Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens in Williston, Florida is quite a unique botanical gardens in many aspects. Located just a short drive southwest of Gainesville you’ll find this wonderful oasis in the country. This oasis has been in the making for over 20 years and it’s not finished yet.
Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens were founded by Dr. Raymond Webber. Taking a reclaimed limestone quarry, Dr. Webber began his creation by commissioning one wheelbarrow at a time to move rocks creating the lakes and ponds. No heavy excavating equipment was used in the process. Then he added hundreds of species of flowers and flora to create serene lush landscapes and several stunning waterfalls.
I spent part of my visit talking with the staff and was given quite a thorough history of the gardens and it’s beginning. Before I started my trek, they took the time to show me a Least Halberd Fern and a Brittle Maiden Hair, rare plants that they are very proud to have as part of this garden. The staff was so helpful and friendly, and they are quite an asset to the gardens.
I took my time walking through, I didn’t want to miss anything. There are so many beautiful flowers and plants to see. The ponds are filled with very large Koi fish and a catfish named Big Ben that weighs over 100 lbs. Unfortunately, Big Ben did not surface for me on this trip, shy I guess.
There is an upper level and a lower level to explore. There are numerous pavilions and benches, big & small, for you to rest or sit and just enjoy the beauty. You can spend as much time as you like here. It’s a perfect place to just slow down and turn the cell phone off and literally smell the roses! Bring the kids and enjoy a picnic.
You will see birds such as owls, songbirds and many butterflies. There are also several species of animals that call the garden home, turtles, ducks, a mating pair of swans, cats, even a few cockatoos and more. Their plan is to expand the habitats and gradually add more animals.
From its inception, its amazing how one man’s vision of an using an old quarry becomes a stunning oasis just off the beaten path and that the expansion of the gardens will continue. So take a little time away from the hustle and bustle of the busier tourist attractions in Florida and take a stroll through a Japanese garden, sit and watch a waterfall, and enjoy almost every color flower you can imagine. The gardens are surrounded by a 54 acre nature preserve, plenty of room to roam, take a walk and enjoy the birds.
Cedar Woods Lakes & Gardens is located @ 4990 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696, PH:(352)529-0055.
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