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Bonnet House Museum & Gardens - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Pictures from a visit to the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens located at 900 N. Birch Rd. in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

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The Welcome Center

Raccoon Drinking Water

The Fruit Grove

The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens are situated in Ft. Lauderdale on 35 acres of a pristine barrier island that separates the Atlantic Ocean in the East from the Intra Coastal Waterway to the West.

Also known as the Bartlett Estate, this treasured South Florida attraction was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and is also designated as a City of Fort Lauderdale Historic Landmark.

The main entrance can be reached at 900 North Birch Rd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304 and the administration's phone number is 954-563-5393.

From Tuesday through Saturday, the Bonnet House is open to the public from 10am to 4pm. On Sunday the hours are 12pm to 4pm. The gates are closed on Mondays, and some holidays.

Bonnet House Museum
Palm Trees
Lawn & Shade Trees
The price of admission for adults is $20.00 and includes access to the gardens and a tour of the main house. If you're just interested in seeing the flora & fauna that reside on the grounds, you can opt to pay only $10 and skip the estate tour. There are discounted admission prices for senior citizens, groups, and children.
Secondary Dune Sign
Xeriscape Landscaping
Desert Garden Sign
The story of the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens began in 1893 when Hugh Taylor Birch bought these 35 acres of land with 3 miles of oceanfront property in Ft. Lauderdale for less than $1.00 per acre. Then in 1920, Mr. Birch gifted the property to his daughter Helen and her new husband, Frederic Clay Bartlett, as a wedding gift. Frederic was an American artist who was originally from Chicago, IL. From then on, Hugh Taylor Birch and the new married couple spent their winters enjoying the sunny South Florida weather.
Bonnet House Slough
Swans Swimming In Lake
In 1920, construction of the Bonnet House began and continued for over 20 years. The Bartlett's estate was given it's name after the Bonnet lily which grows on the grounds. Frederic and Helen loved to travel the world, collect art, and create artwork, all of which helped shape the design, furnishing and ambiance of the Bonnet House.
Spatterdocks & Lily Pond
The Pavilion Lounge 1936
Bonnet House Lake
Sadly, in 1925 Helen Birch passed away. A collection of Post Impressionist paintings was donated to the Art Institute of Chicago as a memorial to her life's work. Six years later, Frederic married Evelyn Fortune Lily who helped him further the extensive collection of art, plant life, and architectural additions which have remained largely unchanged to the present day. After Frederic's passing in 1953, Evelyn continued to spend her winters at the estate until she gifted the entire property to the Florida Trust For Historic Preservation in 1983. Both the Smithsonian Institution and the National Trust For Historic Preservation played a role in helping make sure that the Bonnet House is protected for future generations to enjoy.
The Chickee Bridge
The Fountain 1942
Marble Face Statue
Before the Birch and Bartlett families owned the land, other groups that roamed the area included the Tequesta Indians, the Spanish explorers and the U.S. Lifesaving Service that built a "House of Refuge" for shipwrecked sailors in 1876.
Maritime Hammock Sign
Coontie - Zamia Pumila
Beach Path & Hammock

I captured some videos of the critters we saw during this visit using my Canon S5 IS digital camera and edited them together using Adobe Premiere. The movie is about 3 minutes long, has a file size of 29mb (megabytes) and is encoded in the WMV (Windows Media) format. Click on the following link to view my Bonnet House Video Clip. To download the movie to your hard drive, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" (Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As" (Mozilla Firefox).

Palm Fronds
Grey Squirrel On Tree
Rear of Main House

Mr. Birch spent his winters with Evelyn & Frederic until 1941 when at the age of 93 he had a beachfront home built just north of the Bonnet House in an area which is now the Birch State Park & Recreation Area.

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Swan Eating Small Fish
The Bonnet House grounds are a barrier island ecosystem that has a buttonwood & mangrove swamp area, a desert garden, a fruit grove and a coastal hammock. Some of the plant species that grow on the land were planted by the Bartlett's after they brought home seeds from their travels in Europe.
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A wide variety of animals reside or have been seen within these 35 acres including Brazilian Squirrel Monkeys, swans, turtles, Japanese Koi fish, squirrels, green iguanas, foxes, raccoons, wildcats, panthers, fiddler crabs, and manatees.

White Swan Swimming
Large Fish In Pond
In the "Desert Garden", Mr. Bartlett planted Yucca, Century Plants, Saw Palmetto, and Silver Palms. Just a few of the other species that grow within the Bonnet House grounds include Coconut Palms, Melaleuca trees, Mangrove trees, Screw Pines, Mango, Avocado, Sapodilla, Guava, Rose Apple, Surinam Cherry, Mulberry, Calabash, citrus trees, Paradise trees, Australian Pines, Wild Coffee, Gumbo Limbo, Seagrape, and Sabal Palms.
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During this visit, we decided to skip the house tour and just walk around the trails to photograph the animals, trees, plants and flowers. Next time I'd like to go inside and see the tranquil courtyards, the fountains, the studio, the art lined loggia breezeways, the music room, the Carl Weinhardt Jr. Gallery, Frederic's Studio and the lavish dining room.
Swan In Shadows
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Swan Head Close Up
We're members of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens located in the Coral Gables suburb of Miami, which is part of the American Horticultural Society's (AHS) Reciprocal Garden Program. With the membership card, we get free or discounted admission into over 200 attractions across the USA and Canada. Luckily, Bonnet House is on that list so we can go back again for free. If you enjoy your visit, consider becoming a member to help support the attraction and enjoy the fringe benefits.

The other attractions in South Florida that are on the AHS's reciprocal list, besides the Fairchild, include the Flamingo Gardens & Wildlife Sanctuary in Davie, the American Orchid Society (AOS) in Delray Beach, and the Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach.

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