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Flamingo Gardens: 4 great reasons to visit this oasis in the suburbs

Last updated on September 22nd, 2021 at 02:16 pm

Flamingo Gardens in Davie combines my all-time favorite things, and they are the four main reasons to love this outpost in the suburbs:

  1. Florida history
  2. Florida flora
  3. Florida birds
  4. Florida wildlife

I have visited and loved Flamingo Gardens for years. Originally, its big attraction was its historic botanic gardens. It was founded in 1927 by Floyd Wray, who first planted citrus trees and then added rare tropical fruit, flowering trees, and shrubs.

A flamingo at Flamingo Gardens. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
A flamingo at Flamingo Gardens. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Today, it is home to the biggest tree in Florida (a non-native Cluster Fig measuring 54 feet 1 inch  in circumference with a crown span of 95 feet) as well as 3,000 tropical and subtropical species of plants.

See wildlife up close

Two decades ago, Flamingo Gardens began developing a new area of the park, the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary. Over the years, it has added animals so that now it has more than 80 native species of birds and animals, including river otter, bald and golden eagles, bobcats, tortoises, a black bear and a Florida panther.

Flamingo Gardens now the largest collection of Florida native wildlife in the state. (And, yes, while they’re not native, there is a magnificent flock of flamingos.)

Flamingo Gardens in Davie: The flamingo pond makes the iconic bird easy to view. (Photo: David Blasco)
Flamingo Gardens in Davie: The flamingo pond delivers great views of the iconic bird for all ages. (Photo: David Blasco)

There is a lot more to Flamingo gardens wildlife than flamingos!

When you visit Flamingo Gardens, don’t miss spending time in the half-acre free-flight aviary, where you can walk among 250 birds from 45 species. The birds, many born in the aviary, are so used to visitors that you can view them from quite close. I have always admired roseate spoonbills in the wild, but I had never seen one two-feet away before.

You also can have an up-close-and-personal experience with a family of river otters, visible over a fence in their outdoor habitat and through a window when they swirl around swimming underwater.

We enjoyed similarly close-up views of African spur tortoises and alligators.

Here’s a list of wildlife at Flamingo Gardens.

Flamingo Gardens: Peacocks roam the grounds. (Photo: David Blasco)
Flamingo Gardens: Peacocks roam the grounds uncaged, as they have for 70 years. (Photo: David Blasco)

Plant lovers will be in heaven

Flamingo Gardens started with citrus trees, which are still an important part of the gardens, but there are now hundreds of native and exotic trees surrounded by a lush gardens with ponds, a stream, and a waterfall.

The gardens have many flowering trees (15 Florida champions, meaning they are the biggest trees of their species.) There are also thousands of orchids plus areas devoted to attacting hummingbirds and butterflies, a tropical rainforest, an Everglades wetland, a fern garden and a remarkable collections of ginger and heliconias.

Flamingo Gardens has lush gardens of tropical and semi-tropical plants. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
Flamingo Gardens has lush gardens of tropical and semi-tropical plants. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida history at Flamingo Gardens

One of the most beautiful landscapes in the park is a hammock of live oak trees, many of them 150 to 200 years old. This hammock is located on one of the high points in Broward County, which is one reason it was the home site selected by Floyd and Jane Wray when they built their residence in 1927. It is now the Wray Home Museum.

The Wrays and business partner Frank Stirling planted their first citrus trees in 1927 and eventually had  2,000 acres with over 60 varieties of citrus.

They started giving tours of their groves, even introducing peacocks in the 1940s.

One of the best ways to learn about the trees and history of Flamingo Gardens is the narrated tram tour, which is included in the admission price. The 25-minute tour leaves every 30 minutes, on the hour and half-hour, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The tour is offered houly weekdays during August and September.)

It’s easy to spend a few hours at this garden, which also includes daily live presentations featuring Florida’s native wildlife, such as birds of prey and reptiles and their relationship to the environment.

Planning your visit to Flamingo Gardens

Admission is $20 for adults when tickets are purchased online. ($22 at the door.) Children, who will love this place, are $15 online; $16 at the door.

Flamingo Gardens
3750 S Flamingo Road
Davie, Florida 33330-1614
Flamingo Gardens is open seven days a week 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information call 954.473.2955
or email admin@flamingogardens.org

More things to do in South Florida from Florida Rambler:

Best South Florida parks

Visitor’s guide to Everglades National Park

Visiting Big Cypress National Preserve

Mile-by-mile guide to Overseas Highway through Florida Keys

A note from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm details when planning your trip by following the links in this article.

This article is the property of FloridaRambler.com and is protected by U.S. Copyright Law. Re-publication without written permission is against the law.


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