We finished our business in Key west in the morning and, after lunch, went to the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. It is on College Road behind the golf course. The property is an interesting mix of natural-looking forest and garden.
The courtyard is just behind the visitor center entrance to the site. The far end is raised as a stage – and it has a moat. There are a few strings of lights hung overhead. It would be a very nice spot for a reception.
North Side Lake looks pretty shallow, but it has turtles in it. The two ponds on this property are fresh water, which is extremely rare in the keys.
The Western Loop is natural-looking tropical forest.
Desbien’s Pond was shockingly red from tannin in the water.
My only guess is that it came from the dead seagrape leaves. A long section of the path around the pond was carpeted with them.
Some sections were a paved path.
Much of the path was a large boardwalk with numerous wide spots for a bench or a gathering. This gnarly-branched gumbo limbo was just before the loop around North Side Lake.
There was a large patio across the lake with several musical instruments. These bells sounded great. There were also two large and artistic xylophones. Note the nice boardwalk behind Andy.
This very large terrace is across the lake. It also has a stage area and lights strung up.
This mermaid sculpture is at the edge of the terrace.
Here is her view to the right, back to the bridge across the lake.
We spotted this huge palm behind the terrace. Andy, my scale model, posed in front of it for, well, scale. There was no sign telling what it is. A good breeze was blowing through and those huge fronds/leaves were flapping and the fringe was fluttering.
The surprise of the visit was what they called “Cuban Chugs”, boats that Cubans have used to cross the Florida Straits in to get here. Andy recalls that there were about a dozen of these boats. Looking at them sure gave us time to think about how desperate those Cubans were to leave Cuba and get here, and how creative they were with what materials they had.
This one actually looked like a pretty good, seaworthy boat. It has a Florida registration number on it.
This is a Cuban Petticoat Palm.
The tropical forest and botanical garden was well worth the $5 senior entrance fee.