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Flamingo Gardens vs BonnetHouse

travel bug

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We would like to do one of the tours to the above and was wondering if one would be better than the other? I noticed on the Bonnet House site that they had sustained $200,000 worth of damage to the gardens, etc. Would it still be a good spot to tour? Thanks for your input....
 

KenK

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Flamingo Gardens (Flamingo Groves) was once one of the largest citrus groves in Fl. Of course, with the rapid development of S Fl since the 1950s, it was cheaper to sell for profit than hope for a good crop.

Several varities of citrus were developed there. (When I worked for United Fruit Co, a report from the 1920s indicated that shipping oranges out of Port Everglades didn't work with the new 'latex lined reefer ships'....{THey thought it cheaper to just dump the oranges into the ship-unboxed}). The ship arrived at Pier # 4 North River with a cargo of mostly orange juice...not usable. Not all of the experiments went great.

You can wander the Gardens, there is a bird santurary, several experimental growing stations (via tram only), and see several exhibits. They have several animal handlers who work with the injured birds (usually hawks-owls), and also an area for river otters, flamingos, and aligators. There are many birds who have unlimited access to many areas, and wander in among the guests. The free flight aviary smells, sometimes, and the birds can be (a bit) friendly

There is a home on exhibit, and it is where the family lived a small part of the year. Their main homes were in Hollywood Fl, and Michigan. This is also part of the tour.

Flamingo Gardens if due South of Sawgrass Mills....but on the same road. (Flamingo Road). You're too late to try the Kepok Tree Restaurant for lunch
PIX as they closed them all from Clearwater to Ft Laiderdale for new housing.

Link to website & coupon Also AAA discount. It's pretty good tour...self tour, too.

Bonnett House is on the ocean (Ask John....its better that way :)) On the ocean {The tall building on the R center is the Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort/Breakers/Sunterra T/S. It is right off Sunrise Blvd. Facing the bottem is A1A N & S. The buildings to the left of the property are in disrepair, because another giant condotel is planned.

We have been members for many years, but sometimes get a different story from the tour guides. This was the ONE of the Bartlets several winter homes.....one story saying the husband held interests in a large hardware warehouse (Chicago) that eventually became True Value, the lady was a Lilly from the Eli Lilly Drug family.

The family built the house as a winter escape-one of several. The house looks like a giant box that is open in the middle. Rooms run around the outside. It is super folk art, and a lot of paintings done by the family are in the house. The grounds are very nice to look at.

Mrs Bartlett gave up ownership to the foundation, but had full rights as an owner until she died in 1996 or 1999 (?). She lived there most winters, and tours had to be limited. She would greet the guests (sometimes).

She had recieved some monkeys, and they got loose. Their decendants still are on the grounds. Sometimes off the grounds. They put barbed wire on some of the near by buildings to try to control.

If you like art, go here first. If you like botany, go to Flamingo first.

I would visit Bonnet House first.

www.bonnethouse.org (Coupon)

Both homes were developed after the 'gilded age' of the mansions. If you want to see some great mansions, go to Viscaya in Miami (John Deering Tractor) www.vizcayamuseum.org AAA dis, The Flagler Museum http://www.flagler.org/ AAA Dis or the www.thebreakers.com (one tour a week) in Palm Beach (about 50 miles N on A1A) I think all but the breakers has a coupon.
 

travel bug

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Thanks Ken you always do such a thorough job and I really appreciate it. I hadn't heard about The Breakers and it is close to where we're staying at Palm Beach Shores resort so perhaps we'll head there instead. The web site looks beautiful. Thanks again....
 

KenK

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Call The Breakers, and ask about the tour. I brought several friends there and the tour wasn't that day.

Believe it or not, they called over a well dressed older man who gave us a tour. I can't believe they would do this....it's a place that is kind of expensive, and some feel guest are, well, they don't ever see the cracks in the ground...ever....but the staff we meet are always so warm and friendly.

I guess I could mention they have interval condos there, but forget the price & maintance......and they don't have to push to sell them. (I think they are 6 month units....use a month as you wish.

After I posted the above, I went ot the website, and can not find any mention of tours by the Breakers Historian. But Flagler is right on the other side of one of the golf courses....(and of course, the Breakers was one of the Flagler Hotels....they say Standard Oil....but he developed the rail to Key West. (He also developed the LIRR to save ships one day crossing the Atlantic to Europe...but people wanted to get off the ship ain or nearer NYC)
 
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