Bringing a bit of Japan to Florida’s Wildlife

Even on the busiest street in South Florida, the wildlife seems unlimited. Palm trees, lush greenery and a whole lot of insects and animals can be found everywhere.

Unfortunately for South Florida residents, there is no foolproof way to avoid a stray palm branch getting stuck in between windshield wiper blades, or dodging pesky lizards. However, rest assured that there is, in fact, a way to enjoy all the perks of Floridian wildlife, without all the hassle.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens offer plenty of natural beauty to keep one entertained, while still having an option to stay out of the endless Florida heat.

“I love the weather in Florida, but sometimes the heat can get too intense,” said Alia Buoniello, junior. “The Morikami gardens are beautiful, and I can always stop into the museum itself to cool down and check out the new exhibits.”

One does not have to stray far from campus to enjoy this experience. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, a center for Japanese arts and culture is located minutes away from Lynn at 4000 Morikami Park Rd, Delray Beach, FL 33446.

The museum itself, the Yamato-kan, houses several exhibitions of Japanese art and artifacts throughout the year and is located on its own island.

Though exhibits tend to change roughly three times a year, one could discover the origins of the Yamato colony and envision Japan through the museum’s two permanent exhibits.

“I’ve been to the museum multiple times and every time I go, there’s something new and exciting,” said Sydney Trezza, senior. “The permanent exhibits are fascinating, but I love seeing what’s additional exhibits they’ve added.”

Morikami also features six authentic Japanese gardens, totaling up to a mile-long path. Along the way one will take a trip through time. Each garden represents a style unique to the ninth through the 20th centuries, from sprawling greenery to serene rock gardens.

To cool down after a stroll through the gardens, one can enjoy a drink or a delicious lunch at the museum’s Cornell Café. The Café offers a Pan-Asian inspired menu from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Though there is a separate air-conditioned area to dine, there are tables out on the terraces overlooking the gardens.

“The food is so good,” said Buoniello. “Their sushi is really fresh tasting and the prices are reasonable.”

Guests are also encouraged to stop by Morikami’s store, where they sell apparel, jewelry, books and stationary, specialty teas, and home décor.

From Oct. 1-31, they are having their Annual Woodstock Chime and Rain Chain Sale, where one can save 15 to 25 percent off various wind chimes of different sizes and styles.

For those interested in Morikami, the museum offers discounted membership to students and educators. To gain student level general membership, there is a fee of $40 and one gains unlimited free admission to the museum and gardens as well as exclusive invitations to members-only receptions and events.

Just present student ID at purchase and reap the benefits.

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