Mounts Botanical Garden is not the biggest or most famous garden in Florida, but it packs a lot in a small space.
Its current special exhibit â€œWashed Ashore, Art to Save the Seaâ€ makes it an especially appealing stop this winter. (The exhibit continues until June 3, 2018.)
Because Mounts began as a demonstration garden, it is full of informative labels and practical tips on how to apply what you see to your own garden.
On our recent visit, however, the stars of the garden were the 10 delightful giant sculptures of sea creatures that comprise the â€œWashed Ashoreâ€ exhibition.
The pieces, handmade, some as large as 15 feet long and 10 feet wide, are all assembled from recycled debris gathered on Pacific beaches. Itâ€™s a project of Oregon artist and educator Angela Haseltine Pozzi, who has created a non-profit organization that has recycled tons of plastic pollution from beaches and created dozens of monumental works of art. Â (More about Washed Ashore.)
The special exhibition is surprisingly impressive.Â When I read that it was sculptures made out of debris found along the beaches, I pictured something you’d see at a school science fair.
But these truly are clever works of art. You canâ€™t help but be fascinated by the artistry, how the artist used a mass of bottle caps or shredded plastic bottles or same-color flip-flops to create creatures from the ocean.
Even adults have fun examining the sculptures to find the items listed on the signage. For example: Can you find golf balls? Did you spot the toy truck tire or the oil cans or how the shiny fish scales are flattened beer can tops? (Kids would love this.)
The sculptures accomplish their purpose:Â They delight us but they also make us think about all the plastic we use and what becomes of it.
Beyond the special exhibition, there are many features that make Mounts Garden a worthwhile visit any time.Â My favorite areas were the butterfly garden aflutter with butterflies, the new water garden of aquatic plants and small waterfalls, the vegetable garden and finding out the names of all the trees and plants I see in Florida but never can identify.
Downsides? The garden is adjacent to the Palm Beach airport so the jets overhead reduce the sense of serenity.
Mounts Botantical Garden of the Palm Beaches
531 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL
Tickets are normally $10 for adults but during the special exhibit of Washed Ashore tickets are:
- Adults 12 and older: $15
- Veterans: $10
- Children 5-12: $5
- Members of Mounts & children 4 and under: Free
Note: You can bring a picnic. There were a number of picnic tables as well as a covered screened shelter.
Other things to do in Palm Beach County:
- A dozen things to do in the exclusive island of Palm Beach.
- Bicycle the Lake Trail through the backyards of the wealthy residents of Palm Beach island.
- A family bike destination:Â Riverbend Park.
- Youâ€™re not far fromÂ MacArthur Beach State Park,Â a wonderful place to walk, swim, snorkel or kayak.
- Peanut Island, for snorkeling, picnics and to visit the historic John F. Kennedy bunker.
- Paddle the Loxahatchee River, a federally designated wild and scenic river.
- Nearby there areÂ two boardwalks known for excellent bird watching.
- Howleyâ€™s is an authentic 1950s diner.