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McKee Botanical Gardens

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About McKee Botanical Gardens

Set on an 18-acre tropical hammock off Route 1, McKee Botanical Gardens in Vero Beach boasts an extensive collection of both tropical and subtropical plants and a vast water lily collection. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the McKee Botanical Gardens has an original history dating back to 1922, when two developers purchased a plot of land. Eventually, the developers worked with famed landscape architect William Lyman Phillips to design the original park infrastructure, including ponds, trails, and streams. By the 1940s, more than 100,000 tourists visited the gardens annually.

Open weekly from Tuesday through Saturday, the McKee Botanical Gardens includes 10,000 native and exotic plants. The famed water lily collection includes 300 potted and 100 free-range plants. Making up the water lily collection are 80 different types in full bloom during the peak summer season.  

Visitors come to the Vero Beach Botanical Gardens to learn about its history and enjoy the landscape, with waterfalls, palms, and more. The park also has restored historic structures, including the Spanish Kitchen and Hall of Giants. Sculptures displayed throughout the Garden include pieces from notable artists like Hans Good Frabel and Seward Johnson. Guided tours are available.

Along with being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, McKee Botanical Gardens also has an endorsement from The Garden Conservancy as a “Project of National Significance.” The Vero Beach botanical garden was on the cover of Southern Living Magazine’s February 2020 edition in an article on the area’s best warm getaways, highlighting Vero Beach. McKee’s also been showcased in publications like Coastal Living, House and Garden, Better Homes and Gardens, and the New York Times. National Geographic Traveler named it as one of the U.S. and Canada’s top “22 Secret Gardens- Soothing Places of Surprise and Sanctuary,” as well.

The Children’s Garden is one of the Garden’s newest additions, having opened in 2020. To begin their adventure in the Children’s Garden, visitors are encouraged to use a Garden Discovery Backpack, which can be checked out at General Admission for no additional cost. Then they are returned at the end of your visit. The backpacks include age-appropriate tools and educational materials so children can design their adventure in the Garden. Five backpack themes are available—Garden Explorer, It’s a Bug World, Plantastic, Things with Wings, and Survival: Lost in the Jungle.

Kids can traverse the Monkey Bridge or the Grand Entry Bridge to begin their experience. A handmade Water Lily Fountain and the Karst Splash Pad are inside the Garden. There are books at the on-site Little Library, instruments available for use in the Music Maze, a pirate-themed climbing structure located in the Grand Discovery Tree, a Fairy Forest, and the Waterlily Fountain.  

Everything in the Children’s Garden is interactive, with play areas and structures inspired by nature. There are also picnic areas and butterfly and insect habitats.

Regularly held children’s activities in the Children’s Garden include the Garden Sprouts Nature Playgroup, Garden Grooves, and McKee’s Books & Bricks Club.

The Garden Café is an on-site restaurant. A fresh, casual fare menu includes wraps and sandwiches, soup, a rotating quiche of the day, desserts, and a children’s menu.

There are often yoga and exercise classes, educational events, children’s camps, and workshops. Catch a matinee in the afternoons at the Richardson Education Building as well.

McKee Botanical Garden is on the mainland, less than three miles south of downtown Vero. There is on-site parking, restroom facilities, and a gift shop. You can purchase tickets before your visit online or buy them in person when you arrive. Ticket sales end at 4 p.m. daily.

McKee Botanical Gardens Gallery

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Frequently Asked Questions about McKee Botanical Gardens

While it will be different for everyone, you need around two hours to walk all the garden paths. With that, most visitors say you should give yourself significantly more time so that you can have time to take in the small things you’d otherwise overlook.

A standard adult ticket to the Garden is $15, a child’s ticket (2-12) is $10, and seniors (65+) are $13 per ticket. Youth (13-17) are $13, children under two are free, and military with an active-duty or veteran ID are $10. Please verify before your visit because these admission fees are subject to change.

The Garden is not dog-friendly and doesn’t allow pets in general unless you have a Service Dog.

The Garden, home to more than 10,000 plants, is 18 acres.

Closed

12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Monday

    Not available
  • Tuesday

    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday

    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday

    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Friday

    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Saturday

    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sunday

    12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Local time

    May 26, 2024 11:30 pm

McKee Botanical Gardens Amenities

  • Parking Available
  • Restrooms (Private)

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