When international horticulturist and “plant explorer” David Fairchild retired to Miami  in the mid-1930s, he had amassed a lifetime’s worth of knowledge on rare and exotic plants from around the world. That knowledge—and some of Dr. Fairchild’s samples—went into the creation of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd., 305/667-1651, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily, $20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 children, children 5 and under free).
The facility has grown considerably since it first opened in the late 1930s, adding auditoriums, education buildings, and several labs and greenhouses along the way. Today, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a preeminent destination for plant lovers and is one of the best botanical gardens in a state filled with botanical gardens.
More than 4,000 plants are on display throughout its 83 acres, including palms, orchids, and bromeliads as well as more exotic species like rare Asian fruit trees, all of which are well-maintained and informatively marked.
Visitors in a hurry should avail themselves of the 45-minute guided tram tour, but the best way to take in these beautiful gardens is to devote half a day to lazily wandering the grounds.