Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
...a preeminent house museum dedicated not only to historic and environmental preservation, but also to learning and creative expression – much like the Bartletts and Birches themselves.
Boasting an extraordinary blend of art, history, and nature, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is always an excellent attraction choice for visiting student groups.
This house museum features one of the few complete homes and studios of two American artists that is open to the public, holding a unique history for the Fort Lauderdale area.
The home was created by Chicago-born artist Frederic Clay Bartlett in 1920, the land a gift from his second wife's father, Hugh Taylor Birch. After she passed Bartlett remarried a woman named Evelyn Fortune Lilly, who spent her winters here from 1931 until 1995 painting as a hobby. Today when you visit you will be able to glimpse art from both Bartlett and Lilly, as well as lily-laden gardens that will bring you 'tropical tranquility'. A tour of the home and gardens surrounding it will allow you to be 'magically transported to the beginning of the 20th century and the days of gracious living, charm, and whimsy when Florida was one of the nation's last frontier outposts.'
The home is also known as one of the last examples of a native barrier island habitat in South Florida, boasting 5 distinct ecosystems (Atlantic Ocean Beach, Dunes, Fresh Water Slough, Mangrove Wetlands, and Maritime Forest). Within the gardens, you can see one of the finest orchid collections in the continental U.S. and catch a glimpse of wading birds and an occasional manatee. Take walk along the Nature Trail before you go, and also be sure to visit the onsite gift shops.