By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- An audience with Queen Crepe Myrtle and the Woods Blue Goddess just became a little easier to obtain.
During the hot months of summer vacation, the beautiful and delicate water lilies of McKee Botanical Garden make their appearance in Vero Beach, and a special three-month pass can give guests unlimited visits to see the blooms all summer long.
During the month of July, McKee Botanical Garden is offering three-month summer memberships to the garden. The pass is $10 per individual or $15 per family and provides unlimited admission to the garden during open hours.
"For slightly more than the cost of daily admission, visitors can enjoy unlimited visits to the garden along with additional benefits for a three-month trial period," said Christine Hobart, executive director of the garden, in a press release.
The summer membership includes a 10 percent discount at the garden gift shop and free or reduced admission to more than 200 gardens, museums and arboreta in the U.S. through the American Horticultural Society's reciprocal admission program, 17 of which are in Florida.
There could be as many as 200 water lilies blooming all around the garden during one visit, in about 90 different varieties. Blossom colors range from pinks and purples to yellows and oranges and even multicolored specimens.
"Whether planning a staycation or simply seeking family-friendly activities close to home, a summer membership to McKee presents a great value," Ms. Hobart said.
"The garden is able to provide smaller visitors with interactive programming to enhance their visit to the garden," said Kelly Susino, marketing director for the garden.
The Garden Discovery Backpack program is available for no additional cost and includes an activity guide, journal and educational materials to engage children during their garden exploration.
The backpacks are age-appropriate, come in five different themes and allow for fun on multiple visits.
Themes include, "Garden Explorer," "Things with Wings," It's a Bug's World," "Plantastic" and "Survival: Lost in the Jungle."
The garden is closed on Mondays and major holiday. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
McKee Botanical Garden is located at 350 U.S. 1, Vero Beach. For more information, call (772) 794-0601 or visit www.mckeegarden.org.