Hope Botanical Gardens or Hope Gardens, as most Jamaicans call it, is a popular spot especially for those who live in Kingston and surroundings. It’s where they go to relax on Sunday afternoon, or to enjoy nature.
With the nearby Hope Zoo, Hope Gardens is also a favorite destination for school trips – it’s on almost every school’s excursion schedule.
Hope Gardens sits on 60-acres of the Ligunaea Plains at the foot of the Blue Mountains. The property, originally part of Hope Estates, was acquired around 1881 and experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, assisted in laying out the formal gardens. They introduced several varieties of endemic plants, rare flora and exotic species.
I’ve read that Queen Elizabeth II was so impressed by the Gardens that she gave permission for it to be called the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hope.
Through a series of unfortunate incidents, including devastation from hurricane, vandalism, and mismanagement, Hope Gardens fell into disrepair in the 1980s. It is now nearly back to its former splendor.
Hope Gardens has a lily pond, sunken gardens, orchid house, bougainvillea walk, and other attractions. It’s a great location for bird watching. Several species, including doves, egrets, Jamaican mango, yellow- and black-billed parrots, and different varieties of the hummingbird (Jamaica’s national bird) can be seen in the park.
Hope’s expansive space and lush environment make it a popular venue for weddings, reunions, picnics, festivals, yoga classes or a leisurely stroll.
Hope Botanical Gardens Particulars
Hours: Daily from 6:00 a.m. except on Labor Day and Hero’s Day.
Current Entrance Fees: Adults $5, Children (3 – 12 years) $3
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