Located in Palm Beach County, the Morikami Museum and Gardens encourages visitors to explore 16 acres of Japanese gardens (Roji-En), a gallery of rotating exhibits, relax in the cafe and purchase souvenirs in the museum store. The Morikami also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year which celebrate the living culture of Japan.
The shaded, tranquil road leading to the Morikami Museum was our first clue that we found a real oasis in the heart of Palm Beach County! We saw staff members and volunteers preparing the grounds for the 32nd annual Hatsume Fair which transforms the park into a two-day Japanese spring festival complete with live entertainment and demonstrations, food and drink vendors, artisans selling their wares and special activities for children. We liked the abundance of birds, fish and especially the tiny lizard (iguana) on the fence near the entrance.
Just off of the main gallery of the museum, we watched an informative film about the history of the Japanese people who started the Yamato farming colony in the early 1900's and the developments leading up to the current 16-acre garden property and museum. On the other side of the museum, we learned about the tea ceremony in the Seishin-an tea house. This is an amazing space! Our preschooler especially liked the miniature display of the grounds and making origami rabbits (suggested donation of $1 per rabbit as a fundraiser). The volunteers were helpful with the origami and also showed great pride in the exhibitions.
We took about an hour to stroll along the easily accessible circular paths and discovered rock gardens, bonsai, sculptures, beautiful waterfalls, flowers, foot bridges and wildlife sightings. The atmosphere here is relaxed, peaceful and calm. One of our favorite suggestions is the "listen with your eyes and see with your ears" while out in the Roji-En (Garden on the Drops of Dew).
The self-guided audio tour, available for a small fee at the main entrance, has a family friendly track which is very helpful when touring with young children. If you get hungry on your stroll, visit the lovely open-air cafe which overlooks the lake. They offer a variety of interesting Asian style tasty treats as well as beer and wine. The museum store has a wonderful assortment of unique and affordable treasures.
On Yamato Island, our preschooler enjoyed seeing what children in Japan wear to school while sitting at a desk in a typical classroom. The "Japan Through the Eyes of a Child" exhibit in the original Morikami Museum building does a great job of showing an everyday glimpse into Japanese life and culture. Our daughter liked seeing the packages of familiar foods in Japanese packages, a phone, and especially the bedrooms and bathrooms. We bought a bag of food to feed the koi (carp) in the shady nearby lake. Several older couples gathered to watch our preschooler gleefully toss food to the fish and delighted in her joy almost as much as she did.
Visiting the Morikami is a peaceful and educational experience. Children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult during the visit. Although some children might be tempted to climb on the beautiful rocks or sculptures, it is suggested that the adults teach the children about respect and preservation of the environment and avoid these activities. I hope to visit again to see how the gardens change through the seasons and also to watch the Sado (Tea Ceremony Demonstrations) which are held monthly from October through June.
We received complimentary admission tickets (admission is free for children five and under) at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. There were no requirements that I express a particular point of view. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
This is one of the most beautiful places in South Florida! There is a museum inside with Japanese art and culture. Then you can walk outside through the tranquil gardens. There is a restaurant that is great but a little pricey. We usually eat elsewhere. I always enjoy browsing the gift shop for cute Japanese themed odds and ends. We love this place so much, my husband and I considered it for our wedding venue.