APRIL 22 & 23 // 10 AM - 4 PM

The Garden & Art Festival is a 2-day event centered around the botanical gardens here at the Zoo!

The event is free with Zoo admission and will be held on our Great Lawn, featuring over 20 garden and art-themed vendors selling their products, plants and consultations. Enjoy live music, and sip on beer and sangria for sale while you shop. The First Coast Plein Air Society artists will also have booths spread out throughout the festival with live painting demonstrations for guests to enjoy.

Garden Encounter workshops will occur throughout the day on Saturday, and Garden tours will occur throughout the day on Sunday.

On Saturday, April 22, Dr. Craig van der Heiden from the Institute for Regional Conservation will be speaking on the importance of native plants and the benefits of restoring gardens with exotics back to native fauna. Program is at 11am and free with Zoo admission.  

Garden Tours

SATURDAY Special Guest Presentation
11:00 “Native Landscaping: How Your Garden Can Contribute to the Larger Ecosystem”
Craig van der Heiden, PhD, CEO of The Institute for Regional Conservation
Native plants inhabited and thrived in the landscape long before houses and lawns were built. They fit perfectly into local climate and grow in balance with the plant community and abiotic environment. Conventional landscaping standardizes yards and gardens to an old-world European appeal that disregards locality. To maintain exotic landscapes, energy in the form of water, nutrients, and chemicals is consistently consumed. Replacing exotic landscape plants with native plant choices can transform anthropogenic plant assemblages into native habitats. Benefits of reverting back to native plant communities are numerous. Landowners restore habitat for native fauna as well as perpetuating native flora. Native gardening requires less water, nutrient input, and constant manipulation. Native gardens serve as oases for native beneficial insects and birds. Each backyard or easement becomes a small parcel of restored habitat. In an urban environment, many little restored pieces can impact the whole when development and urbanization make preserving larger tracts impossible.
Gardens at Trout River Plaza

10:00-11:00 “What’s the Buzz about Bee Hotels” with Cheo
How to design and build native bee sanctuaries, and why?
Range of the Jaguar entrance

12:00-1:00 “Giraffe Love to Eat Plants” with Curry
What is browse and why do our animals want it?
Range of the Jaguar entrance

1:00-2:00 “Every Rose has its Thorns, or Toxins, or Irritants” with Harry
Learn about various methods of plant defenses
Range of the Jaguar entrance

2:00-3:00 “Save the Orchids” with Houston
Learn about JZG’s efforts to conserve Chapman’s Fringed Orchid and other rare flora
Range of the Jaguar entrance

3:00-4:00 “Bamboo Mini Tour” with Pat
Learn all about the bamboo in our gardens
Meet at the Asian Bamboo Garden Moongate


11:00 and 2:00
Meet the ?Zoo gardeners at the Great Lawn for a one hour walking garden tour of the zoo!

Garden & Art Festival sponsored by JM Family Enterprises and Southeast Toyota.