Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog – Florida, USA

It had always seemed odd to us that an outdoor space, with grass, paths and plants would have a no dog policy.  But that is sadly often the case in parks and gardens these days.  Even Florence (Tuscany), one of the most dog friendly places we have ever been, had one such anomaly.  The Boboli Gardens there are closed off to dogs. As a result, I have never had the pleasure of visiting a Botanical Garden. Until recently.

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

At the Entrance of the Naples Botanical Garden – Dog of the World!

Imagine my delight at discovering that the Naples Botanical Garden in Florida is open, not only once but twice a week, to canines! On Tuesdays and Thursdays dogs are welcome from 9:00 a.m. to noon (please check to make sure the days and times are still the same before you visit). This was my chance to see exotic plants and smell sweet and rare scents!  The bipeds love nature. So, it wasn’t a tough sell, and off we went one Tuesday morning in May (2012).

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

Cool water stops everywhere!

It was easy to find, especially with the Google Map from the Website.  We parked and made our way to the front entrance where right away we knew we had not been misinformed as a large sign welcomed dogs with humour. We walked in and paid our admission fee: $12.95 for each biped, and my fee was the same as for a child: $7.95.  We were handed a piece of paper with the instructions on proper dog etiquette and, after signing in and thus stating that we agreed to the rules, I was allowed through the big glass doors!

What Dog Owners Need to know about the Naples Botanical GardeVisiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

Orchid found at Entrance

The first things you will see are the orchids.  There seemed to be hundreds of different kinds.  Mom was in heaven since she has a “thing” for this type of plant. I, on the other hand, was far more interested in the bright indigo-blue bowls of water I saw placed at every path intersection ahead.  I just had to investigate.  Pulling Mom away at last from her orchid hypnosis, I dipped my tongue into clear, clean and fresh water.  This was a very good sign.  The folks at the garden obviously took dog-friendliness seriously.

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog Montecristo

Taking a moment to ponder at the reflection pool

I also noted, that for guests who require mobility assistance, there are scooters at the entrance on a first come first serve basis. We were very tempted to “take one” just for fun, but knowing that a number of people may need them, we curbed our naughty sides and shushed the devil on our shoulders and walked on.

“What makes this Botanical Garden so special is that its geographical location makes it particularly suited to diversity. Between the 26th latitude north where Naples is situated and the 26th latitude south are some of the world’s most diverse plant communities and interesting cultures.  The subtropical location gives the Naples botanical Garden the unique opportunity to showcase gardens that represent countries and regions from between these latitudes as they encircle the globe.  These include Asia, Brazil , the Caribbean and of course Florida .” – Naples Botanical Garden

The garden boasts 12 themes in total and is growing. We loved seeing all the volunteer gardeners and other staff at work. It is easy to get a sense of just how much hard labour goes into the maintenance of such a marvel.  Staff were always happy to answer questions and even take photos of us as a family – a rare treat since one of the bipeds is usually behind the camera.

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

Asia inspired!

There was one section where I could not enter and that was the Children’s Garden and the Butterfly House. Mom went for a quick scout (while Dad stayed with me) and assured me that I wasn’t missing out. I do not know if she was lying or not.  I get the feeling she really enjoyed the butterflies and was just trying to make me feel better. After all, I am a fur-kid, right? I felt strongly that that was MY garden from which I was being kept away.

Moving right along…. *harumfff*

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

Family Photo Courtesy of Garden Staff (Brazilian Garden)

After a quick stop at the restrooms we started our visit with the spectacular Brazilian Garden.  Here you will find the bold tribute to Roberto Burle Marx, the renowned “father of modern landscape architecture” and the incredible plant diversity of Brazil.  We thought a lot about our dear friend Kiki, for this is her native land.  We had just had the pleasure of her visit for Mom’s birthday a few days prior and had attended her event the previous week.  We missed her. We promised ourselves we would tell her about this special place, knowing she would  love to take Miu Miu, her Chihuahua, and would be inspired by the beauty there.  It was stunning: Large water lilies, a bright and happy mosaic wall, waterfall and contemplation pool. What was not to like?

We crossed a little bridge to the Water Garden that was inspired by the beauty and mystery of water plants. Here we found ourselves transported to the cultures of Southeast Asia, from Bali to Vietnam.  Huge Lotus flowers around a miniature Thai temple caught my attention right away – I just had to find a way to get “up there”.  I never did.  We also went to the Balinese Shrine for a small break in the shade and had a spook at the Javanese Ruin where a large black snake begged its pardon for startling us.  We then had a nice long rest under the Thai pavilion with comfortable Thai furniture and left the Asian Garden through the Asia Pergola route. It was like being transported to another set of countries… A little trip within a trip!

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

I’m in the jungle! Lotus flowers here are huge!

We followed a path through the grove and came to a Labyrinth made of different coloured pavement stones.  Dad and I took a few moments to walk in meditative silence… Mom then made us jump 5 feet in the air as she hit a mini gong with the mallet!  This woke up a playful side in the bipeds that lead to a short game of chase that had us all at the next garden in minutes.

The Enabling Garden demonstrates many strategies that allow people with physical challenges to enjoy the soothing hobby of gardening. Examples that I can recall were building flower beds up off the ground and surrounded by wide bench seatings, wider paths and special tools.  It was all very interesting.  We sat in the shade and chatted with a staff member and drank water, for it was hot, and then moved on to the Florida Garden where we saw much of what the streets of Old Naples have to offer, but in a larger, more lush scale.

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

Water Cooler found at the Naples Botanical Garden with Paper Cone Cups

Finding it easy to just follow where the path would lead, we walked around the Wild Flower Garden and found numerous interesting plants in the Cactus Garden. The Idea Garden had a vegetable garden vibe going on, and then, with a river of grass on our right, we made our way to the Caribbean Garden where I enjoyed a lovely breeze off the West Lake and the Uplands Preserve and had a little swing in a hammock.

Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog

Because who does not like a swing in a hammock?

We stopped at the water cooler for a cold refreshing drink, took in one last glimpse of the Brazilian Garden and in the increasing heat left and made our way to the Visitor Center, Shop and Exit.

In Review: If ever you are in the Naples (FL) area, we highly recommend this dog-friendly activity. You will not regret it. We saw about 4 other dogs while we were there. All very well behaved and following the rules. While waiting for the car (Dad went to get it and to turn on the AC to make sure I wouldn’t suffer from the noon sun), I noticed children arriving in their swimsuits to take advantage of the water features in the Children’s Garden and understood why the dog- friendly aspect ended at noon. This is how the Naples Botanical Garden found a way to cater to a diverse clientele, allocating time slots for folks of different strokes. Well done and bravo!

Do you know of a Botanical Garden that is dog-friendly? If so, please share!


23 Comments on “Visiting the Naples Botanical Garden With a Dog – Florida, USA

  1. Beautiful and informative article. The pictures looked so professional! The entrance fee to go in and see the gardens seemed a little high though. Just sayin’
    Monte, thanks again for the great and helpful info

    • I think the fee reflects the work – what the photos can’t show is the SIZE of this Botanical Garden. Water alone to keep all this going … I can’t even imagine. They have a fantastic way of collecting rain water and all that – the place is amazing. People will pay that for a movie here … this is WAY better than a movie. We spent a total of 4 and some hours.

      We hope to soon add two more lenses to the camera to give us the ability to do different types of shots. But thank you … we learn as we go!

      Thanks for being our #1 fan!

  2. Fantastic and dog friendly? We must revisit Naples soon. Miu Miu loves orchids!

    • Well Miu Miu and Mom have that in common then! Mom is gaga over orchids!!! Yes DO return and go! you will love it!! Go as early as you can manage before the heat gets to be too much!

  3. I’m so jealous! We are living right down the street from the Edinburgh botanical garden and they have a no dog policy (which is rather strange, considering that dogs are allowed in some pubs and restaurants here…but not an outside venue like the gardens…?).

    • Right Gigi?? I know SO weird! I have come across this so often. I do not understand it at all. Maybe we should send this blog to them and see what they say?!!! I am jealous of you being in Scotland!

      (I just sent them an e-mail with a link to this post and asked them why they did not have a dog friendly time slot. See what they have to say).

  4. Really awesome! And also feel good to read at this time. And all these information are very helpful to me. Thanks for this allocation. 😆

  5. What a great descriptive post Monte! I felt like I was there! I don’t know of any botanical gardens where I live that allow dogs BUT I live in an especially historic part of the Southern United States where there are several famous revolutionary to civil war era plantations with fantastic gardens which are dog-friendly. One plantation in particular, called Magnolia Plantation, not only allows dogs in the nationally acclaimed gardens (actually the oldest public gardens in America too), but dogs are also allowed on the tram tours and….imagine this…IN THE PLANTATION HOUSE!!! In the house they must be carried in arms or in a carrier (which makes things harder for people with bigger dogs of course) but that’s understandable since potty accidents are less likely to occur when a dog is not directly on the floor–and no one wants to be responsible for their dog damaging an 1800’s carpets or something, ha ha! I’ve found Charleston, overall, to be a very dog-friendly place and this just goes to prove it!

    • Mia,

      THANK you so very much for this comment. I LOVE hearing about REAL dog friendly places! Thank you for taking the time to share it here with anyone that would happen to follow this blog. THIS kind of sharing and commenting is why we love doing this. AND it makes me want to visit!! Would you be out guide? How wonderful this all sounds. Know little about this area of the USA.

      • Of course I would be your guide Monte! Me & Callie, that is! There’s lots of dog-friendly restaurants here (outdoor only but that’s hardly an inconvenience with our fabulous weather), dog-friendly (and resident-dog boasting) art galleries, dog-friendly bars, dog-friendly stores, dog-friendly hotels, dog-friendly beaches…the list is pretty awesome! Charleston is such a historic and romantic place for bipeds to appreciate too–Conde Nast Traveler actually named it the top city in the US last year, and Fodors recently named it one of the top US places to go in 2012. Also, I know all three of you love fabulous food and the locally sourced, organic food movement is really big here. We definitely have the best restaurants in the South and several of the best in the nation. Check this out:

        In case you can’t tell…I really love where I live!

        • OMD – love it! ok – we must try and make this happen!! Thank you Mia this is the kind of info dog lovers need!! Best month to go would be??? (for your availability and weather … beach and all that! this is gorgeous.

          • I think late September or early October is the best time to come. The weather is gorgeous (warm during the day, warm to sweater weather at night, usually dry, little to no humidity…) and it is post-tourist season so town won’t be as busy and the off & on leash dog hours at the beaches are more convenient (as in, all day instead of the crack of dawn!). I work during the week but if you came as the weekend started I could show you around and help you get a hang of the place!

          • That sounds amazing … we plan to go to Portugal the first two weeks of September … so maybe a long weekend early October! let us see if we can pull it off!

  6. Hello Montecristo,

    What a warm and wonderful write up of the Garden. I’m so glad you mentioned to check the website for hours because we have new summer hours as well as Dog Days of Summer in August when your “best friend” is welcome every day from 8am-3pm.

    Your photo album is fab. Too bad you didn’t know about our free mobile app; you could’ve posted your pics in real time!

    Thanks again for your kind words.

    Nicolette Beard
    Communications Manager

    • Nicolette I was just telling Brit that I have contacted some of the big botanical gardens I know in Europe, Canada and the US that are not dog friendly and just asked the question: If Naples can do it – why can’t you? I await the responses and shall share! I loved the gardens!! The app sounds wonderful and we should look into that for our next visit – although we use a DSLR camera. 🙂

      Next time we are in Naples – perhaps we should do a presentation on who we are, what we do to make the world a more dog friendly etc. Could be a fun event for you to host in the garden. Just an idea. Contact me at if this interests you.

      Thank you so much for the visit to the blog and for the kind words!

      – Montecristo Travels Inc.

  7. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to the Garden! I was in the Visitor Center waiting on a school group to arrive when you all came in. Monte made such an impression – what a cutie! Your blog rocks – makes me want to get a house, so I can adopt a pooch…and see the world. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me that travels with a pup are possible!

    • Brit!! WOW thank you so much for dropping in!! Did you know we have contacted Botanical Gardens all over Europe, Canada and the USA asking them why they don’t have a dog day? and linked to this post!! We may have started something!

      I live in an apartment … don’t need a garden to have a dog – depends on the breed. Perhaps look into apartment friendly breeds? or rescue a senior. In any case – I remember you too!! Hope you will visit the blog often and next time I am in town – perhaps I should contact you and do a presentation at the garden! Get more people travelling with the toy breeds!

  8. Pingback: What’s New! A Return to Naples – Florida – USA | Montecristo Travels

  9. I would love to visit this place. Your pictures are gorgeous and I have yet to see if they are really beautiful in reality (which I think they are).

  10. Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
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  11. There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

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