A Night in the Garden

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden


By Carlos David Garcia







The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a way to escape Miami without crossing the city limit. A series of lavish landscapes, wide open spaces and countless trails create the perfect setting in which to display practically every type of plant life that flourishes in South Florida’s tropical climate.

As soon as you make the eastbound turn towards FTBG onto Old Cutler Road, the scenery of sprawling neighborhoods composed of cookie-cutter houses typical of the rest of our ever-sprawling metropolis transforms into a landscape of thick and lofty foliage. Stray cats are replaced by blue crabs which seem to avoid moving cars with more diligence than the average feral feline.

Named after one of the greatest plant explorers of all time, David Fairchild, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has been dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants since it opened its doors to the public in 1938. Nearly seventy years later, FTBG manages to keep a place in every South Floridian’s list of things to do by creating innovative events such as Chihuly at Fairchild, the Taste of the Tropics series, Butterfly Days and their annual International Mango Festival, just to name a few.

Although the fantastically successful Chihuly exhibit recently ended, the staff at FTBG has kept the momentum going by introducing several new events that fuse Fairchild’s traditional tropical scenery with enthralling thematic dinners. Most recently, a group of FTBG’s young professionals group, The Fairchild Palms, hosted A Taste of Espana, an event which transformed the 83-acre site into a quaint Spanish villa. Complete with plenty of traditional Spanish cuisine, drinks and live flamenco performances, the trip from Miami to Madrid was cut from a 9-hour flight to a short drive across town, even if just for one night.

Meticulously planned and executed events are indicative of FTBG’s approach towards any affair, and their growing list of upcoming events should be no different. Among several other upcoming happenings, the Garden’s Pirates Ball which takes place on the night of Friday, July 13, an appropriate date to dress up like a menacing miscreant, drink rum and do some general swashbuckling. And, whatever swashbuckling means, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of it going on as the Pirates Ball officially kicks off FTBG’s 15th International Mango Festival.

This year’s Mango Festival features mangos of the Caribbean – the perfect place to buy mango trees, enjoy mango lectures, drink mango smoothies and see the world’s largest display of mangos. The festival takes place from July 14 through the 15th and culminates on Sunday with the world’s only mango auction.

Extravagant parties and festivals aside, FTBG never loses sight of its main purpose, educating the public and conserving tropical plant life. Nevertheless, ongoing and inventive affairs keep FTBG relevant and at the top of the list when it comes to local attractions that appeal to plant lovers and party animals alike.



Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
www.fairchildgarden.org
305-667-1651