KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Visitors to the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden might spot scarecrows peering out from among the 15-acre habitat’s plants and trees beginning Wednesday, Sept. 15, during a lighthearted exhibit of recycled art creations.
The “Scarecrows in the Forest” exhibition is to feature scarecrows crafted out of natural and recycled materials by local artists, students and other community members, and installed on the property. Currently celebrating the 85th anniversary of its founding, the unique open-air “living museum” is acclaimed as the only frost-free subtropical natural conservation habitat and native plant botanical garden in the continental United States,
“The exhibit was conceived as an example of recycling and artistic talent,” said Misha McRAE, executive director of the garden. “Each year, we showcase scarecrows and other forms that fit into the natural beauty and backdrop of the garden.”
A contest as well as a display, “Scarecrows in the Forest” is to continue through Nov. 30. Cash prizes await the top entries in multiple categories, as determined by a judging panel, and visitors can cast their votes to determine the “best in show” winner.
Scarecrows must be freestanding, no more than 6 feet tall and able to withstand outdoor weather conditions for the duration of the exhibit. Past entries have ranged from traditional scarecrow figures to a colorful lionfish and a “bird creature” incorporating native vegetation.
Located at 5210 College Road, the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden shelters plant life native to South Florida, Cuba and the Caribbean including many threatened and endangered species. Rich in biodiversity, it features two wetland habitats, national and state champion trees, two butterfly gardens, resident and migratory birds, seasonal flowers and many other attractions for nature enthusiasts.
The garden is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. All-day admission passes are $10 per adult, $7 per senior, $7 per active or retired military member and free for children age 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. Event and garden information: keywest.garden