Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. These include the state's largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast. Some of Kanapaha's gardens are organized taxonomically; others demonstrate principles of ecology or natural selection. Kanapaha's signature plants include a premier stand of Chinese royal bamboo (Wong Chuk), and--during the warm months--giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums. The months offering the most color are June through September. Excluding special events like our Spring Garden Festival and Moonlight Walk, dogs are permitted on leashes.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a 62 acre facility founded, developed, funded and operated by the North Florida Botanical Society, a non-profit educational organization. In 1978, the Society signed a lease agreement with Alachua County whereby it gained access to a 33 acre tract of land for the development of a public botanical garden; in 1982, an additional 29 acre parcel was added to the lease, bringing Kanapaha Botanical Gardens to its present size. The Gardens' name is derived from its proximity to 250 acre Lake Kanapaha. The word Kanapaha is derived from the Timucua Indian words for "palmetto leaf" and "house." Taken together, they refer to the thatched dwellings that were home to the original residents of a small Timucua village on the western shore of Lake Kanapaha. Between 1978 and 1987, the infrastructure and initial plantings were completed and Kanapaha Botanical Gardens was formally opened to the public on October 16, 1987.
Kanapaha's walkways are largely wheelchair accessible and benches, gazebos and other rest stations are liberally spaced throughout the facility. Dogs are permitted. An exceptional gift shop offers a varied and unusual array of items including original art and treasures from the natural world.
Kanapaha hosts many special events throughout the year including North Central Florida's premier horticultural event, the Spring Garden Festival. Another must see is our Moonlight Walk where over 1500 luminaries are featured as well as live music. We also have a bamboo sale in the winter.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a perfect venue for wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, meetings, retreats, conferences and other social functions with both indoor and outdoor rental opportunities.