Conservation takes another step forward in Coral Gables
“The opening of the Butterfly Conservatory and Science Village brings together the fusion of nature’s magnificence and the enormous breadth of scientific research and technology available at our fingertips today,” said Dr. Carl Lewis, director, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “Educating our children today about conservation science, the careers available to them, and the impact they can make, is absolutely critical in the 21st century.”
A canopy of oak trees, some more than 50 years old, frame the architecture of the Conservatory’s exterior. Leading visitors through the Conservatory is a unique path garnished with a variety of plant imprints courtesy of Fairchild Garden’s staff, volunteers and children who participated in summer camp programs. As guests enter the Butterfly Conservatory, volunteers will be on hand to offer information and welcome them into the Conservatory which is ADA accessible.
Visitors continue next into the Windows to the Tropics Conservatory where they will experience some of the tropical world’s rarest plants; plants too sensitive even for Miami’s mild winters. In addition, visitors will enjoy a majestic “Corchid Tree”—a large cork-covered PVC tree that is designed to exhibit rare epiphytes and orchids. Next, the Tropical Fruit Pavilion introduces visitors to the world of tropical fruit. Guests will see cacao (from where chocolate comes), the vanilla orchid, the rare Mangosteen and more.
The new Glasshouse Café, which is directly across from Fairchild’s rainforest, exhibits a large glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly and 20 foot high ceilings that peer into the Conservatory through floor to ceiling glass doors. The Café’s popular menu has been broadened to include organic and locally grown food, includes seating of up to 150 people and is available for private rentals.
The Science Village will showcase the talent and accomplishments of Fairchild’s conservation team by directly connecting scientists and their activities with the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Garden. Fairchild’s five-year vision is to support the science education initiatives with 10 Ph.D. scientists,
The Tropical Science Institute named in honor of Dr. James A. Kushlan, a well-known South Florida biologist and wetland conservationist and sponsor of Fairchild's bird conservation initiative will be housed in the Science Village. Its overarching goal is to collect under one umbrella the science activities of the Garden and to facilitate coordination and increased cooperation among South Florida's scientists, conservationists, and educators engaged in tropical science, conservation and higher education.
Fairchild Gardens is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables. Hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, and they are closed on Christmas day. Admission is $25 adults, $18 seniors, $12 children ages 6-17, free for Fairchild members and children 5 and younger. Call 305-667-1651 for more information, or visit www.fairchildgarden.org.