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Botanical park 20 minutes from Miami's airport.

Botanical park 20 minutes from Miami's airport If Florida, the Caribbean, or South America are in your travel plans, you'll probably go through Miami International Airport. This airport is just 20 minutes from Fairchild Tropical Garden--a $15 trip by taxi, each way. An impressive destination in itself, this 83-acre botanical garden is worth even more to anyone who wants to bone up on tropical plants before seeing them in their native ranges. One of the garden's strongest suits is its collection of palms. More than 500 species are represented, and, while they grow throughout the garden, they're concentrated in the Montgomery Palmetum at the entry and in the Bailey Palm Glade. Spend time enough to get familiar with these if you're headed for tropical forest; palms are among the commonest rain-forest trees. As is the case with almost all other plants in the garden, each palm is labeled with a sign giving its botanical name. You can cross-reference this to a common name in the garden's library. Contributing to the garden's tropical feel, a dozen lakes take up much of Fairchild's space. You'll find a mangrove preserve and a hibiscus collection among the lakes and channels in the eastern two-thirds of the garden. Another authentic touch is the presence of alligators; as you walk through the garden, keep an eye open for them. If the proximity of large, meat-eating reptiles makes you nervous, you can take a tram on a 2-mile tour of the garden for $1, 50 cents for ages 12 and under. In the garden's western area, you'll see collections of cycads, arid rock gardens, flowering trees and vines--and an overlook view point which, at 18 feet, is one of the highest points of land in southern Florida. The rain forest, rare-plant house, snack bar, bookstore, and museum are also here. Open from 9:30 to 4:30 every day of the year but Christmas, the Fairchild Tropical Garden is at 10901 Old Cutler Road. Admission is $4 for adults, free for ages 12 and under.

PHOTO : Trunkless tree or shrubby palm? It's a puzzle, as is the plant's common name: Cuban

PHOTO : petticoat

PHOTO : She feels tropical American bromeliad in garden's rain forest
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Fairchild Tropical Garden, Florida
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1988
Words:366
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