Last updated: 6/23/2009
4700 SW 58th DriveGainesville, FL 32608
Children 6-13 $3
Under 6 free
Don Goodman, Director
Barbara Bennett, Horticulturist
Gabriel Duclos, Horticulturist
J. Jordan Goodman, Director of Operations
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a 62 acre facility developed and operated by the North Florida Botanical Society, a non-profit educational organization. In 1978, the Society signed a lease agreement with Alachua County whereby it gained access to a 33 acre tract of land for the development of a public botanical garden; in 1982, an additional 29 acre parcel was added to the lease, bringing Kanapaha Botanical Society to its present size. The Gardens' name is derived from its proximity to 250 acre Lake Kanapaha. The word Kanapaha is derived from the Timucua Indian words for "palmetto leaf" and "house." Taken together, they refer to the thatched dwellings that were home to the original residents of a small Timucua village on the western shore of Lake Kanapaha. Between 1978 and 1987, the infrastructure and initial plantings were completed and Kanapaha Botanical Gardens was formally opened to the public on October 16, 1987.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 14 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. These include the state's largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast. Some of Kanapaha's gardens are organized taxonomically; others demonstrate principles of ecology or natural selection. Kanapaha's signature plants include a premier stand of Chinese royal bamboo (Wong Chuk), and--during the warm months--giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums. The months offering the most color are June through September.
Kanapaha's walkways are largely wheelchair accessible and benches, gazebos and other rest stations are liberally spaced throughout the facility. Dogs are permitted on leash. Picnicking is allowed in designated areas and soft drinks may be purchased on site. Both indoor and outdoor facilities are available for weddings, receptions, retreats, conferences, and other social functions. Kanapaha's plant nursery affords visitors the opportunity to purchase specimens of many plants displayed in the gardens. An exceptional gift shop offers a varied and unusual array of items including original art and treasures from the natural world.
To celebrate the immense beauty and diversity of the Earth's flora.
Newsletter and various garden publications.
Special Event Rental