By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
Between the Atlantic and the Everglades, there are perhaps no attractions that exude a better sense of place of a largely bygone South Florida than Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in the east and Flamingo Gardens out west.
This season, both of these purveyors of our paradisiacal domain offer delightful opportunities to get out and drink it in … and help keep at least a part of it flourishing.
Gala in the Gardens
Flamingo Gardens, 3750 S. Flamingo Road, Davie
The annual culinary fundraiser is traditionally a good excuse to indulge oneself and get back to nature at the same time. Amid enchanting subtropical surroundings, guests dine under the stars on samplings served up by some of the area’s finest restaurants and caterers, paired with premium wines and craft beers.
However, this year’s gala on Feb. 12 dishes out an extra helping of pizazz, as one of South Florida’s oldest attractions celebrates its 90th anniversary with live music, almost $30,000 in silent auction items and – how appropriate – prizes for drawing a rubber flamingo from the new Flamingo Pond.
Founded in 1927 as Flamingo Grove, a citrus orchard surrounded by reclaimed Everglades land, Flamingo Gardens is a repository of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world, including endangered plant and wildlife species.
Admission to the gala, presented by the Friends of Flamingo Gardens, is $60 ($50 members). VIP tickets at $85 ($75 members) include VIP Reception and International Wine Gallery tastings. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Wray Botanical Collection and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary.
Tickets are available at flamingogardens.org,
954-473-2955 or at the Ticket Booth.
Concerts Under the Stars
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, 900 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale
It’d be hard to find a balmier concert setting, or one more historical and civilized, than the covered veranda of this seaward museum and its gardens.
Bonnet House, on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984, encompasses five distinct ecosystems, one of the last examples of a native barrier island habitat in South Florida and one of the largest orchid collections in the Southeast.
Its Thursday evening performances of the Young Artist Music Series range from opera to jazz and come with complimentary wine, cookies and coffee. Now, that’s civilized.
The season begins with two operatic offerings – University of Miami Frost Opera Theater (Jan. 19) and Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Program (Feb. 16) – and continues with the Lynn University Preparatory School of Music (March 16). The nationally honored Dillard Jazz Ensemble (April 6) closes it all out in swinging style.
The property was a wedding gift in 1919 from settler Hugh Taylor Birch to his daughter Helen and her husband, artist Frederic Clay Bartlett, who began construction the next year. Sixty-three years later, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett, who Frederic had married following Helen’s death, gave the property to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
Presented by the Haller Foundation, the concert series offers advance seating prices from $35-$85. A $5 fee is added at the door if seats are available.
A VIP two-ticket series package starts at $500.
For tickets, please call 954-703-2614 or