Alas, the cool days of winter and early spring here in Southwest Florida are gone, but soon the afternoon showers of summer will be providing us with some cool agua that we all will appreciate, especially our plants!
Since the Garden opens at 9am, it's actually quite nice here at that time. It's not until you reach about noon where your Sun Safety Skills need to come into action. Even if you are a sun-lover and just can't seem to get enough time out beneath its rays, you need to plan for the heat since it's a bit more intense than other locations in the U.S.
Don't worry, if you skipped the class in Sun Safety we've got you covered with some simple pointers. It's all about preparation.
- Make sure you are wear light-weight clothes that won't cause you to heat up even more. (Think twice before bringing that knit top or pair of heavy jeans)
- Wear sun-screen, yes, even if you want a tan.
- Wear a hat or carry an umbrella or parasol. You'll see some of our staff with bright parasols as they tour people through the Garden. We have some areas of shade, but there's nothing quite as wonderful as carrying your own shade with you! Your head will thank you.
- Bring a reusable water bottle (or purchase one in our Visitor Center if you forget) with you and be sure you are drinking it as you walk through the gardens. We have water stations throughout the Garden you can refill at. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are surprisingly common among adults in Florida as they don't think they need to be drinking water. Trust us though, you do.
- Take a break. Don't feel like you need to rush through the Garden and instead stop in the Chattel House (Kapnick Caribbean Garden) or the Thai Pavilion (Lea Asian Garden) and relax and cool off for a bit.
- Run through the fountains, you know you want to. In the Smith Children's Garden that is. If you're a child you can feel free to play for hours in the fountains. The adults are usually a bit more restrained. Don't worry though, if you want to cool off in the cool jets, feel free to splash some water on you as you pass by or kick off your shoes and wade around the boardwalk in the wetlands in the Smith Children's Garden.
Summer is also the most spectacular time for plant growth and blooms, so a trip out to the Garden is well worth it. We just want all our visitors to have the most pleasant experience possible. And in summer here, just like with winter in northern climates, you just have to prepare a bit more for the weather.