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Gateway to the Gardens

Capital Campaign for a New Welcome Center Campus

We’re reimagining the entry to Flamingo Gardens!

As part of Flamingo Gardens’ Master Plan, the Board of Trustees is planning for a new $6 million renovation of the entry way to Flamingo Gardens and the existing Welcome Center. The current building is 70+ years old, and its original wood frame construction is in severe disrepair. Its facilities are outdated and inadequate, and no longer meet the current needs of the 250,000 plus annual visitors to Flamingo Gardens.

Blending the contemporary and the historic, the legacy of Floyd & Jane Wray and Flamingo Gardens Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary will continue with our most ambitious expansion and preservation of the Gardens to date.

The Gateway to the Gardens, opening by 2030, will honor the Wray’s vision as we enhance one of South Florida’s most significant historic properties. The Gateway project will provide sustainability, resiliency, and accessibility for the Gardens, while maintaining its serenity for future generations to enjoy.

In the past decade, attendance to Flamingo Gardens has more than doubled. The Gateway to the Gardens campaign is designed to amplify our organization’s leadership as environmental stewards and provide for the growing desire of visitors to experience our gardens and wildlife sanctuary.

A New Welcome Center

The centerpiece of the Gateway to the Gardens campaign will be the future Welcome Center.

The Welcome Center will be a place of introduction and the gateway to Flamingo Gardens. It is also critical to the continuance of our mission. Here, technology and nature will work in harmony to provide a world-class guest experience for over 250,000 visitors annually. These guests account for almost 75% of Flamingo Gardens’ operating revenue!

Entry Garden and Courtyard

Before guests even enter the Welcome Center, the Entry Garden will set the tone for the visitor with a dynamic, diverse landscape of plant species that beautifully illustrate Flamingo Gardens’ mission. Designed to break up the vast expanse of parking and mitigate rainwater runoff, the Entry Gardens will demonstrate aesthetic and responsible landscaping with water-wise native plants and retention areas.

The Entry Courtyard, which connects the new Mary N. Porter Learning Center with the future Welcome Center, will be a comfortable gathering space for visitors to assemble before entering the Gardens or attending a class or meeting in the Learning Center. Here, visitors will be able to congregate, use restroom facilities, and purchase refreshments before entering the Welcome Center. The Courtyard may also be used for exhibit displays as well as an area for receptions and gathering.

Entry Lobby

The Entry Lobby will provide updated and expanded visitor amenities—a visitor information desk, luggage check, ticketing, ADA accessible restrooms, educational videos, and exhibit spaces. Its size will accommodate our growing number of visitors. The Lobby will allow easy access to both the Gift Shop and the Courtyard Café. All visitor services will be accessible on the main floor—no steps or elevators required. Breathtaking, wide views of the Arboretum landscapes will lie beyond the double-height southern wall of glass and a large window wall to the west. 

Design elements of wood and stone invite elements of the outdoors inside. Exposed wood beams above echo the branches of the towering trees just beyond the glass window walls, while stone floors below extend to the outdoor courtyard and Gateway Garden.

Gateway Garden

The Gateway Garden, as the entry point, will embody the splendor of the Arboretum. Just outside the Lobby doors, will be a gathering space framed by the Garden Shop and a living plant wall leading into the Arboretum. Here visitors can plan their descent into the Gardens. An information station and restrooms will be conveniently located for the convenience of guests.

A new bridge will replace the old wooden ramp and span a renovated streambed into the Arboretum. Expanded orchid displays will line the entry and bridge with an automated misting system creating a fog from under the bridge, leading to the Aranda Garden and waterfall. Rescued parrots and other psittacine will be strategically placed among the tropical plants and lead to the entry of the future Outdoor Classroom and Café Courtyard.

Café & Courtyard

The Café & Courtyard will lie just outside the Welcome Center Lobby. The Courtyard Concession will offer express dining options and beverages to enjoy on the go, whereas the Café will afford visitors the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely meal amidst the Arboretum, while enjoying the changing orchid displays and spectacular views. The Courtyard will also serve as an additional area for receptions as well as art and exhibit display.

Everglades Outdoor Classroom

Just past the Gateway Garden will be the entry to the Outdoor Classroom which will explore Broward County’s Everglades habitat and wildlife corridor. The classroom will enhance existing educational programing, incorporating wildlife conservation elements, and creating interactive learning opportunities for visitors of varying abilities. The Outdoor Classroom will feature a sensory garden for visitors who are visually and hearing-impaired, a quiet zone for those in need of a tranquil environment, and easy access for persons with mobility challenges.

The Outdoor Classroom may also be entered on the north side just before the exit through the Gift Shop.

Gift Shop

The Gift Shop will be open during operating hours and accessible with or without Garden admission. It will offer a wide selection of Flamingo Gardens branded souvenirs and apparel, nature and wildlife inspired gifts, as well as plants and gardening resources. Visitors will exit the Gardens through the Gift Shop, in addition to having access through the Welcome Center Lobby.

Mary N. Porter Learning Center

The newly constructed Mary N. Porter Learning Center provides 3,000 sq. ft. of multi-purpose meeting, classroom, and exhibition space with new ADA restrooms accessible to guests outside of the Gardens. Being located in the Entry Gardens Courtyard, near the parking lot, allows for easy and safe access for meetings and classes held after hours or in the evening. The Mary N. Porter Learning Center was Phase I of the Gateway to the Gardens Campaign and opened in Fall of 2022. The Learning Center was funded with a total of $1.6 million, which included a lead naming gift of $500,000 from the Mary N. Porter Legacy Fund of the Community Foundation of Broward.

Donna Ogdon Chen
Senior Director of Development
(954) 473-2955 x127
[email protected]

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