My parents and sister moved to Miami, FL in the summer of 2005. I was about to begin my senior year of college and was less than thrilled that my family was moving a plane ride away. That June I visited Miami for the first time and my mom and dad pulled out all the stops. They really wanted me to fall in love with the place. What did they do to try and convince me? They brought me to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, which to this day, 13 years later, is still my favorite place in the Magic City.
As you enter the garden, you walk under a passage way and into the sunlight.
I love the tile on the patio as you walk toward the path.
We had come to see artist Jerzy Kedziora's sculptures in an exhibit called "The Art of Balance." As we strolled toward the first sculpture, I spotted a lizard on a rock in the cactus section. If you look closely you can see the lizard is a rainbow of colors. I kept trying to creep closer for a better photo and he kept scampering further up the rock!
Finding the "Art of Balance" sculptures took a lot of concentration. Because they are dark, they blend seamlessly into the tree trunks and branches. You knew you were getting close to one when you saw a bunch of people standing still and looking straight up.
The first piece we saw was called the Tightrope Walker.
We walked down the most beautiful path toward the next one.
Look how she floats in the tree!
This one was definitely one of my favorites.
This next guy was a bit camera shy.
Notice the perfectly sculpted butt!
As we continued walking, we passed the million dollar view.
That day, they were setting up for a wedding ceremony. Lucky couple!
Toward the far end of the garden, three of the "Art of Balance" sculptures are mounted in the same grassy field. This tall and thin one is called Picasso's Girl.
I love the way she seems to be reaching up to the sky.
Just a few paces away was the Gymnast with a Ribbon.
Notice how the sculpture casts a shadow on the grass below, dancing as the piece moves in the breeze.
The third sculpture in this same area is the Tightrope Walker (Female).
For some reason, the facial expression on this one seemed quite serious.
At this point, it was just after 12pm and we decided to stop at the Glasshouse Cafe for lunch. Since we had visited last, the Cafe got a total makeover, including a refreshed look and menu. How cute is this coffee cart?
As I looked a bit more closely, I thought to myself, "Why have I never used terra cotta pots when I decorate for parties?"
Our food was ready very quickly. Gazpacho and chicken Caesar salad for my mom, and soba noodle salad for me. We each ordered a tropical ice tea to help us cool down.
The food was fresh and super delicious. We went back up to the counter to order popsicles. They offer eight flavors, all vegan.
As you walk away from the Cafe, back towards the garden, there's a sculpture of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
If that name is sounding strangely familiar, it's because the high school in Parkland is named after her. Marjory was an environmentalist and a fierce protector of the Everglades. In 1993 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
We knew there were a few more sculptures in the exhibit, but we were having a tough time locating them. Thankfully one of the volunteers pointed us in the right direction!
This guy was quite hard to photograph. This is called the Acrobat with a Chair.
The final sculpture we saw, Oriental Dancer, was very detailed. Her clothing appeared to have great movement despite being made of solid material.
It was even more impressive from the other side.
Once we'd made our way to all of the sculptures, I was sad it was over! I have seen many artists' works at Fairchild and this installation was one of the most memorable. The sculptures appeared to truly belong in their tropical habitat, content flying among the trees.
If you live in Florida or will be visiting during April vacation, the "Art of Balance" is on display through April 30, 2018.