Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
TAKE A HIKE: DELRAY BEACH, FL
Pet friendly: No
Facilities: Bathrooms, benches, water stations, restaurant
Admission: Adult: $15, Senior: $13, Children: $9
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10AM-5PM. See website for admission and hours details.
A Little History...
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens was established in 1977, but long before the gardens were groomed and the rotating Japanese art exhibits were cultivated, the land that the gardens stand on was colonized by Japanese farmers. In the early 1900s Japanese farmers were encouraged to move to Florida where they could share their knowledge of horticulture, the Yamato Colony was established. In 1942 the Japanese owned land was confiscated by the U.S. Government for a military installment. At the end of World War II George Morikami one of the original purchased the land, and approximately 30 years later he donated his land to the Delray Beach County. My tiny excerpt doesn't do the history much justice, but I thought it was worth the mention. The Garden's website pays tribute to the Yamato colony and Mr. Morikami, and if you have the pleasure of visiting the Garden you will find even more intriguing facts about its origins.
Quiet and Beautiful
While not technically a "hike", I believe that a stroll in nature, cultivated or not, is still a "hike" for the soul.
On the day we visited the skies were gray and lightning sizzled in the distance. It is Summer in Florida after all and it tends to rain at least 5 days out of the week. The weather was not unfamiliar to the staff that sounded an alarm whenever there was lightning within 6 miles of the park. We were fortunate that the rain never made it to the garden and we were left to stroll with some very welcomed cloud cover.
The gardens are formed in a winding loop that spans just under a mile. There are tiny offshoot trails that will extend the walk to probably double that. Along the trails you can find water stations and seating areas to rest. The variety of garden styles that can be found at this location could easily feed the eyes for more than an entire day. Greedy little turtles and tilapia fill the water ways vying for the fish food that is sold at the entrance for $2 a bag. The tilapia must have learned from experience to stay clear of the banks where wild heron wait patiently for an absent minded fish to float too close.
If you get hungry the Cornell Cafe serves up some surprisingly good Japanese inspired dishes. We thoroughly enjoyed the Vegetarian Bento box from the regular menu and Soba Noodles from the Summer menu. While it's not Grandma's Soba Noodle dish, it was very tasty and the noodles were cooked to have a little bite as they should. All the food was very fresh, and I highly recommend eating here rather than leaving for another location. It really rounded out the experience.
Due to business plans we only spent about 3 hours at the garden, but we plan to return soon possibly for one of their cultural events. I really have my eye on the lantern festival coming up in October.