Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is a Japanese inspired botanical garden retreat between Gainesville and Ocala, Florida. The once abandoned lime rock quarry was purchased by Dr. Raymond Webber to build his residence. What miners used as a resource to create the foundation of Highway 27 would become a fishing pond for the owner. With the help of others, the dentist transformed the contaminated swamp area into a flourishing garden. Fertilizers are replaced with organic compost to keep everything lush.
The Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens entry fee is $12 for adults. You are given a map that is marked with a blue upper level and a red lower level. As a runner, my feet appreciated the cool and soft feeling from the walking pathways. My Mom and I visited Thanksgiving weekend when Christmas lights were beginning to be displayed.
It was a safe activity to enjoy in the midst of a pandemic. We saw way more animals than we did people; one being a pet squirrel kept on the back porch of the main residence.
We saw a 500 year old Southern Live Oak and some Leopard Tortoises in an enclosure at the end of our self-guided tour.
Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is about a 45 minute drive from Crystal River where my Mom and I spent the morning watching manatees. It was totally worth the drive.
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