The Everglades Wonder Gardens is one of Bonita Springs’ top attractions, and an alluring sight to see for all ages. There are special discoveries hidden in this museum and gardens attraction to entrance the youngest of your group and offer whimsy and intrigue for the most cynical and jaded of us all. We take a look at what makes this prized historic Florida cultural icon such a memorable and necessary vacation stop. Keep in mind that the Everglades National Park and the Wonder Gardens are two very different places, mind you.
What are the Everglades Wonder Gardens?
The gardens feature a large collection of native Florida wildlife, drenched in large swaths of the beautiful jungle. Guests can come and interact with some of the famous Florida wildlife, such as the flamingo. You can explore the grounds, feed the wildlife, and learn about Florida’s mesmerizing natural history.
Everglades Mission and Leadership
The gardens are a local venture, but this was almost swept away. Citing financial concerns, the development was sought for large-sized commercial development and ownership. The owners thought this would take away a lot of the attraction’s unique features. The city of Bonita Springs released a loan so a new local non-profit could actually rent the property from the city. It was a peculiar and inventive idea, but it managed to keep the gardens incredible and local-centric to best capture the spirit of Florida.
Now, the non-profit helped expand exhibits and execute new educational programs. It also led to fascinating new volunteer opportunities, as the financial rejuvenation of the gardens allowed the team to expand, grow, and introduce captivating new ideas and initiatives.
So what can you see when you visit this popular attraction?
The gardens are largely free-roaming. This means you wonder as you see fit, seeing various exhibits along the way. This includes a brilliant pollination pavilion designed to encourage mating and feeding from rare local butterflies. There’s also a mesmerizing butterfly enclosure and tea house, both offering rare glimpses into the quiet side of Florida.
And yes, we can’t forget Florida’s very own alligator. There is an Alligator Experience undertaking a complete renovation. Revisit the website to stay connected to the new alligator updates!
Many of the animals are rescued. This is particularly the case for the exotic birds and reptiles. The team works with local entities to capture and save local wildlife.
Overall, the gardens are a stunning and huge representation of Florida’s finest natural sights and sounds, from the flamingo to the alligator, the subtle and delicate orchid to the bombastic and fast-growing bromeliad.
Where is it?
The Everglades Wonder Gardens is located at 27180 Old US 41, Bonita Springs. It can be found a block away from Riverside Park in the slight-north part of town. For comparison, the Wonder Gardens are near the Naples Zoo, about 30 minutes north or 13 miles. If you stay on top of your time, you can likely squeeze in both attractions in one day!
Bonita Springs makes for an exceptional day trip from larger Fort Myers Beach. We have condos in Fort Myers Beach for rent right on the water. You can leave in the morning, see the gardens, and head back the 40 minutes or so to hit the beachside before dark.
What are the Wonder Gardens Hours and Admission?
Hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Adults are $12, and this includes ages 13 to 64. Seniors 65 and up are $10 and children 3 – 12 are $7. The youngest of your crew, three and under, are free! If you don’t eat here, there are other restaurants available in Fort Myers Beach.
The Everglades Wonder Gardens stands as one of the area’s top attractions. But it is not the only thing you can find nestled away in Bonita Springs. Contact us for more information about the many exciting things to do as you traverse this gem of Florida’s gulf coast. Our Fort Myers beachfront vacation rentals give you unprecedented access to the beach and the area’s many relaxations.