For Children with Autism

Plants and People Horticultural Therapy Program for Children with Autism and Their Families

Are you looking for a wonderful way to introduce nature to your child with Autism? If so, come to Fairchild and experience the power of plants. 

Fairchild is pleased to present the Plants and People Horticultural Therapy Program for Children with Autism and Their Families. Parents and their children will receive complimentary snacks, a butterfly guide and crayons along with a tram tour of the Garden. After the tram tour, parents and their children are invited to further explore the Garden and bring a picnic lunch.

The program is offered on the dates below beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Visitor Center, followed by a tram tour starting at 10:30 a.m. 

Upcoming Dates:

Monday, January 19, 2015
Monday, February 16, 2015
Monday, March 23, 2015
Monday, May 25, 2015

Registration is requested at least one week in advance of each offering. RSVP for the Plants and People Program for Children with Autism and Their Families by calling 305.667.1651, ext. 3388. Early registration is encouraged as there is limited seating.

For more information, please call 305.667.1651, ext. 3328 or email  

It is our pleasure to offer this program free of charge. Support is generously provided by Lin Lougheed and the Aaron I. Fleischman Foundation.

Comments From the First Year of the Program

  • The group meandered down the hill to the event tent on the north side of the and the fun started already...they exclaimed "we wish we had skateboards, this is fun"...honestly it was the parents lightening up to guide the kids who started out a little timidly.
  • Bari, Emma, Patty and I set up the tables with all kinds of eye candy! First thing they did was head toward the colorful snacks and drinks and fruit cups Patty had so lovingly chosen for the snack time. This is the springboard for this program which is off to a great start with everything flowing smooth as an aroid leaf to a raindrop, as if we'd been doing for years.
  • Everybody ready now and Patty is their fearless leader searching for the wildlife, butterflies, bees, iguana, ibis and more. It's a tropical safari and we're going to look far and wide to find everything on our 'scavenger hunt'.
  • You would have thought the adventure started as we guided the parents and the children who were getting more excited by the minute to the tram. We took them down the memorial brick path toward Tram Plaza and we encountered parrots, butterflies and oooooh so beautiful blooms...we were off to a grand start.
  • When they turned the corner and saw the tram it was the universal glee kids have when they encounter a golf cart, shuttle or "WOW" a "safari' train"! It was equally as cool to be able to turn their shyness, awkwardness and being timid into real joy.
  • Again, it was the parents who were asking questions when they saw the caterpillar with a little bit of fear and loathing...'Does it sting?' 'Do they hurt?' and a couple of the kids thought their 'parents' were being very silly'. "These worms with thorns looked like they were from somewhere in outer'. We did have to prompt them a little, but they are opening up and getting more trusting.

We are so looking forward to the next visit where we hope to have some kids who want to come back again. We are finding out that these parents are having great experiences are telling us that this program is extremely good for their kids. They are also telling other parents with autistic kids about this wonderful program here at Fairchild Tropical Garden so the good word is spreading, how divine.