Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

#7 in Best Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
1 of 2
Lisa Jacobs/Flickr

Key Info

900 N. Birch Road

Price & Hours

$20 for adults; $16 for kids 6-12; free for kids 5 and younger
Tues-Sun 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Details

Museums, Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

This house sitting between the Intracoastal Waterway and Fort Lauderdale Beach has a long romantic history. In 1919, a wealthy settler gave the 35-acre property (named after the bonnet lily flower that grew on the grounds) as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband Frederic. In 1920, the newlyeds began construction of Bonnet House, hoping to build a winter getaway where Frederic could pursue his art and Helen could work on her music and poetry. But construction soon stopped when Helen unexpectedly died in 1925. Frederic didn't resume property renovations until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. The new couple continued decorating the house until Frederic's death. Several decades later in 1983, Evelyn donated the house to the state's Trust for Historic Preservation, opening it to visitors for guided tours.

Previous travelers said Bonnet House has something to keep every type of traveler satisfied: Art lovers, horticulture enthusiasts, animal lovers and history buffs will enjoy this attraction. The plantation home is ornately decorated and filled with artwork (all three residents of the house were artists of some kind), but the estate's grounds are also well worth the visit. The campus is lush and beautiful for a nice walk through nature and even sometimes accompanied by monkeys. However, some noted that not every room in the house has air conditioning, so bring a fan if you're visiting during the summer months.

This property is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only guided tours are available, which are held seven different times each day. Admission costs $20 for adults, $16 for kids between the ages of 6 and 12, and is free for children younger than 6. If you're only interested in seeing the gardens, admission costs $10 per person. A tram tour of the grounds is also available for $4. The attraction offers free parking in its lot, or you can take the water taxi to stop No. 9. For more information, visit Bonnet House's website.

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