Bonnet House Museum and Gardens – Is Fort Lauderdale’s little hidden secret that is definitely worth seeing. If you’re visiting Fort Lauderdale, take a few hours out of your day and visit the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. It’s one of the oldest houses left standing in Ft Lauderdale.
The house was designed by Chicagoan Frederic Clay Bartlett (1873-1953), artist, art collector and one time son-in-law of Fort Lauderdale pioneer Hugh Taylor Birch. It’s a 35 acre subtropical plantation estate build in 1920 right on the waterfront near Sunrise Blvd. It takes you back in time to the early days before high rises and hotels took over the shoreline. The surrounding gardens of the estate are wonderful, ranging from a mangrove swamp to a coastal hammock, providing habitat for a variety of fish, monkeys and other wildlife. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The house is filled with historical artifacts and a collection of artwork with personal treasures of the Birch/Bartlett families. There are plenty of rooms to see and each room offered an eclectic collection of antiques and art gathered world wide. The art work was phenomenal and I recommend that visitors take their time to savor the paintings.
Bonnet House is available to rent. It’s a perfect location to host a corporate event or wedding. It’s one of the best outdoor wedding venues in Fort Lauderdale.
Evelyn Bartlett was a passionate orchid collector and the varieties of orchids she left to Bonnet House comprise one of the largest collections of orchids in the Southeast United States.
So keep it a secret, but go see this fabulously preserved relic of life in early South Florida.
Public Tours are: Tuesday – Sunday – 9:00am to 4:00pm
Closed: Mondays, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Children (ages 6 – 12): $16.00