WHERE: Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N. Forest Ave. Orlando, FL 32803-1537
AGE RESTRICTIONS: None.
PRICE: $7 adults, $2 Children
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Tel: 407-246-2620. Open daily apart from Christmas Day. Hours 9am to 5pm. No guests admitted after 4pm. Leu House Museum opens 10am – 4pm with tours every thirty minutes on the hour and half hour. The last tour at 3:30 pm. The Leu House Museum is closed in July.
Just to the North of downtown Orlando is a 50 acre paradise called Leu Gardens. The garden dates back to 1936 when Harry Leu and his wife Mary Jane purchased a home and 40 acres on Lake Rowena. Over the next 25 years as they traveled around the world they would purchase and bring back exotic plants and camellias for their garden.
Today, Leu Gardens is home to one of the largest Cammellia collections in the United States, a rose garden that features over 200 varieties of roses, and a butterfly garden. Featureing three miles of paved scenic walkways that take you through fifty acres of southern styled gardens including:
· America‘s largest Camellia collection outside California
· Three acres of idea gardens for weekend projects
· The largest formal rose garden in Florida.
· A house museum dating from the 1880’s.
· Two acre Tropical Stream Garden
· Vegetable and Herb Garden
· Butterfly Garden
· Palm, bamboo and cycad gardens
The Butterfly Garden at Harry P. Leu Gardens is located adjacent to the Cottage in the center of the garden. More than one hundred different plants have been incorporated into the design and attract butterflies twelve months a year. There are two types of plants used in the butterfly garden; nectar and larval plants. Nectar plants usually have showy flowers, bright colours and may be fragrant. The nectar plants provide a food source for the butterfly. Larval plants are those plants on which the butterflies lay their eggs. After hatching, the young caterpillar begins to eat the leaves of the plants — that’s why most of the larval plants look a bit unkempt. Labels within the garden will tell you which are larval and which are nectar plants.
While at the garden, you can tour the Leu House Museum, which was the home of the Leu family. The home is listed on the National Historic Registry and gives you a glimpse of what Florida life was like around the turn of the century (1900). Guided tours begin every 30 minutes starting at the top of the hour. The Leu House Museum is closed in July.
If you have children, don’t worry, they will love the garden and especially the butterfly garden, the tropical stream garden and the dock on Lake Rowena where they are able to see turtles, birds, fish and even a few alligators.
How to Save Money: If you are considering a visit to the Central Florida Zoo, then you should consider purchasing a Membership to Leu Garden’s, here’s why: For a family of 4, admission to Leu Garden’s would be $18.00. Admission to the Central Florida Zoo would be $36 for a total cost of $54.
The cost of a family membership to Leu Garden’s is $45 and this membership gives you reciprocal rights to 200 other gardens and zoo’s throughout the United States, including the Central Florida Zoo.