Adventures of Gus and Kim: Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park - Tallahassee, Florida


Earlier this year, Gus and I visited the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee, Florida. The park is beautiful and offers something for everyone. They have a recreation area that includes a playground, swimming, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, picnicking, hiking and biking. But that's not why we were there.

Adventures of Gus and Kim: Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park - if you're looking for a must-do activity in Tallahassee, you can't go wrong with Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. It's especially beautiful January - March when everything is blooming!

We were there to see the beautiful Maclay Gardens and the Maclay House.

Adventures of Gus and Kim: Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park - if you're looking for a must-do activity in Tallahassee, you can't go wrong with Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. It's especially beautiful January - March when everything is blooming!

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

Just a little background info about Alfred B. Maclay (I didn't know anything about him prior to our visit.) Maclay was a very wealthy banker from New York who was married to Louise Fleischmann (of the wealthy Fleischmann (margarine and yeast) family). They visited Tallahassee in 1923 and fell in love with the area. He loved gardening and decided this would be a perfect place for his gardens. There was a 1906 hunting lodge on the property, so the Maclays did extensive renovations from 1923-1925, naming it Killearn (in honor of the Scottish town) and making it their winter home.

Azaleas at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

Camellia at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

Both Maclays loved camellias and azaleas, so they make up the foundation of the gardens. The garden grew and grew, adding dogwoods, oriental magnolias, tulips, irises, banana shrubs, honeysuckle, silverbell trees, and pansies.

Beautiful gardens at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

Alfred died in 1944 at the age of 46, so Louise continued their dream. In 1953, she and their children donated more than 300 acres of land to Florida - including the house and gardens. Land has been added since then, so that the park now covers almost 1200 acres.

Beautiful gardens at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

Beautiful gardens at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

I have one piece of advice for you. When you plan your visit, be sure to go between January and March when the gardens are blooming. We were there in mid-March and everything was in bloom. It was stunning.

Azaleas at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

There is an added fee when you visit between January and March, but it's worth it. The trees and flowers are just amazingly beautiful, and the entire garden area is so peaceful and calm.

Beautiful trees at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!

I fell in love with the house. Even the interior. It just looks like a home you'd find in Key West. Minimal rooms, but oh-so-charming.

Main house at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!
Main house at Killearn (now Maclay Gardens)

Living room in main house at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!
Living room at Killearn (now Maclay Gardens)

There is another building behind the main house which we were told was the childrens' residence. There was only one bedroom in the main house, so Louise had the childrens' quarters built. I like the way she thinks!

Childrens' residence behind main house at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee!
Childrens' residence at Killearn (now Maclay Gardens)

The weather was wonderful the day we were there and we really enjoyed the time we spent in the gardens. It's definitely a must-do in Tallahassee!

Adventures of Gus and Kim: Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park - if you're looking for a must-do activity in Tallahassee, you can't go wrong with Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. It's especially beautiful January - March when everything is blooming!

Adventures of Gus and Kim: Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park - if you're looking for a must-do activity in Tallahassee, you can't go wrong with Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. It's especially beautiful January - March when everything is blooming!

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
3540 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, Florida  32309
(850) 487-4556

Hours:
Park and gardens 8am - sunset, daily
Maclay House January - April, 9am - 5pm daily

Cost:
$6 per vehicle (does not include Gardens entry, January - April)
$6 Gardens entry, adults January - April
$3 Gardens entry, children (2-12) January - April
Kim A.
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