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One of the things I always wanted to do in Gainesville was visit the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens since I don’t think I’ve ever been to a botanical garden before!
I figured I would like it enough because flower pictures aren’t always my thing but I was pleasantly surprised and loved it! It’s so much more than just flowers.
We went in the spring and there were a good number of flowers blooming but not everything. It was also a rainy day, which I actually enjoyed.
It wasn’t rainy when we got there in the early afternoon and thankfully it wasn’t busy either!
We started out with a stop at the orchid display before going in and doing the 1.5 mile walk through the gardens.
We started at the container garden before slowly heading around the East Garden counter-clockwise.
The whole of the East Garden was my favorite part but there were a few spots in particular I liked more, including the bamboo garden and the tropical aroid garden.
There are small paths that branch off of the main one and loop back to it. There are waterfalls along the way, tucked into lush landscapes and even natural sinkholes.
We spent a lot of time looking at all the different bamboo. There are way more types than I ever expected.
Soon enough we got to my favorite part, the elephant ears and gazebo where it started to pour. I took so many picture of the elephant ears!
They were absolutely massive and the light was just so good. Perfect. This was also where it started to rain and by rain I mean pour.
We decided to wait it out in the gazebo and spent probably 15 or 20 minutes there before resigning ourselves to a wet walk through the rest of the gardens.
There was another couple stranded here for a bit, too before also resigning themselves to the rain.
After this we headed down toward Lake Kanapaha (the garden’s namesake) before a stroll through the palm hammock.
Then it was off to the water garden which had my other favorite part: the Oriental garden. But first up was the butterfly garden.
This side seemed a little busier but I’m not sure why. It’s a lot smaller than the east side. It does have the children’s garden, so maybe that was it.
Unfortunately there wasn’t much green in here or anything blooming while we were there so we didn’t see any butterflies. I’m sure the rain didn’t help.
But the pond and waterfall by it was really nice. After this we made it to the oriental garden where we got to see another waterfall and those giant Lilly pads!
We spent a little more time enjoying this area, looking at more bamboo, before making our way back to the orchid display.
I’m so glad we decided to go that day because I ended up loving the gardens. I’m also glad we didn’t have to deal with mosquitos in the summer. I bet they can be bad here.
If you’re visiting Gainesville, just passing through and want to do something nice, or live here and want to see more of your city, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens are a must-do.
Travel Services I Recommend:
AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
America the Beautiful – The national park pass is essential.
Booking.com – This is great for finding and booking hotels.
Get Your Guide – I recommend Get Your Guide for booking tours.
National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
Enterprise – This is my rental car recommendation.
See all my resources here.
Where is the Kanapaha Botanical Garden in Gainesville?
The botanical garden in Gainesville is on the southwest edge of town, right on Archer Rd., one of the main roads in the city. It’s well marked and easy to find.
Areas of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
There are 24 different gardens in three different areas: East Garden, Water Garden, and Summer House. I wont list them all, but a few so you can get an idea the gardens.
There are also some sinkholes and waterfalls in the gardens as well as Lake Kanapaha and a few gazebos. Here is a map of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.
- Butterfly Garden
- Oriental Garden
- Bulb Garden
- Bamboo Garden
- Tropical Aroid Garden
- Cycad Garden
- Woodland Garden
How long do you need for Kanapaha Botanical Garden?
I would plan 2-3 hours here. The walk isn’t terribly long, about 1.5 miles, but there is so much to look at and take pictures of, if that’s your thing.
You could easily make it through here in less than an hour if you’re just walking the path and not really stopping to look at things much.
But there is SO MUCH to look at here, it would be really hard for me to not go through here slowly. I mean, just look at how many photos are in here. This isn’t even all of them!
Kanapaha Botanical Garden price
It’s not terribly expensive to visit Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. Adults are $10, children (5-13) are $5, and children under 5 are free.
If you live in the area and want to visit a lot you can become a member for $40 (or $60 for two people).
Admission for special events may be different than above and is not included in the membership.
Kanapaha Botanical Garden hours
They’re open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 to 5 but closed on Thursday. Sundays are 9 to 7 or dusk, whichever is earlier.
Admission ends 45 minutes before closing time.
Is Kanapaha Botanical Gardens worth visiting?
Yes! I thought I would like it, that it would be good, but I loved it! And it was even raining quite a bit while we were there.
Kanapaha Botanical Garden Events
The botanical garden has a few special events throughout the year including guided walks the first Saturday of every month.
There is also a camellia sale every January, a bamboo sale in the winter, a spring garden festival in March, and a fall plant sale and orchid show in October.
They’ve had moonlight walks in the past but I’m not sure if that’s something they still offer, but I’ll keep an eye on this and report back.
Where to stay in Gainesville
Hotel Eleo – This is in a great location just outside of the downtown area. They also have a bar and restaurant.
Sweetwater Branch Inn – This is very cute bed and breakfast in downtown Gainesville. I would love to stay here someday.
Hotel Indigo – This is outside of downtown so you’ll have to drive there but it is in Celebration Pointe which is pretty close to Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. It’s right off the interstate.
Staybridge Suites – This is also just off the interstate near Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. There are a lot of restaurants in this area.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens photos
Have you been to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville? What did you think of it? What is your favorite botanical garden?