The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens offer a relaxing, educational environment for families and visitors of all ages. Slated for demolition in 1958, the house was saved by the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation. The Foundation is a nonprofit educational institution. This was the first restoration project in Key West, and is still considered the gem of the island’s restoration movement.
A visit to the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens is an exploration into local history and folklore, while the gardens offer a lush one-acre view of tropical foliage. You will enjoy viewing the works of John James Audubon, world renown ornithologist. There are 28 first edition Audubon works in the house.
Audubon visited the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas in 1832. Audubon left Key West having sighted and drawn 18 new birds for his “Birds of America” folio. It is believed that many of those drawings were conceived in the Audubon House garden. Audubon’s painting of the white-crowned pigeon features the Geiger tree found in the front yard of the house.
The 19th-century home was built by Captain John H. Geiger, a harborJohn James Audubon Photo pilot and master wrecker, who lived in the house with his wife and nine children. It was an era when shipwrecks occurred daily on the off-shore reef. It was a time of pirates and yellow fever, slave ships and Indian wars.
Antique enthusiasts will appreciate the unique quality of the furnishings purchased for the Audubon House at estate sales and auctions in Europe. Typical of the sort of furnishings to be found in a prosperous Key West home during the 1800’s the furnishings reflect the elegance and comfortable living enjoyed in Key West during its prime.
You will continue your tour by wandering through the gardens along the brick paths shared with skittering geckos. Varieties of orchids emerge from the foliage and trees to surprise you with their vibrant blooms. Bromeliads and other tropical plants and trees abound. The herb garden and 1840-style nursery provide an historic look at gardening, while native plants and exotics provide an environment that is reminiscent of old Key West. This is the finest tropical garden in the Florida Keys. Please linger as long as you like.
Audio tours of the House and Gardens. The recreated voices of Mr. and Mrs. John Gieger, and some of their children, take you back to historic life in Key West. The audio tours are in English and Spanish. Written tours are available in German, Japanese, French, and Italian for your convenience.