Florida’s newest garden park, Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, opened Phase I on Friday, Oct. 20. The waterfront gardens offer a sanctuary of art and nature by featuring botanical collections and contemporary interpretive art with 11 sculptures emerging from the lush landscape.
Roger and Linda Tetrault and the Roger and Linda Tetrault Family Foundation, began development of the property in 2006. The Tetrault Foundation, a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit foundation, is providing one of the largest endowments for public botanical gardens in the State of Florida – and will continue to provide funding to ensure that the Garden experience is improved, year after year.
”As a destination, we invite visitors to experience how our best side is outside. The combination of lush gardens and contemporary art makes the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens the perfect complement to Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach’s amenities and attractions,” said Lorah Steiner, Director of Tourism with the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau.
The gardens will cover 27 acres of which 17 will be developed and 10 will remain as waterways, marshland and heritage mangroves. This includes the Tetrault home and four-acre property. Currently, 11 acres have been developed including the Garden Community Center where visitors can enjoy a light bite and enjoy the visiting exhibit. When complete, the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens will be one of Florida’s largest botanical and sculpture gardens.
More than 3,500 botanicals have been planted on the grounds and includes the caladium garden, succulent garden and hibiscus garden. Visitors can walk the Mangrove Marsh Boardwalk and view all three of Florida’s mangrove trees, red, black and white.
A fifty-million-year-old stone palm frond fossil serves as the inspiration for the logo and signature sculpture. Eleven sculptures by internationally-renowned artists range from a 21,000-pound “Steel Palm” by Boston artist Jacob Kulin to “Ostriches” – two 20-foot tall human forms by Mr. Yu Zhaoyang from The People’s Republic of China to “Keel,” a massive lava stone structure is by Turkish artist Kemal Tufan to “The Thinker,” a spoof on the Rodin original was designed by Ichwan Noor, of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
On display through March 2018 is the visiting botanical photo exhibit by artist/photographer Laurie Tennent. Her outdoor collection is created from actual specimens found in the Peace River Gardens. The five permanent works on aluminum were purchased for the garden through a grant from the Charlotte Community Foundation.
Located at 5800 Riverside Drive in Punta Gorda, the Peace River Botanical Gardens is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed Monday). Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for Seniors, Students (through High School) is $8 and children 5 and under are free. Annual memberships and group discounts are available. Visit http://peacerivergardens.org for additional information.
Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens
5800 Riverside Drive
Punta Gorda, FL 33982
Tel: (941) 621-8299