Nestled in the heart of Palm Beach County is one of the most serene places you will find in all of South Florida. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a 16 acre series of gardens, buildings, and sprawling grounds that are sure to leave you breathless. The lush green foliage, hidden zen rock gardens, towering bamboo forest, numerous ponds, streams and waterfalls provide the perfect background for a leisurely stroll.
The Morikami offers a main museum that houses rotating exhibits – I happened to catch an amazing history of the Transformers that I know my brother would have been beyond thrilled to see! My four year old nephew refused to move while he watched a short movie that was looping about robots. This one, along with another on Creatures in Japanese Art, filled with amazing sculptures, silks and carvings of a huge assortment of animals found in Japan, as well as in Japanese folklore were beautiful. The main building also includes a small movie theater, as well as a library where parent are welcome to catch a break from the summer heat, and share a book with their children. They also have a fantastic gift shop, and the Cornell Café, offering fantasic Pan-Asian dining with amazing views from the terrace.
The Roji-en Gardens are a series of six very distinct periods in Japanese gardening, and the mile long path easily flows from one area to the next. There are numerous areas with benches that give you amazing views during each unique area you stroll through. There are signs describing each period of time, dating back to the 12th century, and the tranquility within each area encourages you to spend as much time exploring as you would like. The Roji-en Gardens are recognized in the Western World, as one of the top 10 Japanese gardens, according to the Journal of Japanese Gardening – after one trip, I’m sure you’ll see why!
One of our favorite areas to explore was Yamato Island, located along the pathway surrounding the main lake. We found amazing bonsai trees, and area where you can feed huge carp and turtles (we counted 14 turtles at one point!), and a building that was the original Morikami Museum building. The building provides visitors with an amazing in-depth view of Japanese life. It’s made into a series of equally interesting rooms that encourage you to dive head first into Japanese culture. The classroom complete with uniforms, desks, posters and books is perfect for American kids to compare with what they see in their own classrooms. Our favorite room was the kitchen. I love that you are encouraged to open each drawer, cabinet and the refrigerator and freezer! Chopsticks and cut elastic band “noodles,” were the perfect introduction for kids and grown-ups alike to practice their skills. This building also houses the history of the pioneering Japanese families who settled in the area.
There are several not-to-miss events that take place at the Morikami including the Hatsume Festival, Lantern Festival and Oshogatsu Festival. Each is truly unique, offering visitors the chance to share in the culture and heritage through Taiko drum, dance, and martial arts performances, as well as an outstanding variety of foods. They also offer Sushi & Stroll nights along the gardens on scheduled Friday nights, at sunset throughout the summer months. There are separate fees for these events, and the festivals do sell out, so consider purchasing tickets ahead!
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is located at 4000 Morikami Park Rd.
Delray Beach, FL 33446 and tickets range from $9-$15 with discounts given for children, students, military and seniors.
* Erin received free admission to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens to facilitate this review. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.