Displays & Exhibits

Explore a whole new world of fluttering colors in the Wings of the Tropics exhibit and Science Village opening December 1, 2012.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s state-of-the-art DiMare Science Village, covering more than 25,000 square feet and featuring five buildings including the The Clinton Family Conservatory’s Wings of the Tropics Exhibit, Glass House Café, Windows to the Tropics Conservatory, The Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion and the Kushlan Tropical Science Institute is now open.

Come enjoy thousands of exotic butterflies along with fish and some of the world's most beautiful rare plants.

You'll see the famous Blue Morpho butterfly (pictured right), Owl butterflies, Bamboo Page butterflies, and Leopard Lacewing butterflies all hovering overhead. There will be butterfly releases twice daily, where kids of all ages will have a chance to experience these winged wonders up close. Speaking of up close, the Butterfly Metamorphosis Lab displays hundreds of butterfly chrysalis so you can experience the butterfly emerging process.

Windows to the Tropics is a 16,428 square foot conservatory with extensive displays of some 1,900 species of plants from the humid tropics. In its two levels of beautiful indoor gardens are rare palms and cycads, ferns, orchids, aroids, bromeliads, fruit trees and unusual vines. Exhibits are based on themes such as plant coloration, plant-animal interactions, plant reproduction, and diversity of form and function. 

The Montgomery Palmetum is a world-renowned display and research collection of palms from all parts of the world and is generally recognized as the most important documented palm collection in the world. The Bailey Palm Glade features a display of unusual palms and provides a long, narrow view across the Garden's landscape, eastward toward mangrove preserves and Biscayne Bay. The Overlook, an octagonal landscape "room," offers a wide, panoramic view of the Garden's lowland areas and lakes, providing a striking architectural counterpart to the narrow view of the Bailey Palm Glade.

The Richard H. Simons Rainforest exhibit blends native Florida species with true rainforest species collected by Fairchild plant scientists from tropical forests in Latin America and other locations. With aerial irrigation systems to enhance rainfall and humidity, this 2-acre exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to experience the plants and environment of the world's dwindling rainforest ecosystems.

The Lisa D. Anness Butterfly Garden displays both nectar and larval host plants for more than 30 species of native butterflies.  With support from Mr. Larry Rutherford and the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, the development of the Lisa D. Anness Butterfly Garden celebrates the diversity of butterfly species in the region and provides a template for local gardeners.  The garden is located south of the overlook alleé.

The  Arboretum is a twelve-acre display of some 740 species of tropical flowering trees, collected from all tropical regions of the world. Arranged by plant family, these collections show a magnificent diversity of form, structure, texture, color and fragrance. Adjacent to the Arboretum is the 560 foot long Vine Pergola, an historic stone and wood structure supporting a dazzling array of tropical flowering vines of every imaginable shape and color.  And don't miss the Tropical Flower Garden located near the Visitor Center.

The Succulent Plots: Strikingly different types of plants can be seen growing as the dominant plantings in the succulent plots 6, 31, and 135, visible from the tram path. These plants can be found in many families, but share the common environmental characteristic of growing in places that have scarce or seasonal precipitation patterns, high evaporation rates, or very well drained soils. Sometimes all three conditions apply. Adaptations to these harsh environments include thickened, hard, or absent leaves to reduce water loss, enlarged stems, roots or tubers to store water and nutrients, and spines to protect the plants from animals that might eat them or to provide shade from strong sunshine. Succulents can be found worldwide in environments as diverse as cold high altitude mountains, to deserts where moisture is available almost exclusively as fog or dew. They even grow in specialized rainforest habitats on rocks, sand, or epiphytically on trees.

Cactus (Cactaceae) and Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae) are two families that demonstrate well known adaptations to harsh environments. They often appear superficially similar, looking like "cactus"; that is, leafless, with spiny, thick stems. Both families have many species that vary from that stereotypical form. Cactaceae are, with one exception, strictly New World plants. Euphorbiaceae can be found worldwide, common on continental Africa and Madagascar.

Agave (Agavaceae), the so-called "Century Plants", and Aloe (Liliaceae) are two other families that demonstrate a convergence of form. Both have thickened leaves, often with teeth along their edges. Agaves are plants of the Americas, while aloes are African in origin.

Although South Florida is often thought of as a lush subtropical paradise, the natural environment and climate provide ideal conditions for the successful cultivation of many succulent plants. Our dry seasons, sandy or rocky soils, and bright sun are what they need in order to thrive. During summer, these plants can grow quickly and, depending on the species, appear as leafy shrubs or trees. During winter and spring, they assume a more architectural appearance, often with the bonus of beautiful and profuse flowers.

 
Alluaudias at dusk in Madagascar

Succulents are plants that are easy to care for and fit perfectly in low water and low energy use landscaping.  With our area's increasing water restrictions and environmental awareness, they should be used more often.  Not all are spiny!

The Lin Lougheed Spiny Forest of Madagascar displays Malagasy dry forest plants which are appropriate for South Florida's climate.  The spiny forests of Madagascar are one of the world's most unique ecosystems, and the plantings in this exhibit highlight Fairchild's conservation efforts and demonstrate a water friendly landscape.

The Keys Coastal Habitat, developed in partnership with the Tropical Audubon Society, is a four-acre naturalistic garden featuring a densely-planted collection of plants native to South Florida, especially those of the Florida Keys. It has been designed to attract migratory birds and other wildlife, giving an overview of the local environment and the interactions of plants and animals.

The William F. Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, a 38-foot high pavilion where visitors will be able to see and experience some of the most exotic tropical fruit species only found in places like Borneo, the Amazon, Indonesia, Thailand and other exotic locations, opened in November 2003.

The Edible Garden, located next to the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, provides the homeowner and estate gardener with examples of tropical fruit, vegetables, medicinal plants and herbs in the urban landscape. Our goal  with the Edible Garden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is to demonstrate to the community the benefits and enjoyment of eating quality, organically grown food, professionally prepared in delicious dishes, while supporting our local farmers.