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Connect With Nature At Bonnet House

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If you’ve ever visited Bonnet House, you know that our estate consists of much more than just a single, large home. In fact, the Bonnet House estate contains vast gardens and a multitude of fascinating wildlife for guests to enjoy. Interestingly enough, the grounds of Bonnet House exists on one of the few remaining examples of a natural barrier island ecosystem in South Florida. In order to preserve and showcase this unique ecosystem, we include many opportunities for guests to connect with nature, and experience the tranquility that comes with appreciating the outdoors.

This coming January, Bonnet House is excited to announce that Don Oprea will be hosting a ‘Forest Bathing’ class in the Bonnet House Hammock. This relaxing class will give guests the opportunity to slow down and tune out the stress of everyday life by connecting with nature. This course will take place on January 10th, 2021 from 10:00am – 12:00pm. The class is $20 for Bonnet House Members and $25 for non-members. To register, click here, or call 954-703-2606.

Bonnet House also offers a variety of artistic workshops that teach you how to create your own stunning landscape scenes inspired by the Bonnet House gardens. Starting in January, Bonnet House will be hosting our popular Watercolor and Acrylic workshops. Each workshop includes six weekly sessions that will cover the basic principles of whichever technique you choose. Each workshop will also include time to paint outside in our covered courtyards and gardens. To learn more, and register for a workshop, visit our events calendar .

If you are someone who finds your peace at work in the garden, our annual orchid care classes may be the right fit for you. Starting in January, Bonnet House will host classes that will teach you the basics of orchid care, repotting and pest control. You can purchase tickets and learn
more about these classes by visiting our events calendar .

It is important to note that you don’t have to attend a special class, or specific workshop to enjoy the gardens and wildlife here at Bonnet House. Guests are more than welcome to take a guided or self-guided tour of the estate and grounds as they visit. Taking a walk in our gardens is an activity that can either be fun for the whole family or enjoyed peacefully by yourself.

There is so much to learn and discover here at Bonnet House, whether it’s inside our main house, or outside in our gardens. We hope that you and your family take the time to explore and find peace in nature. Learn more, and plan your visit to Bonnet House, here.

Historic Fort Lauderdale Tour: Bonnet House Upstairs/Downstairs Tour

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While South Florida has become popular in recent decades for its thriving nightlife and entertainment scene, beautiful beaches, and unique wildlife, the South Florida community also contains tremendous historic significance that’s just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Here in Fort Lauderdale, for example, there are many historic tours throughout the city, including right here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. In fact, Bonnet House is currently offering guided Upstairs/Downstairs tours, as well as other group and specialty tours throughout the estate.

On the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from January through April, Bonnet House will be hosting guided Upstairs/Downstairs tours from 2pm-4pm. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a VIP tour of the main house that includes a sneak peek inside areas that are typically closed, including Evelyn and Frederic Bartlett’s private living quarters. These tours are led in groups of ten by our seasoned docents and will be offered for $35 per person. Limited reservations are available, and pre-registration is required.

On the second Tuesday of each month from January through April, Bonnet House will also offer guided tours of our Orchid Greenhouse from 11am-12pm. Guests on these group tours will have the chance to participate in a VIP experience of the Orchid Greenhouses and Orchid Display House. This tour will also feature areas that are closed to the general public. These tours are offered for $20 per person, and are led in groups of 15 to allow for questions and discussion. Limited reservations are available, and pre registration is required.

Bonnet House also offers guided group tours of the Main House and gardens throughout the entire year. Tours of the Main House and specialized tours of the grounds are available to groups of 15 or more Tuesday-Sunday throughout the year. Guests will have the opportunity to tour the historic home and learn about the significance of the Birch/Bartlett family, and discover the charm and whimsy of this beautiful beachfront estate. Tours are also available to experience our expansive gardens and nature trail. On these tours, docents will describe the various species of native and landscaped plants, and highlight the many ecosystems featured in this 35-acre coastal wilderness.

We hope that you will join us at Bonnet House for one of our many group tour opportunities. The South Florida community has a fascinating history, and we could not be more proud to share the legacy of the Bartlett’s with our guests. To learn more, or book your tour, click here , or call (954) 703-2606 to reserve your space.


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Facebook Fundraising

You can also support Bonnet House by setting up a personal fundraising page on Facebook. With so many people using Facebook, the fundraiser page is a great way to spread the word about Bonnet House to those who may not be familiar with Bonnet House. This new Facebook feature is easy to set up and use.

How to set it up

Note: You will need to have a Facebook account and will need to log in before you get started.

From the Facebook app or desktop site, select Create a Fundraiser and fill out the appropriate information in the on-screen form. If you’re using the desktop site, you can find the Create a Fundraiser link on the left side margin near the bottom of the page. If you’re using the Facebook app, tap the More icon on the bottom right, and then tap See More, which is located in the section that contains Friends, Events, and Groups—fundraising will be among the options you can choose.

Here’s the information you’ll be asked to include on your fundraiser page (refer to the image for a visual aid):

Baobab Tree

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On a garden tour, I stopped the tram near the Baobab tree to explain that in Africa it is known as the “Tree of Life.” My littlest passenger knew the tree from The Lion King. She hopped off the tram and ran to it. Ignoring her parents’ pleas to come back, she faced the Baobab and began to sing in a high pitched voice the “Circle of Life” from that production.

“From the day we arrive on the planet. And blinking, step into the sun, there’s more to see than can ever be seen. More to do than can ever be done.”

In 1996, Evelyn Bartlett ceremoniously planted our little tree in the desert garden. At twenty feet high with a slender trunk, it does not project the Baobab legacy of longevity and size: some trees have been estimated to be up to 4000 years old with girths up to 150 feet. With age, though still alive, the trunk cracks open, exposing a hollow center that can be used for storage and homes for creatures great and small.

“There’s far too much to take in here. More to find than can ever be found. 

But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky keeps great and small on the endless round. It’s the Circle of Life.”

Universally, there are nine species of Baobab with Madagascar Island home to six. They are found from eastern Africa through Saudi Arabia to India with another species in north-west Australia. Recently, die-offs have been attributed to the Baobab’s lifespan combined with excessive drought and increasing habitat changes.

“And it moves us all through despair and hope. Through faith and love till we find our place on the path unwinding. In the Circle, the Circle of Life.”

The Baobab thrives in arid areas, savannahs, and ocean-side deserts. Sparse rains, stored in its expansive trunk, makes its wood pulpy and moist. When confronted with drought, elephants will tear the trees apart to get to the watery pulp. In the barren deserts, the football size fruit is also a rich source of vitamin C. Interestingly, the ancient trade routes from Africa to India were rediscovered because the traders ate the fruit, spat out the seeds and now mature Baobabs line that trail. 

“And it moves us all through despair and hope,

Through faith and love till we find our place.” 

In Africa, the Baobab tree is considered a sacred tree. Rather than bury family members in arid ground, where night creatures easily dig them up, individuals are placed inside the tree where the interior cocoons their loved one. The Baobab tree truly gives shade, food, and comfort for those that live in its grace.

“On the path unwinding in the Circle. The Circle of Life.”

This article is dedicated to our Bonnet House friends and volunteers 

that have completed their Circle of Life.

Songwriters: Elton John / Tim Rice

Circle of Life lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

Exciting Events This Summer At Bonnet House

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This summer at Bonnet House is packed full of fun and exciting events! Regardless of your age or interests, Bonnet House will be offering something you and your whole family will be sure to enjoy. Throughout the summer, Bonnet House will be offering a series of Orchid Classes, monthly Cool Saturday’s, as well as special events to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and The 4th of July. If you’re interested in Orchid Care, or gardening in general, be sure to attend our popular Orchid Care classes.

This August, Bonnet House will be hosting a series of three classes designed to help you make the most of your orchid growing experience. The first class will cover the basics of orchid care, and will introduce students to the various types of orchids, locations for growing, and more basic cultivation and watering techniques. The second class focuses on repotting and mounting orchids, with an emphasis on specific techniques and the use of different materials for mounting. The final class will go into detail about diagnosing pests and diseases. For more information about our Orchid Care classes or to register, click here.

On the first Saturday of every month, July through October 2019, Bonnet House will be hosting Cool Saturdays to give visitors the chance to view our beautiful estate at half price. Museum guests will be able to explore the whimsical house, our shell museum, and our nature trails throughout the gardens. The admission is only $10 for adults and free for children under 12 on July 6th, August 3rd, September 7th, and October 5th. We hope to see you there!

On the 4th of July, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Bonnet House will be offering discounted admission rates to celebrate the holidays. Admission on these dates will be $10 for adults, and children under twelve are free. Guests will be able to celebrate these holidays by learning about the importance of the estate to not only the South Florida community, but to the rest of the country. Visitors can also enjoy the holidays outdoors by visiting our lush gardens, and seeing some of Florida’s native plants and animals.

We hope you’ll come explore Bonnet House Museum & Gardens this summer. Whether you are a first time guest, or regular visitor, there is something new and exciting to be found at Bonnet House on every trip. For more information about visiting Bonnet House this summer, click here.

Historic Homes In The Broward County / Fort Lauderdale Area

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When Florida East Coast Railway was completed in the late 1800s, the Fort Lauderdale area experienced its first major land boom, and since then has grown into the large metropolitan city and popular tourist destination that we all know today. By the early half of the 20th century, many wealthy individuals and families moved to the area and built grand estates to accommodate their luxurious lifestyles. Bonnet House Museum & Gardens was one of these large estates located in the center of Fort Lauderdale, however there are many other historic estates in the Broward County community as well. Click here to learn more about Bonnet House history.

One such home is the Historic Needham Estate , located in downtown Fort Lauderdale. This 6,500 square foot estate was built in 1925 by world-renowned architect Francis Luis Abreu for John Wesley Needham, the first manager of the Broward Hotel. The home hosted many elegant gatherings, some were even attended by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Constructed in the Mediterranean Revival Style, most of the estate is still original and is currently used as an event venue.

The Stranahan House , located on the New River, was built in 1901 by businessman, Frank Stranahan. When the home was initially built, the lower floor served as the trading post for his business, and the upper floor was used as a community hall. But by 1906, his business interests expanded and he was able to renovate the building into a beautiful estate for his family. Throughout the history of the estate, the home was used for multiple public projects, as Mr. Stranahan and his wife, Ivy, took on leadership roles in the community. This estate has been open to the public for viewing as a historic house museum since 1981 and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors annually.

Built in 1908 in Pompano Beach, The Sample-McDougald home was designed based on the Colonial-Revival style made famous in Chester, South Carolina. The grounds were used primarily for agricultural purposes, where the Sample family grew commercial pineapples, as well as greens and peppers. In the early 1940s, the home as purchased by the McDougald family. William McDougald held many prominent positions in the local community, including Constable of North Broward and City Commissioner, while maintaining the homes agricultural efforts. Today, the home serves as a historic house and museum where guests can take tours, and enjoy various classes and concerts.

The Old Davie School, located in Davie, Florida, began accepting students in 1918 and was in continuous use until 1978. Prior to the 20th century, the dense swamp lands made Davie and the Fort Lauderdale area difficult to access. But after the turn of the century, Davie had developed a sizeable population and needed a suitable school that didn’t also serve as the town’s general store. The Old Davie school became the first permanent school in the Fort 5/8/2019 Historic Homes In The Broward County / Fort Lauderdale Area Lauderdale area, and is currently The Old Davie School Historical Museum, housing exhibits about life and agriculture during the development of Davie.

Like the folks at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, all of the individuals involved in the daily operations of these historic homes are passionate about preserving South Florida’s unique history. Our team at Bonnet House encourages you to visit all of the historic estates that South Florida has to offer. If you are interested in visiting Bonnet House specifically, you can purchase tickets online or in person.

Bonnet House Hosts 12th Annual Orchid Festival

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Bonnet House International Orchid & Garden Festival
Bonnet House International Orchid & Garden Festival

To ensure that all guests enjoy their time at this two-day festival, we will be hosting a variety of food vendors, libations, garden art, orchid care and general gardening lectures. We have also invited Dr. Martin Motes for a book signing, and Dr. Jason Downing to give his highly-anticipated lecture on the Million Orchid Project. There will even be live performances by the Pride Steel Band & Daniel Clocanas Music to create a fun, lively atmosphere.
Throughout the Orchid Festival, Bonnet House will host a number of lecturers and authors. On Saturday, April 6th, the day will begin with a Lecture by Chuck McCartney at 11:00am titled, “Pretty Native Florida Orchids.” Following that, at noon, Dr. Martin Motes will be signing copies of his book, Florida Orchid Growing Month By Month , and at the same time, Pride Steel Band will begin their live performance. Our final lecture of the day will take place at 1:00pm with Alex Lamazares, and he will cover helpful information regarding orchid care and repotting techniques.

The second day, April 7th, will begin with a 10:00am lecture by Dr. Jason Downing, called “The Million Dollar Orchid Project.” The day continues at 11:00am with another lecture by Paul Craft in which he will discuss his book, The Palms of Cuba . There will be an opportunity to meet Mr. Craft and have your copy of his book signed following his lecture at noon. Also at noon, Daniel Clocanas Music will begin their live performance that continues until 3:00pm. Finally, at 1:00pm, Jose L. Exposito will give a walking tour throughout the gardens and highlight a variety of orchids and other plants we have here on the premises.

This weekend, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is excited to host our 12th annual Orchid & Garden Festival! This Saturday and Sunday, April 6th and 7th, Bonnet House invites you to join us for this spectacular event and experience the natural beauty that exists here in South Florida, and throughout the world. This festival is perfect, not just for orchid enthusiasts, but for plant lovers of all kinds. Guests will be given the opportunity to vividly experience and purchase beautiful orchids of all shapes, sizes, and colors. In addition to orchids, visitors will also be able to view and purchase other varieties of tropical plants, herbs, and fruit trees sold by local vendors, as well as international vendors from Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador and Hawaii.

We couldn’t be more proud to continue hosting such a wonderful event. Whether you are an experienced gardiner and orchid expert, or just getting started, you will be sure to find this festival enjoyable and educational. Tickets are $10 and parking is free. We hope to see you there!

LGBTQ Weddings at Bonnet House

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LGBTQ Weddings Fort Lauderdale

For decades now, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens has been known as one of Florida’s top locations for a destination wedding. Located in the center of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House combines the grandeur of the past with modern amenities to make your wedding unique and memorable. With our stunning views, innovative architecture, original artwork, and lush tropical gardens, any wedding is sure to be a beautiful success!

Bonnet House showcases a rare combination of historical beauty with modern comforts and conveniences to ensure that all in attendance are properly accommodated for. We are happy to work with any gay, lesbian or other LGBTQ+ couple interested in having a beautiful wedding to create memories that will last a lifetime. Guests have the exclusive use of the tree lined allee/dry fountain, veranda lawn, hibiscus garden and inner courtyard. Our rental fee covers only the venue, however the estate works with many pre-approved caterers and vendors to suit every budget and design goal. Bonnet House is also proud to work with any couple, regardless of their sexual or gender identities.

At Bonnet House, we can accommodate nearly any type of wedding, reception, and/or rehearsal dinner imaginable. Spanning thirty five acres, Bonnet House has exquisite indoor and outdoor venue options, as well as beautiful plants, architecture and artwork. Our proximity to downtown Fort Lauderdale along with our location along a natural barrier island habitat has made Bonnet House a favorite destination for all.

Regardless of what your dream wedding looks like, Bonnet House will be sure to set the scene for romance and timeless memories. If you are interested in setting up an appointment for your wedding click here. Or contact David Wooden ( [email protected] ) to set up a tour!

Springtime Events

Bonnet House Kicks off Springtime With Upcoming Events

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Spring has sprung here at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, and with it has come exciting events that you won’t want to miss this season! On March 7th, we opened our 19th Annual Juried Art Exhibit and Fundraiser, Impressions: The New Aesthetic,” and in April, we will be hosting our 12th annual Orchid Festival. Both our Orchid Festival and our new Impressions
exhibition will be fun and enjoyable for all, so be sure to bring your family and friends to help us kick off the new season at Bonnet House!

On March 7th, Bonnet House was proud to host the official opening of our 19th Annual Juried Art Exhibit and Fundraiser. “Impressions: The New Aesthetic” was created to honor the legacy of Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett’s artistic creativity and appreciation for all genres of art. This exhibit, lasting through April 28th, will showcase modern and contemporary artists from across Florida, and highlight different artistic mediums including painting, photography, and mixed media. You can see this exhibit now through April 28th during normal tour hours (between 9:00am and 4:00pm) in our Carl Weinhardt Gallery. If you’d like to see a preview of this year’s selected pieces, click here.

Also this spring, Bonnet House will be hosting the 12th Annual Bonnet House International Orchid & Garden Festival between 9am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday, April 6th and 7th, 2019. This incredibly popular festival will give orchid enthusiasts and plant lovers the opportunity to
view and purchase a diverse array of colorful and fragrant, orchids, tropical plants, herbs, and fruit trees. In addition to over thirty vendors we have from South Florida, we will also be including, for the first time, international vendors from Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador, and Hawaii.

This two-day festival will include so much more than tropical plants. Bonnet House will also feature plenty of food vendors, libations, garden art, orchid and tropical plant displays, orchid care and general gardening lectures, a book signing with Dr. Martin Motes, and live music by The Pride Steel Band. Entry to the event is $10 and parking is free. You can purchase tickets by clicking this link.

We are proud to host wonderful events throughout the year, but the springtime is truly special for us at Bonnet House. Join us for our Impressions Exhibition and our Orchid Festival to see the changing seasons from a new and unique perspective. We can’t wait to see you there!

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens presents “The Veranda Sessions” A Raw, Creative Musical Experience

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Bonnet House Museum & Gardens invites you to “The Veranda Sessions” a raw, creative musical experience on the Bonnet House Veranda.  The first of two sessions features South Florida’s very own SOSOS with a folky, Americana sound on Thursday, February 7th followed by New York’s Avant garde jazz trio the Daniel Bennett Group on Thursday, March 28th.

Displaying a diverse balance of talent that brews up catchy tunes, SOSOS captivates audiences with their smart musical melodies and lush vocal harmonies. Unusual?.. Not really.  But, you could say SOSOS is a band that strays from the usual because they solely base their music around acoustic root instruments. Upright bass, pump organ, acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, djembe, drums, melodica, and even a box of rocks at times keeps SOSOS generating their own brand of energy even if the power lines go down!  

Saxophonist Daniel Bennett has been hailed as one of the most original and unpredictable musical voices of his generation. Daniel Bennett can be heard throughout the world performing his award-winning compositions on saxophone, flute, clarinet, and oboe. The Daniel Bennett Group plays modern jazz, fused with elements of surf rock and avant-pop.

Both sessions take place from 6:30 – 9:00pm and include complimentary wine, beer and Redemption Whiskey samples. Tickets are $30 per concert.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call (954) 703-2614 or visit us at