Review of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens: From the oldest roots to the newest leaves

KanapahaYesterday weIMG_0484 went for a hike in another one of  Northern Florida’s scenic nature trails, Kanapaha Botantical Gardens. Kanapaha is located off Archer Road just beyond I -75 on the outskirts of  Gainesville, Florida. If you are looking for a natural environment to take in the beauty of the beautiful surroundings that North Florida has to offer, Kanapaha is definitely worth a visit. The Kanapaha name ( Kuh-NAP-uh-hah) is derived from the Kanapaha Lake from two Timucua Native American words that means ‘Palmetto leaves” and “house”. From the Mantaka American Indian Council, there was some information that I was not aware of before visiting the park including that the name Timucua or “Thimogna” was originally used to describe these indigenous groups that resided in between the Santa Fe River and St Johns River. In fact, the Timucuas were most likely the first Native American to encounter Ponce de Leon when he landed in Florida/America on April 2nd, 1513 and subsequently, the Timucua language was one of the first Native American languages that was used by the early settlers to converse with other indigenous people of Northern America. Our Hike consisted of mainly the eastern portion of the park was originally began being plotted in 1976 and the IMG_0483park officially opened in October 1987 that includes the Native Woodland Trail, the Hummingbird Garden, and the Fern Cobble that leads down to Lake Kanapaha’s Boardwalk. It is definitely worth noting that the Kanapaha Gardens often is a place for weddings and other events. Because of this, we did not visit the western part of the park where the water featured Butterfly gardens are located and I’ve heard more alligators dwell there instead of Lake Kanapaha has as of lately so if you are looking to see alligators, the Butterfly gardens are probably a better bet than the boardwalk. We also had a picnic under the most majestic sprawling Live Oak that likely been there for more than a hundred years. It truly looks like a Tarzan’s juFlorida's Best Climbing Treengle tree with large limbs and a multitude of swinging vines so if you have any young tree climbers in your family, the tree is one worth climbing for the books! We look forward to visiting again soon and plan to do so on a week day possibly to check out the part of the park that wasn’t available to view because of the event that was being held or perhaps during one of their Moonlight Walk Events.IMG_0502RIMG1425

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