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“Awesome learning experience ”

Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden
Ranked #31 of 191 things to do in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: OPEN RAIN OR SHINE Come have fun with talking, laughing and dancing parrots. Artist and environmental activist Nancy Forrester has been rescuing abused and orphaned parrots for 28 years. Join her at 10 to 11 AM daily for Nancy's special presentation "Parrot 101" or "Storytelling" where guests can take pictures of un-caged birds, hold them and ask questions. We gladly welcome families with children and animal lovers to the Secret Garden to interact with our endangered South & Central American macaws and other parrots. Open 10 to 3 daily. Guided 10 to 11, Self-guided 11 to 3 PM. Educational material for each parrot is offered. Help inspire the birds by spending time with them. Bring a picnic lunch, play musical instruments, paint, write, sing, and dance. Parrots love music and videos played on smart devices! Well behaved dogs welcome. Please, leave your parrots at home! Thank you
Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

We arrived just as the garden opened. We enjoyed a leisurely educational session with Nancy and her birds. She is so knowledgeable about the birds.

Thank edie j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"beautiful birds"
in 47 reviews
"animal lovers"
in 13 reviews
"bird sanctuary"
in 16 reviews
"rescued birds"
in 9 reviews
"blue parrot"
in 7 reviews
"love animals"
in 7 reviews
"hyacinth macaw"
in 5 reviews
"unique experience"
in 8 reviews
"wealth of information"
in 4 reviews
"duval street"
in 5 reviews
"cages"
in 50 reviews
"donation"
in 50 reviews
"rainforest"
in 12 reviews
"mission"
in 13 reviews
"extinction"
in 5 reviews
"stimulation"
in 4 reviews
"acre"
in 11 reviews
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19 - 23 of 429 reviews

Reviewed 3 April 2018 via mobile

This was an amazing, FUN experience w/Nancy & her parrots! We got to hold Mr. Peaches & a BIG beautiful BLUE parrot named Baby! Such a treat to interact so closely w/the birds. Nancy seemed to genuinely love including babies and little kids (big kids too!) in her presentation - in a great, relaxed atmosphere. What an unexpected vacation highlight!

Thank Gemgara108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2018

As a huge parrot fan, and reasonably well-informed ex-owner I wouldn't have missed meeting Nancy and her rescued birds for anything, but the 'secret garden' is not quite what it was. I think some of the other visitors were disappointed not to find a sort of mini botanical gardens plus parrots, but I understand Nancy lost much of her land, so what you'll now see (weather permitting) is lots of birds in large cages in her backyard, itself somewhat damaged by Irma. And the 10.00am 'tour' is really an educational experience - the birds, most of which have been rescued from unsuitable homes and sometimes traumatic circumstances, can't really be handled by anyone other than Nancy, so although she's fascinating and the birds are beautiful, it's an opportunity to listen, learn and watch the birds more than it is a garden to wander around in, or some sort of petting zoo.

Please do visit though - her work is very valuable and if you have any interest in birds and their care and conservation I think you'll love it. Much of her work is aimed at discouraging people from buying parrots from petshops - we're breeding more of them than there are suitable homes for, so people like Nancy end up adopting ex 'pets' which turned out to be much too much work for the families who bought them. So go visit Nancy instead, to watch and find out why parrots are such demanding (but rewarding) company.

1  Thank UKLizzie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2018

This experience was not what we expected. It was a windy day so Ms. Forrester did not take the birds outside where she said they usually interact with the guests. I did get to pose with the large rare blue parrot. We didn't see all the birds and were confined to a rather crowded dark room filled with a lot of stuff and no windows. Instead of hearing about each bird, we heard a lot about the disaster of abandoned birds that owners gave up after tiring of them. Ms. Forrester would like to start a bird park (like a dog park) and spent a lot of time talking about that also. I would have preferred to learn more about the birds. I do not regret going because the entrance fees help take care of these rescued birds. Apparently, abandoned birds are a national problem.

Thank NancyLee_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 March 2018

We went to see Nancy on our last day in Key West. There already was a Brazilian couple sitting inside Nancy's ramshackle house when we arrived. Then two women with two squirmy small children showed up. Nancy explained that it was too cold for the birds to be outside in the garden today. So we never had a chance to see her garden.

We were more interested in the birds and her discussion so we didn't even think to ask to see it. That is probably a good thing. Other TripAdvisor reviewers have said that, for any of a number of reasons, the garden no longer exists. One reviewer said that Nancy could no longer afford the upkeep of the garden area so she closed it. Another said that the back of the property is under development. Nancy did say that she hasn't fully recovered from Hurricane Irma. So it is possible that the garden was ripped up by Irma. Based on what other people are saying and based on our experience, I think the garden is more metaphorical than real at this point.

During Nancy's discussion, the Brazilian man had to take a phone call and he left and never came back. A little while later, the Brazilian woman excused herself. Then the two women with the squirmy children had to go. So my wife and I had a nice chat with Nancy.

We spent about an hour with Nancy. My wife and I enjoyed our visit. Like a lot of "Conchs" (Nancy technically would be a fresh water Conch since she wasn't born in Key West), Nancy has an interesting back story. She more or less fell into the parrot care business but, over the years, she has acquired a lot of knowledge and experience with these beautiful creatures.

I would characterize this attraction as a chance to meet an interesting person, see some beautiful birds and contribute to a worthwhile cause. Nancy is 79 and I'm not sure how much longer she is going to be able to keep up her parrot menagerie. I would encourage anyone who likes parrots and enjoys meeting new people to plan a visit with Nancy because, when Nancy is gone, there won't be anyone like her.

1  Thank Scott B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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