Harry P. Leu Gardens
- Type: Parks and Gardens
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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Lush Orlando is a great place to stop and smell the flowers, but most vacationers spend their time pounding the pavement, trundling tots from one amusement-park ride to the next. If you want to get a sense of real Orlando, however, you should swing by Harry P. Leu Gardens. This botanical oasis is 50 acres worth of camellias, roses, orchids, azaleas and more. Some of the butterflies that call Harry P. Leu home include the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the Painted Lady and the distinctive Monarch. Plus there are seasonal art exhibits, a horticultural library and museum/house tours of Leu's restored, turn-of-the-century home.
Recent guests say this is a nice change of pace from park-palooza, just as long as you're in town for the right season. While a Yelp.com user says, "The grounds are lovely at every time of year, there is always something blooming," some TripAdvisor travelers warn against visiting in January, finding "mostly dead plants and no color what so ever."
If you're going to visit the resplendent Harry P. Leu Gardens, aim to do so on the first Monday of the month -- that's when admission is free. Otherwise, you'll pay $7 (and $2 for school-age children). The grounds are open every day but Christmas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The last garden admission time is 4 p.m., however). Tours of the Leu House are given every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Visit the website for further details.