When a staff member of an attraction you are visiting meets you at the gate eager to share their passion and love for the work they do, you just know the experience is going to be awesome and that is just what John and I experienced today at Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens.
100 years ago the property was a working lime rock quarry and remained so until it was abandoned in 1960. Dr. Raymond Webber purchased the property in 1991 and after 27 years of backbreaking work and labors of love, Dr Webber and a small team of workers transformed the abandoned polluted quarry into a breathtaking place of beauty. Dr. Webber wishing to share his creation with everyone to see, created the non-profit Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens, Inc. and donated the entire 20-acre botanical garden to the non-profit. In 2014 it opened to the public.
The roadway to the main entrance is unpaved and more than a bit bumpy but the scenery of woodlands and ponds are amazing. Once at the main gate you will find it closed, no worries, just swing it open and close it behind you as it is kept closed to keep the roaming cows out of the gardens. Yes cows, from the open pasture on the adjoining property belonging to Dr. Webber himself.
At the main office you will be greeted by a friendly staff member with guide map in hand, eager to explain to you what you will be seeing and advising you on the best way to visit the gardens. The setting is kept as natural as possible and during heavy periods of rain and when the aquifer is full, the staff chooses not to pump out excess water and allows the lower quarry paths to flood. When this happens the staff closes the lower quarry paths to the public, however your experience will not be lessened, as the beauty of the gardens is all around and above the flood lines.
The pathways take you through a scenic landscape of Azaleas, Camellias, Bamboos, Gingers, Bromeliads, Orchids and the list can go on and on. You will also have the opportunity to see songbirds, butterflies, owls and turtles, among other possible wildlife encounters .
The pathway even takes you across Dr. Webber’s back porch and into his own personal orchard giving you a delightful peek into a man’s hobby turned into a place for all to take in and enjoy.
Picnic tables are available throughout Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens making this a wonderful venue for a relaxing or romantic picnic. Benches are abundant along the walkways allowing for picturesque spots to sit back and rest while taking in the majestic wonder of the surroundings.
Admission is a real value at $12.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 6 -13. Children under 6 are free. Active Duty Military is half price at only $6.00. Leashed pets are welcome. Operating hours are from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm Sunday- Tuesday and Thursday – Saturday. Closed on Wednesdays. Because this is in very wooded surroundings, we recommend you apply bug repellent before you enter the gardens. Non-skid shoes are also highly recommended.
The Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is available for weddings or special events. To find out more about booking your special event contact Lori Wallace at (352) 812-2276 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several scheduled events going on throughout the year, check the Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens event calendar for more information.
Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is located at 4990 NE 180th avenue in Williston, Florida. Williston is less than 30 miles northwest of Ocala and the drive there was a beautiful journey in itself. Highways lined with green pastures, gorgeous horse farms, rolling hills and woodland views made the drive a very enjoyable experience.
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