McKee Botanical Garden historic marker
McKee Botanical Garden historic marker
McKee Garden
One of the original buildings at McKee Botanical Garden

Spent Saturday celebrating Mom’s birthday with a road trip into our past – to Vero Beach and McKee Botanical Garden, which was McKee Jungle Gardens last time we visited in the late 60s. It’s a lot smaller now, and no jungle critters running around or squawking, but delightfully preserved as a mazy meander of trails through a native hammock peppered with doses of tropical plants.

McKee Botanical Garden
McKee Botanical Garden has a nice mix of native and cultivated plants
McKee Botanical Garden
Wandering the trails of McKee with Amber, Mom, and Dad
McKee Gardens
Gardens are a fun place for kids to learn about nature

Especially eye-catching: the colorful water lilies. Amber tagged along and enjoyed the faux dinosaurs stationed throughout the park, on temporary exhibit, that made it feel more retro 60s under the royal palms.

McKee Gardens
A special exhibit of dinosaurs was scattered throughout the gardens

On the way home, I detoured to a beach – who can resist? – where we saw skimmers huddling together against the wind.

Orchid Island Beach
Mom and the skimmers on Orchid Island Beach

Then a stop at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, which started the whole National Wildlife Refuge system back in 1903. Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, migratory birds have protected stopping points and nesting areas. The pelicans were out on the island, but on the near impoundment, we watched a skimmer do its thing, over and over skimming the surface for a mouthful of bugs.

Pelican Island NWR
Amber on the Centennial Capsule

The Centennial Time Capsule is due to be opened on the park’s bicentennial, 96 years from now, and I told Amber she needs to be there to interpret it!