My dad has a green thumb that I’m jealous I didn’t acquire genetically. Always in awe of his yard and garden, it’s often the first thing I notice on a home or a property. Part of our group itinerary in Kauai was a visit to Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens that also has a the largest collection of bronze sculptures in the US, along with a Children’s Garden. This was something I looked forward to, already in such a beautiful atmosphere, I knew it would be lovely to experience and I hoped that my seven year old would also love and appreciate it!
The first thing the tour guide did was give my daughter a paper bag. In there she would collect anything she found on the ground whether it be flowers, sticks, leaves, etc. Being 7 is incredible in that the little things send you over the moon, and my daughter was! In the first 10 steps she had the bag full of goodies!
Garden founders Joyce and Ed Doty retired to Kauai in 1982 and what began as a landscape project in their front yard grew into a 240 acre paradise! Their goal was to develop their extraordinary artistic and horticultural vision based upon their strong love for the land and the people of the tropics, which is completely evident! We began at the hardwood forest that encompasses about 60,000 trees, the sight is one to behold. Among the path, a ground plant was pointed out that shrinks when you touch it, have you seen it on the islands before?
Beautiful water features, bridges, and palms surround the property, along with a koi-filled lagoon that my daughter loved as she got to feed the fish!Fascinating is the photo of the property taken back in the late 1970’s when the property was first purchased by the Doty’s!
Just up the hill from the waterfall rests the Japanese Teahouse is surrounded by Asian-inspired bonsai, an allspice tree with its spicy berries, and various species of bamboo, including Buddha’s belly bamboo.Most fascinating is the sculpture collection! Mrs. Doty chose 150 bronze sculptures complementing the garden and wild areas of the property, and she also has chosen the precise locations upon which they are placed. They are among 5 themes:
In 2005, the Children’s Garden, “Under the Rainbow” opened and features a one of a kind 16 foot bronze sculpture/fountain depicting Jack in the Beanstalk.Amongst the water feature that invites you to splash about, there is also a Gecko Maze, a Rubbertree Treehouse, jungle with bridges, tunnels, slides, a log cabin, and more sculputres amid a “Navajo Compound.” We were overwhelmed by the imagination the Doty’s had for such a spiritual and creative environment. I’m always pleased when my expectations are exceeded by such fulfilling attractions. My daughter had the time of her life and how couldn’t she?
Na Aina Kai is a guided-tour only location that is so completely worth your time when on Kauai. 6 different tours on 4 days of the week (appointments can be made) allow you to work in a few hours in your schedule to be mesmorized by beauty and art! To learn more, visit http://naainakai.org/.
Our tour was a part of a press trip, opinions are all our own.