Written by Sheri McLeroy and Scott DeBerry
Click on the photos below for a larger view.
The name Kanapaha (Kuh-NAP-uh-hah) comes from two Timucua Indian words that mean “palmetto leaves” and “house.” Together, these two words refer to the thatched dwellings that were the homes of the original human inhabitants of the forests bordering a lake that lies within the present-day Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. At the time of the American Revolution, English naturalist William Bartram used to take a well-used Indian game trail in this area to prepare his detailed journals describing the Lake Kanapaha region. That old Indian game trail became the original entrance road to the gardens.
Today, you can easily navigate to the well-marked gardens from State Road 24 (also called Archer Road) just west of Gainesville. Admission is $7 plus tax for adults, less for children 6-13, and children under 6 years are admitted at no charge. The gardens are open six days a week, closed on Thursdays.
Once inside, you will enjoy strolling the long and winding trails throughout the woods and gardens. You can explore 25 specialty gardens which include a variety of interesting themes such as: Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, Water Gardens, Palm Hammock, Bamboo Garden, and many more.
If you are up for a day of exploring and enjoy walking, then you will take pleasure in the fact that the East Gardens are about a one-mile loop and the West Gardens are about a half-mile. There are a total of 62 acres of gardens, trails, and water features to enjoy at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.
Adventure Tips from Sheri:
When preparing for a trip to visit Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, you should allow at least one and a half hours to explore the grounds. However, the tour could easily take two to three hours if you enjoy taking photos.
Water, drinks, and small snacks can be purchased at the ticket counter. Sheri recommends you consider picking those up as you leave as you will certainly be ready for a cold drink on our warm spring and summer days.
That’s all the adventure details for now. Enjoy your time exploring this beautiful spot and remember to post a few photos of your trip to share with others on Your Gallery.