Kauai Botanical Gardens
“Water” you waiting for? It’s here! The new Waterfall and Cultural Tour has just been unveiled by the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which has been launched at the McBryde Garden. This site, which was previously inaccessible, is now open to guests. The hidden oasis lies within the tropical forest of the Lawai Valley and has historically been a spot where Queen Emma would frequently visit in the 1800s. Guests that embark on this tour will learn about the valley, the home of Hawaiian Royalty, and the changing landscape leading up to the Sugar Cane Plantation days, and today where the land has now become a sanctuary for exotic and endangered plants. During the tour, the guides will also lead guests through the Canoe Garden, providing insight into the plants that were Brought along ancient Polynesian voyages. Breadfruit, taro, kava, and more will be introduced to guests! As a bonus, guests will have the opportunity to interact with an 8’ star compass to discover how ancient Hawaiians were able to navigate the open sea using ocean currents and star constellations.
The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) is, as quoted on their website, “dedicated to the tropical plant research, conservation, and education since 1964.” The organization encompasses a network of five botanical gardens, preserves, and research facilities in varying locations in Hawaii, as well as in Florida:
Allerton Garden (Kauai)
Kahanu Garden (Big Island)
Limahuli Garden & Preserve (Kauai)
McBryde Garden (Kauai)
The Kampong Garden (Florida)
This expansive operation covers almost 2,000 acres; for scale, the average household sits atop 0.20 acres.
The organization offers multiple ways to get involved, learn, and experience the most unique collection of plant species in the world. The most common way is booking a tour at one of the many gardens under their system. You will be guided around private property, become educated on all the different species under their care, and enjoy the company of others that share the same interests. Volunteer opportunities are always available simply by contacting them directly and providing any required information. Courses, lectures, and workshops are provided year-round at all of their locations. Students have the benefit of enrolling in Fall internships to work along the amazing staff members and expand their knowledge of all operations from “A to Z.”
Thinking about plants all day can prove tiresome, so when a break is needed, the NTBG hosts some fun public events for friends, families, and anyone interested. Taro festivals, fun-runs/walks, yoga sessions, 4th of July celebrations, movie nights, hula shows, and more! Check out their website here to stay up to date at what is happening and where. Their events are always evolving, always incorporating current interests, so whether you go for the extra curricular activities or to explore the gardens, fun is to be had either way.
Na Aina Kai (“Lands by the sea”) Botanical Gardens is quite the hidden gem in . Most know Kilauea for the lighthouse, but this wonderful 240 acre garden is not to be missed. With 70 life size (some bigger then life size!) bronze statues scattered through out the property and something for everyone: waterfalls, pools, arbors, topiaries, colonnades, gazebos, a poinciana maze, a lagoon with spouting fountains, a Japanese teahouse, and little path along a stream that leads to the ocean. Even those that don’t think they like botanical gardens will have a change of heart after going on one of the tours.
The vision of one of the original founders, Joyce Doty, was to have the gardens be an ever evolving work of art that they are still achieving today. Tours are done Tuesday through Friday; a variety of different tours are offered, from 1 1/2 hours ($35) to 5 hours ($85) long, ranging from casual, guided strolls and rides in the covered CarTram to treks from one end of the gardens to the ocean. It just depends on what you are interested in seeing. If you are travelling with kids I suggest the family tour; it’s great for everyone and the kids get to play in the water park at the gardens. If you happen to be here on their Keiki Day (usually the last Saturday of the month) it’s only $10 for kids to go in and enjoy the childrens garden.
Not only are the gardens a great spot to come and learn about flora and fauna of Kauai, but they also do weddings and events here. With many options of where they can hold your special day or big event, you are sure to end up with beautiful venue.
Allerton Garden (Lawa`i Kai) is a garden paradise, transformed through time by the hands of a Hawaiian Queen, a sugar plantation magnate, an artist and an architect. A series of garden rooms unfold between the Lwa`i Stream and the cliffs of the Valley with the focus on landscape design. This is indicative of the ahupuaa. The sound of water is in abundance in pools, miniature waterfalls, and fountains. Tour the Gardens on your next visit to Kauai, the Garden Isle….
Allerton Garden is managed by the National Tropical Botanical Garden for the Allerton Gardens Trust.
4425 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756