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Located on the south shore of Kauai, Allerton Garden is a top tourist attraction and a must-see when visiting the island. Covering 80 acres and also called Lāwaʻi-kai, this lovely botanical garden is named after Robert Allerton and John Gregg Allerton.
To help you understand the significance of this garden and prepare for your visit, here are the important things to know about Allerton Garden on Kauai.
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The history of Allerton Garden is linked to the arrival of the first Europeans to Kauai in the late 1700s and the ownership of land in the Lawa’i Valley. This was also the home of Queen Emma of Hawaii, who lived in a modest house in this area before that time. Fast forward to 1938, when Robert Allerton, an artist, bought the property and partnered with John Gregg, an architectural student.
The men worked together to design the garden with exotic plants and works of art. Today, it’s one of the best gardens in the U.S. Along with the influences of the Hawaiian queen and a sugar plantation magnate, there is a lot of history, creativity, and beauty to learn about at Allerton Garden when you visit the site.
Take a tour of the garden to see the curved-root trees, swaying bamboo, flowers, and tropical fruit trees. There are palms, gingers, heliconias, and other tropical plants growing here too.
One popular option is the 2.5-hour Allerton Garden guided tour, available at $60 per adult and $30 per child. On this tour, you’ll see expertly crafted garden rooms, sculptures, exotic plants, water features, and the famous Moreton Bay fig trees featured often in movies and television.
Other tour options are the three-hour Allerton Garden sunset tour, 2.5-hour Best of Both Worlds Tour that includes both Allerton and McBryde Gardens, and private tours are available by appointment only. For a unique experience, you can also book an Allerton by Fire guided tour experience that includes dinner or take a twilight tour guided by moonlight to ordinarily off-limits areas and secret garden tunnels.
Each tour offers something a bit different and has its own price. Tours involve a bus ride into the garden.
No matter which tour you choose, wear closed-toed shoes or secure hiking sandals since you will be walking during the tours. On all of the tours, you’ll also hear about how the traditional Hawaiian way of life changed and differed between the upper and lower Lawa’i valleys. Events, such as plant sales and gift and craft markets, are scheduled at the gardens throughout the year.
Allerton Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG), which includes the McBryde Garden, Kahanu Garden, Limahuli Garden & Preserve, and the Kampong. NTBG is a nonprofit organization that has been offering education, conservation, and research opportunities since 1964. This network of five botanical gardens covers almost 2,000 acres of land and has locations in both Hawaii and Florida.
Other things to see and do near the gardens are Sprouting Horn Park with its dramatic blowhole, Kukuiʻula Harbor Beach, and the Kukuiʻula Golf Course.