Many associate the arts with windowless museums and jam-packed theaters; as lovely as those experiences are, there are also many cultural experiences awaiting beyond our doorsteps.
The great outdoors provide an ideal environment for enjoying the arts, especially in the palm-tree paradise of South Florida and in this era prioritizing fresh air and personal space. Fortunately, the Sunshine State’s tropical climate permits outdoor experiences all year long and in every season.
These cultural organizations around The Palm Beaches—each entirely outdoors—are among the top local spots to experience arts alfresco, so head outside and enjoy.
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, Jupiter
Whether you opt to hike the 105 spiraling steps to the top of the light or remain fully out-of-doors, there’s plenty to enjoy in the open air at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum and its surrounding grounds. Up high or at ground level, visitors are treated to the stunning blues of the Jupiter Inlet as well as a bit of history—built in 1860, the lighthouse is the oldest structure in Palm Beach County, and its museum contains information about the Native Americans, lighthouse keepers, and pioneers who occupied the land before us.
Note that there are currently added safety protocols in place; guests must wear a mask and remain distanced from other visitors, and only 10 people are allowed to climb at a time.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach
For a perfectly Floridian cultural experience, head straight to Loggerhead Marinelife Center, where conservation meets animal encounters. The center nurses injured sea turtles back to health, releasing them back to the wild when possible. Their work centers around the fact that sea turtles reveal the health of our oceans, and our oceans reflect the health of our planet.
Both a hospital (with viewing windows) and rehabilitation tanks are located onsite; visitors can self-tour or join a guided group to take an up-close peek into the inner workings of the center’s efforts. If you fall head over heels for a sea turtle patient, you can “adopt” it to support its recovery and keep tabs on its journey back to the deep blue sea.
Face coverings are currently required for everyone age 2 and up.
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, West Palm Beach
Few places pair arts and sunshine better than the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can meander a menagerie of mysterious sculptures situated across a two-acre urban sanctuary populated with over 250 species of rare palms, cycads, and unusual tropical flora. The sculptures were built on-site over a period of 15 years, sprinkled all throughout dense gardens designed by respected botanist Sir Peter Smithers.
Masks should be worn while strolling, if maintaining distance from others is not possible.
The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach
While the 10-acre campus of The Society of the Four Arts is home to two libraries, a performance hall, an art gallery, and an education center, its sprawling gardens are the true jewel, perfect for an enriching alfresco experience. Visitors should explore both the Four Arts Botanical Gardens, created in 1938 to demonstrate the ins and outs of gardening in Florida’s tropical climate, and the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden, which contains 20 sculptures by renowned artists plus bougainvillea-laden pergolas—an outdoor “museum” of sorts.
Groups of more than 10 are not permitted to enter the gardens at this time, and visitors must wear masks and maintain distance from others.
Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
While traveling internationally remains complicated at best, those dreaming of a trip to Japan can instead head to the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, which feels a bit like teleporting to the Land of the Rising Sun. This is especially true amidst the tranquility of its 16-acre Japanese gardens, a welcome respite from the turmoil of our modern world. Visitors will find shaded, meticulously landscaped paths to stroll as well as areas to rest in between highlights like a bonsai collection and koi-filled lake.
Only contactless payment methods (such as credit and debit cards) are accepted at this time, and opting for the self-guided audio tour is encouraged. Capacity is limited and masks must be worn in the garden whenever social distancing is not possible.
We hope you enjoy the arts outdoors here in The Palm Beaches, Florida’s Cultural Capital! Get to know us more by taking a close look at our cultural destination online and find more for you and your family to experience while you’re here.
Skye Sherman is a freelance travel writer based in South Florida. She is also a private pilot, scuba diver, bookworm, and world traveler whose curiosity and eagerness to explore send her all over the globe.