Grand Opening Celebration for Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden

A Special Invitation to Attend a Community Open House

The long wait is finally over! Selby Gardens’ newest family-friendly feature will officially open to significant fanfare and rejoicing on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in downtown Sarasota’s urban bayfront oasis.

Many members of the Selby Gardens family and community-at-large have played a role and helped make this day possible. This will be a wonderful day of celebration and thanks. There are still many ways to lend support this to this exciting new feature at Selby Gardens.

The day’s activities will include guided tours, tropical refreshments, rainforest performances and storytelling, games and SO MUCH MORE! From 11:30-3:30 we will also feature:


  • Rainforest crafts in the Kids' Corner (pet rock frogs, etc...)
  • Bean Sprouts planting activity on the Rainforest cart - outside
  • Ringling College of Art and Design artists rainforest layers mural activity and puppet theater painting - outside
  • Hugging tree and field researchers photo ops



Admission to the grand opening celebration is included with paid admission to the Gardens.

Members FREE; member guests $5

Adults $19; Children 4-11 $6 ; Children 3 and under FREE

For this special event guest passes, coupons and reciprocal offers are not permitted.

More about Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden

The great outdoors provides curious young minds with a rich setting for exploration and discovery.

Designed and created to expand the Gardens’ outreach and programming for children and family, guests to the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden can expect to encounter a variety of activities to make their time spent more memorable and educational.

A representative sample of experiences include:

  • A hands-on gardening area for children focusing on the theme of rainforest foods will inspire children and families to learn where their food comes from while encouraging healthy habits.
  • Interactive stations at the Treetop Research Station and two Lookout Towers will provide materials and interactive elements to examine plants just like botanists in the field do.
  • Interactive stations in the Amazon Village will provide opportunities for child-centered play to explore cultural elements (musical instruments and tools, puzzles, and organic materials such as seed pods and leaves), the impact of rainforests in our lives (rainforest products such as rubber, hardwoods, or food), and conservation messages (images & information about the impacts of deforestation).

Feature Highlights

Overall, a central theme ties the elements of a garden together and makes for a more effective, rewarding garden experi­ence. Rainforest plants from Central and South America are currently growing and on display at Selby Gardens. Just as it is important to protect animal habitats, there are threatened and endangered plant species that are at risk because of habitat deterioration/depletion. Before we can understand why plant habitats need our protection, we need to know where and how they grow. Many rainforest plants grow in trees and that is the reason our rainforest garden was designed to create an elevated experience for visitors and give them a taste of treetop living. When our researchers and scientists go out into the wild, they study plants, gather information and collaborate with indigenous botanic gardens to further our knowledge about the species and habitat. The rainforest garden at Selby will have a research station to inspire curious young minds that will be a model of what they might find in an actual working research center.

The children’s rainforest garden will feature a 16’ waterfall, swinging bridges, field research stations, an epiphyte canyon, caves for exploring and an adventure trail in addition to an Amazon village with an amphitheater.

How big is it?

With all its amenities and features, the new garden is just slightly less than one acre in size. It is located just south and west of the Selby House around the base of one of the fig trees Marie Selby planted back in the early 1920’s – in an area known as The Banyan Grove.

At its highest point, the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden is 27’ tall. This is at the top of the platforms where suspended rope bridges connect adventurous botanists to the field research station in the banyan canopy.

The overall gardens and greenhouses at Selby occupy approximately 11 acres while the entire campus setting is comprised of 16 acres.