Tagoutdoors

FIT Botanical Gardens

On one of our adventures this week, we took the kids to the FIT Botanical Gardens. This is another great free place to spend a few hours, and it’s right on the campus of the Florida Institute of Technology!

Parking is located off of S. Babock Street. There are a few spots designated to the garden, so get their early to secure yourself a parking space. After parking, you walk down a large covered bridge to reach the garden. If you are visiting in the summer (as we were), make sure to bring your bug spray! It’s definitely humid and buggy in the gardens.

Garden Entrance

You can stop at one of the picnic tables here to have some lunch, and then start walking about the trails. There are several paved trails in the area with walks along a tiny stream. You’ll see a map posted near the entrance. You can view it on the bottom of this page as well.

FIT Botanical Gardens

Trails

Once you get on the paved trail, it walks you along a small stream where you can look for fish. There are a couple of opportunities to venture off the paved path to a wooded trail in the back, but it’s fairly overgrown. We enjoyed just staying on the path and taking in the scenery.

The path takes about 30 min to an hour to walk around. There are some pavilions along the trail that you can stop to take a rest. Also, there you will find a large courtyard area near the front of the gardens. The courtyard is laid with pavers and has a shaded pavilion and a pond as well.

FIT Botanical Garden pond and Courtyard

While we were stopped in the courtyard, the kids spotted more fish and a couple of yellow belly slider turtles as well. The turtle were very friendly!

Turtles in the Pond

When you make your way back towards the picnic tables by the entrance, you will notice a large building called the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. The center was closed while we were visiting on a Sunday, but this is another free attraction that is right next to the garden. It offers different exhibits throughout the year.

So, we spent about an hour at the FIT botanical gardens. It was summer and we were hot! You could stay much longer in a nicer season. Also, here is a map of the gardens to guide you while walking around:

FIT Botanical Garden Map

If you’re looking for more to do tin the area, don’t miss our page on the Melbourne area to find some other budget friendly activities!

FIT Botanical Gardens
Website: https://www.fit.edu/garden/
Facebook
Phone: (321) 309-3836

Map:

Outdoor Day at the Environmental Learning Center

View of one of the ELC trails

When you would like to spend a day outside in Florida nature, take a trip to Vero Beaches’ Environmental Learning Center (the ELC for short)! The center offers a variety of trails and boardwalks along the mangroves of the Indian River Lagoon, kayaking and canoe tours, nature walks, and children’s programs. You can visit their website for a schedule of their upcoming events.

ELC Boardwalk Trail

Our first stop was to take a walk along one of the boardwalks. They have two looping boardwalk trails, one that leads out to a platform where you can view the river. This is also where they have their guided canoe and kayak trips. They even have see through canoes!

Native Florida Plants for sale

Along the way, right before you get to the boardwalk, we discovered they have a huge selection of native Florida plants for sale! We can’t wait to get some of these for our yard here… excellent for the local wildlife.

Humpback Whale Jawbone

After walking the trail we came back toward the entrance and found this amazing giant humpback whale jawbone! Near the jawbone there is a shaded little area under the buildings with picnic tables and hammocks where the kids can stop to have a packed lunch or play on the hammocks.

Tadpole Pond

We then stopped back by the main office, where your kids can grab a bag for seining in the pond. The bag includes a net, a little jar, and a pair of binoculars. We let the kids take their shoes off and wade in the pond. They could have spent hours here looking for tadpoles!!

Our last adventure of the day was back by the entrance to the ELC. There is a small area off to the right side, where there is an outdoor mud kitchen. This was the best part! The kids made pretend “cakes” and breads’. I love that they have a rain barrel with mesh over it to collect water for the kids to use. It has a little faucet at the bottom for them to take water out. I want one for my kids mud kitchen at home!

Overall we had an excellent day at the ELC. The two places that we did not stop on this trip, was the touch tank area (which is indoors and upstairs). and the butterfly garden. We ran out of time! Next time we will have to stop by.

The ELC is free on the first Saturday or every month (check their Facebook for an update to be sure before going). Regular price is $5 for kids and $7 for adults. If you go, pick a nice day and plan to spend several hours outside.

Environmental Learning Center
Monday – Saturday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(772) 589-5050
255 Live Oak Drive
Vero Beach, Fl 32963
Located on the western base of the Wabasso Bridge on the 510 Causeway