Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads, epiphytes and tropical plants with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education. Education programs for children and adults, classes and special events hosted at our tropical, urban oasis set downtown on Sarasota Bay provide many reasons for return visits. Ongoing research of and exploration for tropical plants attracts worldwide attention of international scholars and plant enthusiasts.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas. Regular admission $20 (ages 18 and up), $10 ages 4-17; Members and children 3 and under enter free. Contact us at (941) 366-5731 or selby.org. Get social with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching @selbygardens.
To provide an oasis of inspiration and tranquility, while furthering the understanding and appreciation of plants, especially epiphytes.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the world leader in the cultivation, study and display of epiphytic plants and the premier Bayfront urban attraction connecting people with nature.
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens was philanthropist Marie Selby’s gift to the community when she bequeathed her home and property “for the enjoyment of the general public.” Founded in 1973, it opened to the public July 7, 1975 and in 1978 was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.
Selby Gardens features the most diverse living and preserved collections of epiphytes in the world. The living collection is accompanied by an herbarium, the world’s second largest spirit collection and a library.
- Living Collection: 20,000+ plants includes 5,500 orchids, 3,500 bromeliads and 1,600 other plants.
- Herbarium: Approximately 111,000 dried and pressed specimens of tropical flora.
- Spirit Collection: The second largest collection in the world. Consists of 28,000 vials of mostly orchid flowers in preservative fluids, along with several thousand gesneriad specimens.
- Reference Collection: Consists of more than 124,000 books (including a rare book collection), active periodicals and newsletters, botanical prints, drawings, slides, digital images, videotapes and fiche of early botanical references.
- Accession records: 12,500 live plants in 214 plant families – more than half of the known plant families in the world!
What to do on your visit:
More than 20,000 living plants comprise the Gardens’ collection. Plants are displayed in 10 key zones and the display inside the tropical conservatory (one of eight greenhouses on site) varies to feature the award-winning orchids, bromeliads and other plants in bloom. Garden display zones:
- Tropical Conservatory
- Bonsai Exhibit
- Cycad Display
- Fern Garden & Koi Pond
- Bamboo Garden
- Banyan Grove
- Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden: An interactive children’s garden to explore and develop a life-long appreciation for rainforest plants.
- Selby House:
- Kid’s Corner
- Café by Michael’s On East
- Selby Memorial
- Desert Succulent Garden
- Great Lawn
- Mangrove Baywalk
- Palm Groves:
- Tropical Zone
- Coastal Zone
- Native Florida:
- Tidal Lagoon
- Hardwood Hammock
- Display Gardens:
- Bromeliad Garden
- Green Roof
- Edible Garden
- Fragrance Garden
- Butterfly Garden
- Christy Payne Mansion: Home to the Museum of Botany & the Arts
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens hosts numerous events throughout the year such as Lights in Bloom (a winter holiday celebration), Tropical Fourth of July Celebration, Orchid Ball and Spring and Fall Garden Concert Series. The Gardens also hosts lectures and seminars and a Plant and Garden Festival.
Self-guided and tour guide-led tours are available for groups of 10 or more people.
Annual Visitation: 170,000 visitors per year, including attendees at events, conferences, meetings, receptions and weddings.
Volunteers: Nearly 800 volunteers contribute more than 61,000 hours per year.
Members: 11,000 member households.
Property: Nearly 15 acres located along Sarasota Bay across from Siesta Key, including 9 acres of display gardens. The property is bounded by US 41 to the North, Orange Street to the East and Hudson Bayou to the South.
Education & Arts: About 8,600 children visit each year through school and family visits. We host 350 classes and workshops each year for 1,600+ adults and children. A series of academic lectures are hosted October through May of each year, and botanical art exhibits are on display in the Museum of Botany and the Arts, housed in historic Christie Payne Mansion.
Botanic Research: Our botanists carry out research in the laboratory and the greenhouses, and travel throughout the tropics and subtropics of the Americas to study plants. They have discovered or described more than 2,000 plant species previously unknown to science.
3.5 full-time staff members specialize in botanical inventory, classification (of Bromeliaceae, Gesneriaceae and Orchidaceae using morphology and molecular biology), and conservation with emphasis on New World epiphytes and their forest canopy habitats.
Selby Botanical Gardens Press: Selbyana, a peer-reviewed research journal, has been published since 1975; Tropical Dispatch, the Gardens’ magazine, is published three times a year.