stranahan House & Museum – Stranahan House was constructed in 1901 by Frank Stranahan and his wife, Ivy Cromartie Stranahan, Ft. Lauderdale’s Founding Father and first school teacher, respectively. It is the oldest surviving structure in Broward County and has served multiple purposes in the county’s history. The Stranahan House & Museum is committed to
telling the fascinating story of the birth of our community through the Stranahan’s lives and the beautiful home they created.

Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the rich history of Fort Lauderdale through this gorgeous wood-frame vernacular structure, with wide porches and a stunning view of the New River!

Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum – This museum was established with the goal of preserving the history of the Packard Motor Co., and to demonstrate the progress of American engineering. With 22 Packard motor cars in working condition, The Ft. Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is proud to show some of the finest cars ever made. The 18,000 square foot building also contains thousands of pieces of memorabilia, and a separate gallery dedicated to the life of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and so much more.

See some of the finest automobiles in the world first hand at the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. You won’t be disappointed!

Flamingo Gardens – Flamingo Gardens is home to one of the last natural jungle growths in South Florida, with over 3,000 tropical and subtropical plant species, including the largest tree in the state of Florida. Their Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to over 90 native species,
making it the largest collection of Florida Native wildlife in the state! The Flamingo Garden’s mission is to depict, preserve, and provide education about the natural and cultural heritage of South Florida and the Everglades.

These beautiful gardens, wildlife sanctuary, and historic Wray Home Museum have been delighting visitors of all ages for 90 years. Don’t miss this fun and educational South Florida attraction!

Fort Lauderdale Historical Society – The Fort Lauderdale Historical society is dedicated to preserving and sharing material from Ft. Lauderdale’s past so that present and future generations can stay connected to and inspired by their predecessors, and plant their own roots in our community. The Historical Society includes a 1907 house museum and three other 1905
historic structures, as well as a museum of changing and permanent exhibitions. They also offer docent-lead and self-guided tours 7 days/week.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore the fascinating history of South Florida at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society on your next visit!

We hope that you’ll consider some of these exceptional attractions in addition to Bonnet House Museum & Gardens on your next visit! We are incredibly proud of our community and all that it has to offer. Happy exploring!

Bonnet House Hosts Evening Tours & Holiday Entertainment

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The week of November 30th – December 7th will surely be an exciting one for Bonnet House! Each day of the week will bring holiday cheer with fun evening events that the whole family can enjoy. Beginning on November 30th with our Holiday Magic Soiree and VIP Reception, the week of Holiday Magic will consist of special evening tours of Bonnet House, live music, visits from Santa and his elves, and much more. We will also have a team of designers decorating trees, wreaths, and centerpieces that will adorn our Museum and be available for purchase throughout the week.

On Friday, November 30th, Holiday Magic will kick off with our Holiday Soiree and exclusive VIP Reception. Enjoy live music, plenty of food and beverages, as well as the first opportunity to purchase any of the holiday displays that catch your eye! Tickets are available, here , or in-person at Bonnet House.

Our evening tours will begin on Saturday, December 1st, and will last through Friday, December 7th. Join us for these special after-hours tours, and experience the beauty that Bonnet House has to offer during the holiday season. Each evening will include something exciting for adults and children alike, from Santa and his elves, to strolling carolers, to specialty lighted grounds, to Christmas storytelling, and much more. Throughout the week of Holiday Magic, guests can also enjoy live performances by South Florida Pride Jazz Band , Broward Center Spotlights, The Singing Sons , First Presbyterian Children’s Choir, Steel Away, Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida , and The Yuletide Carolers.

Tickets to our after-hours tours will be $15 for members, and $20 for non-members, $5 for kids 6-12, and free for children under 6. You can purchase tickets here , or in person at Bonnet House.

These fabulous events would not be possible with our generous sponsors. Thank you to all who have come together to make this year’s Holiday Magic a success! Our 2018 Holiday Magic sponsors include: JKV Catering , Christmas Central , Victoria Park Flowers , The Media Lab, Inc.Kelly’s Landing Seafood Restaurant , Platinum Tents , Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino , William B. O’leary, Dianna & Ralph Rau, Joe & Nora Dyke, Barbara R. Castell, Barbara Davis, Dr. & Mrs. Ernest Costantino, Rudi And Louise Dill, Ted And Kathy Drum, R.S. Ingham, Jeanne Lalli, Judith H. Maus, Allan Rexinger And John Davis, Alice W. Smith, Sondra St. Martin, Richard Sargeant And Peter Genovese, M.D., Elisabeth Bartlett Sturges, Tom Woodham And Wilson Ellis, Mowry Spencer & John Newton, The Quail Family, Paula and Joseph Dziminski, George & Barbara Petrello.

This fundraiser is dedicated to the preservation of Bonnet House for generations to come. We hope you and your friends and family will choose to visit Bonnet House during this special time!

Don’t Miss Our Exclusive Holiday Magic Soiree & VIP Reception

By Bonnet House Blog One Comment

Now that November has arrived, Holiday Magic is right around the corner! Our second annual fundraising event will kick off on November 30th with a fully catered Soiree and exclusive VIP reception, followed by a week of festivities that will be fun for the whole family.

Although there will be fun holiday celebrations throughout the week, you won’t want to miss our opening night Soiree and VIP Reception. Join us on Friday, November 30th for the opportunity to see Bonnet House sparkle like never before, while enjoying festive holiday music, as well as plenty of food and drinks. For the last few months, Bonnet House has been recruiting designers to create beautiful holiday decorations that will adorn our estate. Guests will be given the first opportunity to purchase any piece that catches their eye. This year, we are offering tickets to our Holiday Soiree (6:30pm – 9:30pm) for $60 per person, and our VIP Reception (5:30pm – 9:30pm) for $100 per person (includes admission to the Holiday Soiree as well).

Attending our exclusive VIP reception is an experience like no other. The evening begins at 5:30pm where you will be invited to enjoy Veuve Clicquot Champagne, full alcohol and seafood bars, and live music by JaredViolin.

The Holiday Soiree begins after the VIP Reception at 6:30pm on our beautiful veranda. As you arrive, you will be kindly greeted with a White Cosmo, followed by a fully catered affair presented by JKV Catering , as well as a full bar. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy a live performance by Meg Segreto’s Dance Centre Rockettes. You can experience all this and so much more while viewing the dozens of dazzling holiday displays that will be on display at Bonnet House throughout the week.

Last year was a tremendous success, with a sell-out crowd of 400 in attendance! Tickets for both of these events are on sale now. We will only be selling 100 tickets to the VIP Reception on a first-come-first-serve basis, so be sure to buy your tickets to this fantastic event soon! We can’t wait to see you there!

The Little Gift Shop is New & Improved!

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Over the last 12 months, Bonnet House has undergone many changes and renovations that will be sure to help preserve Bonnet House for generations to come. One renovation we are incredibly proud to showcase is our new and improved Little Gift Shop. Over the years, our Museum Shop has delighted our guests with tasteful jewelry, artistic house decor, and much more. However, the space was aging and limited, and finding good lighting was a consistent challenge.

Fortunately, through the generosity of countless volunteers and supporters, we were able to turn what was initially one small project, into several improvements that we can be proud of for years to come. After our wonderful neighbors at Corinthian Condominiums donated a substantial amount of money to Bonnet House, we were able to install a new roof on our Museum Shop, as well as new tile flooring, and a much-needed interior paint job. But the improvements didn’t end there! Soon after this was completed, Dane Jensen and Barbara Davis were generous enough to cover the cost of new lighting for the shop, which now allows us to showcase our unique inventory as it was meant to be.

But the improvements still didn’t stop. Prior to the initial renovations, Bonnet House began serving ice cream to our guests. One volunteer, John Lucas was instrumental in securing Fruitique Ice Cream, which has since become a huge seller. The success Bonnet House experienced selling ice cream then lead us to begin serving a light breakfast and lunch as well. To make this idea come to life, many generous volunteers and donors helped us update our kitchen, create a service window outside the Museum Shop from which to serve our guests, and a brand-new, gorgeous brick patio with tables, chairs, and umbrellas for our guests to escape the heat.

There will be many new happenings that will be associated with this new, expanded area of the Museum Shop which will be announced before too long. Be sure to stop by Bonnet House Museum & Gardens to see our improved Museum Shop and patio area! We can’t wait to see you there!

Holiday Magic Is Just Around The Corner

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Holiday Magic is coming to Fort Lauderdale once again! As some may already be aware, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens will be hosting our 2nd annual fundraising event beginning on November 30th, and lasting through December 7th. We will have a team of designers to decorate trees, wreaths and centerpieces that will adorn our Museum and be available for purchase throughout the week.

The festivities will begin on November 30th with a classy, Holiday Soiree on the veranda. Tickets for the Soiree will be $60 each and are on sale now. Last year, this event was a huge success with a sellout crowd of 400 people. Be sure to buy your tickets early so you don’t miss this fabulous event!

This year, we have also included an extraordinary VIP reception that will start one hour before the Soiree in our private Citrus Courtyard. Embrace the elegance of Bonnet House during the holiday season at this gorgeous VIP pre-party. We will only be selling 100 tickets at $100 each on a first come first serve basis to this exclusive event. Tickets are on sale now, so don’t miss out!

Throughout the week of Holiday Magic, Bonnet House will be open for self-guided tours in the evening. Each evening will include something exciting for adults and children alike, from Santa and his elves, to strolling carolers, to specially lighted grounds, to Christmas storytelling, and much more. Tickets will be $15 for members, and $20 for non-members, $5 for kids 6-12, and free for children under 6.

This fundraiser is dedicated to the preservation of Bonnet House for generations to come. We hope you and your friends and family will choose to visit Bonnet House during this special time.
To buy tickets, click here!

September Birding Classes at Bonnet House

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This September, Bonnet House is excited to announce two new birding classes! We’ll be offering ‘Ascend To Better Birding I’ on September 9th, and ‘Ascend To Better Birding II,’ on September 23rd, both of which will cover everything you’ll need to know to become an expert Bird Watcher.

Ascend To Better Birding I will cover the essentials of birding. This includes binocular best practices, a bird checklist and field guide with field marks, glossary, and family organization. You’ll even get to learn how to use some of the latest birding apps, like e-bird, Audubon, and Merlin to make identification easier using your smartphone.

You’ll also have the opportunity to learn the benefits of becoming a bird watcher, great local birding hotspots, and wonderful birding opportunities locally, in Florida and tropical adventures abroad. The workshop will include an informative presentation with numerous handouts, and an enjoyable bird walk through our gardens.

Ascend To Better Birding II will take the information from the first class to the next level. You will go over a 10 step approach to increase your ability to identify birds. This information will include helpful information regarding family groups, behavior, silhouette, habitat, field marks, commonality, seasonality, birding by ear, plumage, as well as the uses of checklists and apps.

One of the most important things you’ll learn in these classes is that a good bird watcher is always prepared! Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, and a field guide (if possible, field guides can be provided upon request).

You won’t want to miss out on these fun and informative events that will be sure to enhance your birding eye. If you’d like to register, the costs are $20 for members, and $25 for non-members. If you’d like to register for Ascend to Better Birding I, click here . If you’d like to register for Ascend to Better Birding II, click here .

Seeking Sponsors And Designers for Holiday Magic Event!

By Bonnet House Blog No Comments

The summer heat may be at its peak, but we are already gearing up for Fort Lauderdale’s Holiday Magic 2018! Preparing for this event means that things are getting busy here at Bonnet House with preparations for our second annual Holiday Magic fundraising event!

Holiday Magic is a major fundraiser dedicated to the preservation of Bonnet House. It all kicks off with a team of designers that will decorate Bonnet House trees, wreaths, and centerpieces that will be available for purchase throughout the week. On November 30th, we’ll kick off the festivities with a classy, Holiday Soiree on the veranda. Then, from December 1-7th, Bonnet House will be open for self-guided tours at night with an exciting surprise each night, from Santa and his elves, to Christmas storytelling, to strolling carolers, and much more!

In order to make this fundraiser a success, we are looking for designers and/or decorators to decorate the Bonnet House trees, wreaths, and centerpieces that will be on sale throughout the event. Designers and decorators will also be able to choose their own unique theme, and color scheme to go along with their piece. 100% of the proceeds from this event will go to the preservation of Bonnet House, so we are asking designers and decorators to donate their time, talent, decoration, etc.

Bonnet House will provide high-quality trees at no cost to the designers or decorators. Designers and decorators can choose between decorating a wreath, centerpiece, or tree. All trees will be pre-lit, and stands will be provided as well.

If you’d like to sign up to design a wreath, centerpiece, or tree, the deadline is November 9th, 2018. You can also sign up to be a sponsor of the event. For more information, an entry form and general guidelines can be obtained by clicking here or emailing Dora Worley Livesay, Director of Development at [email protected]

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