Canopied by tall, majestic trees, this seaside sanctuary is a living botanical wonderland with over 2,500 species of tropical plants from around the world. Plan to spend several hours just roaming the garden’s marked trails where plants are identified by species, family and country of origin. Bring your camera and be prepared for plenty of wow factor.
Visitors actually descend into the garden — which is located in Onomea Valley — via a 500-foot-long boardwalk. The entry gives a feeling of “immersion” while offering different vantage points of giant bamboo, bananas and exotic tropical plants. Trails are designed to highlight botanical families: Palm Jungle, Fern Circle, Banyan Canyon, Orchid Garden and Bromeliad Hill.
And there’s more! Enjoy the three-tiered Onomea Falls, serene Lily Lake, complete with koi fish and nymphaeaceae; a raucous aviary and a rugged, ocean vista. Located seven miles north of Hilo, turn off Hwy. 19 at the Scenic Route sign. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily with last entry at 4 p.m. Gift shop also has a museum depicting the garden’s history.