I’ve been really busy this summer. Most of you know that I have summers “off” because I am a pediatric speech therapist in a local school district. But, what you might not know is that while I do have some of the summer off, I continue to work during June and July. I mean, I can’t complain when the Monday-Thursday hours are 8 am to 1 pm. Pretty nice, huh?
So, what to do with myself for the rest of day? I worked on Wife with Baggage a lot, exercised as often as possible and collaborated with Discover Palm Beaches to bring you guys more information on how you and your favorite travel companions can explore South Florida and Palm Beach County. I am a huge proponent of staycations and exploring your own backyard. So, one day after working with kiddos in the morning I set out for the Morikami Japanese Museum + Gardens to visit an interesting piece of history and beauty in South Florida.
A sprawling and continuous concrete jungle spans from the southern tip of Miami to north of West Palm Beach, Florida. Over fifty miles of land is covered with homes, roads, businesses, malls and the like. We have everything we could need and want here, except enough parks, gardens and green spaces. The Japanese Gardens satisfy this need beautifully.
The gardens are organized (I do love order and structure!) in chronological order. I did not know what this meant at first, but with a little reading, talking and listening, I figured out that the Japanese adapted and changed their gardening “styles” over the centuries. There are six distinct gardens, styles and plants, to explore on the 1.1 miles of pathways as you meander your way through the Japanese Gardens.
Besides the obvious serene beauty, the Morikami Japanese Garden offers a few special features. These distinguishing elements will definitely enhance your experience at the Morikami Japanese Gardens.
The Water Cooler is a huge bonus. I visited the gardens in July. Shady garden paths were ample in the gardens (thankfully!), but so were these great water “fountains.” Great thinking for sure!
I was obsessed with the cell phone tour. I typically would have my phone turned on silent in a place such as this. Who else gets annoyed when people peck away texting and taking “selfies” while they should be enjoying the views? But I had to make an exception to try to their cell phone tour. Don’t worry, no “selfies” were taken. The tour uses your phone’s location (GPS) to tell you about features in the gardens. There are also plaques throughout the garden so that you can access the information that you want as well. You launch the tour from their website.
I will admit that prior to my visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens I was not impressed with Bonsai. Yes, I knew that the little trees were highly regarded and required copious amounts of work, but that was the extent of my schema. Thanks to the cell phone tour, and other patrons, I have a better understanding and appreciation for the art of Bonsai. You know what they say – “good things come in small packages!”
While the museum exhibits come and go (Samurai swords and paper sculptures fascinated me during my tour!), Yamato Island houses a permanent exhibit. The structure on the island is the original building in the garden and is home to displays and exhibits named “Japan Through the Eyes of a Child” and “The Yamato Colony: Pioneering Japanese in Florida.” It is a glimpse into Japanese culture and the history of Japanese settlement here in South Florida. It is full of fun facts. Go ahead, you have my permission to geek out; I did!
I enjoyed my afternoon at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. I loved the calm I felt as I strolled through the manicured gardens. I marveled at the fact that the property is in the middle of suburbia, but is able to transport you to another time and place with its plants and exhibits. What a worthwhile place to spend a summer day exploring my own backyard!
Disclaimer: Entrance fees to the Morikami Museum + Japanese Gardens were waived as part of a collaboration between Wife with Baggage and Discover the Palm Beaches. All opinions and photos are my own.