Mckee Botanical Garden

Mckee Botanical Garden

The McKee Botanical Garden (area of 18 acres (7.3 hectares)) is a non-profit, subtropical botanical garden in Vero Beach, Florida. It is located at 350 U.S. Highway 1, Vero Beach, Florida. It was founded in 1929, when Waldo Sexton and Arthur G. McKee purchased an 80-acre (32 ha) tropical hammock along the Indian River. Tropical landscape architect William Lyman Phillips was hired to design its streams, ponds, and trails. Its indigenous vegetation was augmented with ornamental plants and seeds from around the world. In 1932, they proceeded to open the garden, then known as McKee Jungle Gardens, as a tourist attraction. Although the Garden was successful for several decades, it shut down in 1976, and most of its land was sold for development. The site remained vacant for twenty years until the Indian River Land Trust purchased it in 1995. The current Garden was formally dedicated in 2001. It is now a Florida landmark and on January 7, 1998, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places under its former name of McKee Jungle Gardens. Currently, there are several buildings on the garden including the office, gift shop, education center and a restaurant.
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Mckee Botanical Garden

For Treasure Coast residents and visitors, that vision will become reality Nov. 1 when Patisserie Vero Beach, the popular downtown bakery and café, opens a second location inside McKee Botanical Garden. “For us, it was a natural fit,” Christine Hobart, McKee’s executive director, said of the new partnership. “There’s a lot of crossover with our visitors here and those who go to Patisserie downtown, so it seemed like a great idea.” But that wasn’t the only reason McKee chose the French-inspired American bakery to fill the garden’s on-site café, once occupied by Osceola Bistro. There also was an appreciation of Patisserie’s flair to turn food into art. “They’re very creative and McKee’s very creative, so that fits in with us, our events here,” Hobart said. “They already want to branch out and do afternoon tea. I mean how perfect is that? I think our visitors are going to just love the addition.”Patisserie’s owners, Christian Garcia and chef Mark Edmonds, said they had been eyeing this new partnership for a while.  They opened Patisserie on Old Dixie Highway in the heart of Vero Beach’s downtown four years ago, and said they hope the McKee café will be just as successful. “It was really a building process,” said Garcia, about the bakery’s start. “It was people getting to know us, what we do and them really just liking our food.”
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Mckee Botanical Garden

Located on a tropical hammock at the southern gateway to Vero Beach, Florida, McKee Botanical Garden is where native plants and exotic botanicals combine with Old Florida charm. Follow the Garden’s pathways through a grove of majestic palms; past tranquil streams accented with colorful waterlilies. Explore 18 acres of natural landscape preserved and restored to the vision of its founders. Discover trees, waterfalls and historic structures each with their own unique story. In addition to horticultural beauty, McKee Botanical Garden is a valued resource for cultural enrichment, hosting a variety of programs each season including world-class art exhibits, educational offerings and special events. The Garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been endorsed by The Garden Conservancy as a project of National Significance. McKee Botanical Garden is a private, not-for-profit organization that continues to grow and develop through the support of individuals, foundations and corporations, and from income generated through admissions, gift shop sales and rentals. We look forward to your visit!
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You don’t have to be a horticulture enthusiast to appreciate McKee Botanical Garden. With a storied history of near-development, rescue and restoration, these 18 acres of natural landscape is a wonderland to behold. Stroll through a grove of majestic palms, past waterfalls and tranquil streams dotted with colorful water lilies. The McKee Botanical Garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been endorsed by The Garden Conservancy as a project of National Significance. We couldn’t agree more. McKee Botanical Garden features: More than 10,000 native and tropical plants One of Florida’s largest and most celebrated collections of water lilies Several restored architectural treasures A variety of cultural and educational programs Lunch is available in the cafe Tuesday-Sunday, November-May
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Patisserie’s owners think the community appreciates that they use many local and organic ingredients. “I think we filled a niche that people were looking to be filled,” Edmonds said. “People were looking for something different and homemade and just real food and the McKee space will give us that many more tables to do this.”Patisserie’s owners credit their success to their committed customers. Besides being a routine stop for folks to pick up their morning coffee, the café has become a local hot spot to socialize with friends and colleagues. “It’s become a gathering place and it’s been really nice to be a part of the community beyond just the food and the coffee,” Garcia said.  Vero Beach artist Barry Shapiro, who frequents the café, is one of many customers looking forward to the opening of their new spot at McKee. “My wife and I are big fans of botanical gardens and we just love that they’re partnering together,” said Shapiro, who admitted he’s addicted to Patisserie’s almond croissants. “So the idea of being able to go over to McKee and enjoy the gardens and some Patisserie treats is awesome.” The owners are excited to reach new customers as well.
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Patisserie Vero Beach is at 1910 Old Dixie Highway in Vero Beach. Seasonal hours are 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday.-Friday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday. Information: 772-770-4122 or www.patisserieverobeach.com.The hours at Patisserie’s McKee location will be similar to the garden’s. There will be a café-only entrance for people who wish to pick up orders or who want to stay for breakfast or lunch without paying admission into the garden.The offerings at the McKee café will be the same as what’s served at the downtown bakery. All items will be produced daily at thedowntown site and transported to McKee, where finishing touches may be applied.Patisserie was recently awarded the “Snail of Approval” award by Slow Food Gold and Treasure Coast for incorporating Slow Food Values into their business. The award recognizes businesses that incorporate locally grown, sustainably produced and raised products.
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You don’t have to be a horticulture enthusiast to appreciate McKee Botanical Garden. With a storied history of near-development, rescue and restoration, these 18 acres of natural landscape is a wonderland to behold. Stroll through a grove of majestic palms, past waterfalls and tranquil streams dotted with colorful water lilies.
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Hobart and garden staff hope the returning exhibit will continue to wow visitors’ eyes and minds. “It’s not just Legos, it’s learning about nature, about gardening, about wildlife,” said Hobart, who is optimisticthe exhibit will encourage visitors to take a break from technology. For local engineer and grandmother Amanda Hanks, the Lego exhibit at McKee sparks sentimental memories.
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As a child, Hanks’ grandmother would take her to a similar garden in Orlando to share her love of nature. Hanks does the same with her own grandchildren, but now she can share her love of engineering because of the Lego blocks. “Having McKee partner with Lego for the ‘Nature Connects’ exhibit in Vero Beach is a dream come true for me to continue the tradition that my grandmother started,” Hanks said. “Now I can take my two granddaughters to a hands-on exhibit that exposes them to nature, creativity and engineering without having to drive to Orlando or Miami.”
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“We couldn’t be more excited,” said Christine Hobart, McKee’s executive director about the return of the award-winning exhibit “Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks” by artist Sean Kenney. After mesmerizing children and adults in January 2015, 12 new sculptures (and a building station) help make up 14 different displays, using half a million Legos. “It was probably the only exhibition we’ve had that literally the day that it left, everyone asked when are you bringing it back,” Hobart said. “We don’t usually do the same exhibition or same artist so quickly, but it was so popular and transcends so many generations we decided why not.”Included in the exhibit are a giant butterfly, a bald eagle and a praying mantis.
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“Nature Connects” features 27 sculptures making up 14 displays created from nearly 500,000 Lego bricks.Ranging in size from 6 inches to almost 8 feet, the largest sculpture is a mother bison, made from 45,143 bricks. (This was in the previous exhibit at McKee.)All of Sean Kenney’s sculptures are built with regular, off-the-shelf Legos. He uses only the basic rectangular and flat Legos for his sculptures and only in readily available colors. The pink color he used to build the giant lily and moth orchid, which will be on display during this visit, are limited and hard to find.Each sculpture has an internal structure built with steel rods and plates, which provide support and balance for the large works.Surrounding the support structure, each sculpture is constructed entirely from Legos, glued together using only the connections of the bricks, one at a time. For this exhibit, Kenney and his small studio team used 4 gallons of glue.Kenney sketches his ideas on special graph paper he designed in the shape and size of the actual Lego bricks.When adding up the time spent creating this exhibition, Kenney figured if an individual were to work just 40 hours a week, from start to finish it would take 2½ years. He did it in just eight months.