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Kanapaha gardens in Gainesville

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Complete Guide | 🌼 What to Do & How to Spend Your Day

Last Updated on: 7th May 2023, 01:00 pm

Thinking about spending a day at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens? You can easily spend an entire day wandering the paths through the gardens and enjoying all there is to offer. The gardens were first created and established in 1978 and have been the destination for locals, tourists, and traveling business people ever since they opened to the public in 1986. Without proper planning and research, you may miss part of the massive 68 acre slice of bliss, so we wanted to provide something for our customers to refer to, ensuring they get the most out of this Gainesville, Florida attraction. 

Here’s everything you need to know, like whether the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens are free, what events take place, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens membership options, hours of operation, and more.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Overview


General Information

  • Address: Summer House, 4700 SW 58th Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608
  • Phone: (352) 372-4981
  • Hours: Monday 9am-5pm, Tuesday 9am-5pm, Wednesday 9am-5pm, Closed Thursday, Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 9am-7pm
  • Entrance fee: $10 Adults, $5 children ages 5-13, Children under 5 are free

The garden is named after Lake Kanapaha, a 250 acre lake located nearby. The Timucua word “Kanapaha” originates from combining the words for “house” and “palmetto leaves”.  The North Florida Botanical Society is a private non-profit organization that manages Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and will be the managing party for some 50 more years as the gardens were leased to them for 90 years.

What You’ll See at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is composed of fifteen different individual major collections. The collections include the arboretum, the azalea/camellia garden, the bamboo garden, a butterfly garden, the crinum garden, the cycad garden, Fern Cobble, an herb garden, a hummingbird garden, Palm Hammock, a rock garden, the rose garden, a large spring flower garden, a vinery, and the woodland garden. 


The North Florida Botanical Society leases the land for a whopping $1 annually, as is the initial agreement. Local community volunteers and landscaping companies saw the gardens as a tourism boon and attraction so they helped with the development from the beginning in 1978. By 1986, ten garden attractions had been finished and a paved walkway with a one mile loop ran through them. Additionally, a full irrigation system complete with six separate gazebos for events and relaxing, as well as two boardwalks that overlooked sink holes had been completed. 

The park has relied on a combination of community service employees and some modestly paid part time help to run the facilities and maintenance. The botanical gardens are a labor of love.

What to Bring When Visiting the Botanical Gardens

Since you’ll be enjoying the great outdoors, you should bring sunscreen, bug spray,  a hat, and a water bottle. You’re also welcome to pack a picnic lunch and blanket to enjoy on the beautiful grounds of the gardens.

Garden Rules and Regulations

The North Florida Botanical Society has established a set of regulations to maintain safety and protect the property, guests, and the organization from potential hazards. These regulations are similar to those found in most Florida public state parks.

To ensure a pleasant visit, it is recommended that visitors familiarize themselves with the following rules:

  • Stay on the designated pathways and grassy areas.
  • Dogs are permitted but must remain on a leash.
  • Radios and musical instruments are not allowed unless authorized.
  • No bicycles, skateboards, scooters, in-line skates 
  • Do not pick any of the plants or attempt to catch animals
  • Do not climb on the rocks, art, or buildings
  • Barbecues and other cooking devices are not permitted.
  • Jogging on sidewalks is not allowed
  • No swimming, wading, or fishing in the fountains, ponds, and lakes.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Events

The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens are open six days a week for regular visits and there are numerous events throughout the year that everyone can enjoy. Standard pricing applies. Events are the best way to gain a different perspective than you’d enjoy on a regular day visit. If you can visit during one of the events you’ll have time to enjoy the gardens and the activities surrounding the particular event. 

There is an online calendar on the site’s events page that is updated regularly, but some of the most common events taking place on the grounds include:

Guided Walks

Guided Walk tours are offered once a month on the first Saturday. Meet at 10am. Expert volunteers will share interesting bits of history while pointing out the best the gardens have to offer so you’re sure not to miss anything!

Camellia Show – January 7th and 8th

The Camellia Show event features prize-winning camellias and is geared toward educating the public about the care, culture, and appreciation of camellias. You can buy Camellias while supplies last.

Bamboo Sale

Kanapaha offers an Annual Winter Bamboo Sale every January. You can view a list of bamboos available for sale, and all bamboos are offered on a dug-to-order basis. More details are available here.

Spring Garden Festival – March 18th and 19th

In the spring, take advantage of the area’s favorite outdoor garden event in Gainesville. The Spring Garden Festival provides various interesting garden displays and over 100 vendor booths. Walk through the festival and check out the available plants, garden accessories, and stunning landscape displays. You can participate in various crafting activities, and enjoy food from several vendors set up at the festival. Entry to the garden festival includes the children’s area, which offers kid-friendly activities, including potting a plant to bring home. More details are available here.

Fall Plant Sale – October 22nd and 23rd

Each October, people flock to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens for the Open House & Fall Plant Sale.  It’s free to visit the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens for the Fall Plant Sale!  Join the Gainesville Orchid Society and Kanapaha Botanical Gardens for this collaborative event and enjoy the botanical gardens and about 50 booths offering plants for sale. This is the best time to visit Kanapaha Botanical Gardens to buy plants for sale. More details are available here.

Special Days

  • Mother’s Day – free admission for mothers 
  • Father’s Day – free admission for fathers 
  • Veteran’s Day – Any active or retired military get free admission

Rentals and Reservations

Need a place for your wedding? Or maybe you want to hold a special birthday, baby shower, graduation celebration, or retirement party? The 68 acre campus has indoor and outdoor spaces available for rental and makes a beautiful backdrop for photographs.


There is something special about outdoor weddings with natural landscapes. The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a unique location to exchange vows and you can be sure you’ll have amazing photos of the day to treasure.

  • Rental fees always include chairs and tables indoors, chairs outside, and can be arranged to fit whatever plans or needs you have.
  • Rental includes access to the gardens for rehearsal. (There are no special hours!)
  • Rental fee also waives the regular cost of admission for up to 100 guests.
  • Rental Coordinator: Mischella Reed-Proebsting
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone Number: 352-372-4981 x103  
  • Office Hours: MWF 9am – 1pm, Tuesday 9am-12pm

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Memberships

We offer various types of memberships to the local community. Memberships are an excellent investment that brings a range of benefits to the table. Along with enjoying peaceful walks through the gardens, meadows, forest, and Koi ponds, memberships also provide discounts on various events and the rental/reservation system.

Our membership options include:

  • Individual Membership: This membership is priced at $40 and is intended for one named adult.
  • Family Membership: For one named adult and up to three children aged 18 or younger, this membership is priced at $50.
  • Two Named Adults Membership: This membership is priced at $55 and includes two named adults.
  • Family Membership Plus: This membership includes two named adults and up to three children aged 18 or younger.It is priced at $65.
  • Business Membership: For $130, this membership allows two named business owners/staff and up to six clients per day. One of the business owners must be present with clients to enter.
  • Additional Card: For an extra fee of $5, you can purchase an extra card for any membership type.

Benefits of a Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Membership

A botanical gardens membership has many benefits, starting with unlimited entry into the gardens. If you live near by, you can take advantage of the beautiful park for a regular stroll as you watch the flowers bloom and change with the seasons. Members also get reduced pricing for events held at the gardens, along with discounted pricing at other local botanical gardens.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens FAQs

Can I volunteer?

Absolutely! Everybody is encouraged to become a volunteer to help improve the local Gainesville community through this beautiful attraction.

How do I become a volunteer?

Call (352) 372-4981 or email [email protected] to get started.

Does Kanapaha accept donations?

Certainly! For anybody who wants to donate funds rather than time, visit this page.

Is Kanapaha Botanical Gardens a dog friendly place?

All pups need to be kept on a leash, but they’re all welcome!

Can you buy plants at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens?

Plants are available for sale during some special events.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a wonderful attraction for tourists and people considering relocation to the Gainesville area. As a member of the Gainesville community, we encourage our customers to check it out and even volunteer! If you need help scheduling and coordinating a Gainesville move, give 2 College Brothers a call at (352) 448-9095 or visit us online. The sooner we get you safely relocated, the sooner you and your family can check out these beautiful gardens.


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