Botanical Research Center groundbreaking
Ground broken for Botanical research center
Imagine a garden.
As big as your whole neighborhood and beyond.
Something very special is on the horizon for Naples and all of Southwest Florida — the 170-acre Naples Botanical Garden.
When it debuts on Nov. 14, it will be a center for nature and much more — children’s play, collegiate and public education and community gatherings.
It’s Web site calls the garden “A piece of bliss.”
Garden officials just hope the fancy “botanical” name will not intimidate visitors. To that end, they have worked hard to make the garden at the south nexus of Bayshore Drive, across from Del’s 24-Hour Store and south of Windstar, very user-friendly.
If there is a single “keep out” or “stay off the grass” or “don’t go here” sign on the grounds, I didn’t see it when our editorial board got a preview the other day.
I did see rope ladders, a treehouse, rocks, trails and even streams that are made for exploring.
The accent is on children and having adults delight in their fun.
Even the signs telling you which plant is which feature the artwork of children.
Yet, this is not a playground. There is some serious science going on. The plants and ecology have been masterfully planned and arranged into areas with themes such as Brazilian Garden or River of Grass.
Stormwater stays on site, and any water that does make it to Naples Bay — right next door to the west — is purified first.
The attention to detail is a marvel. There is a little hill that looks like, well, a hill, covered with grass. It is there, according to garden executive director Brian Holley, so children can roll down it.
“Have you ever seen a kid able to resist rolling down a hill?” he asks.
Then he concedes that in Florida, some children may need a little coaching.
They’ll get the hang of it.
Another little detail: the garden will not sell bottled water. Instead it will sell bottles for you to refill on site and take with you to refill over and over again. It’s an ecology thing, Holley explains.
There are more than two miles of trails, and the garden you see starting next month will be only about half the finished product.
This garden is going to start out great and get even greater.
Daily admission will be $9.95 for adults and $4.95 for children ages 4-14; yearly family passes will be $75. They ought to go like hotcakes once people see all the garden has to offer.
Visitors will want to come back again and again, especially when company comes. The garden will be open every day of the year, including Christmas.
You will be seeing lots of coverage about Naples Botanical Garden between now and Nov. 14.
I am only scratching the surface here.
This is one of those special places that will be for everyone.