The true delight of the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden lies in its paradise of 300 rare palm trees. Up above you the different shapes of the lovely palms stretch high into the sky. You are truly enclosed by jungle of the prettiest kind. Twisty, gnarled trees and strangler figs add to the effect. Through the fence and across the road is the blue intracoastal waterway. Possibly of less appeal to a broad audience are the large, ominous sculptures spread out throughout the garden. The brick sculptures of chunky, squared shapes were inspired by the landscape of brick chimneys leftover from burnt houses in war-era Alabama, where Ann Weaver Norton was raised. There are also large and small sculptures of people, in rigid stance with deep-set eyes. There is a pond and a large brick sculpture of a random shape surrounded by a moat of water. This one is a sort of Rorschach test, in that it's up to the beholder to state what it resembles. Don't miss out on checking out Ann Weaver Norton's studio, in the midst of the garden. Architecturally, it's modern and wonderful, with large windows looking out on garden and sky. Here you can see the many tools and chemicals she used, and the way she shaped her sculptures with wood inside. Many of her smaller sculptures can be found here. It is fun for children to see the large sculptures in the garden, and surely impressive to them because of the sheer scale of them. Kids really enjoy looking at the map which you can get at the front desk and figuring out which sculpture they see and pointing to it on the map. This is one way to keep kids interested.
The main house has been changed somewhat since the Nortons lived there and features temporary art exhibits. Ann's husband, Ralph Hubbard Norton, collected art and founded the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. He made his fortune as president of Acme Steel. He is NOT the same Norton who founded the Norton Simon Museum in Los Angeles.
In early December on certain nights from 6-8:30pm, there is a gorgeous Festival of Trees in the garden, with thirty lit-up themed trees and best of all a light and music show with a dancing fountain and lasers shining twinkling lights into the trees. Cost is $20 for adults and $7 for kids, at the door or online.
Walk around the neighborhood after and check out the great architecture from the beginning of the 20th century, or walk along the waterfront across the street from the house on the intracoastal waterway. After your walk, have a coffee at Common Grounds, in the Casa Mara apartment complex. It is so nice in there! The seats are soft so you can stay a while. There are big windows with sunlight coming in and tropical landscaping outside. They have great tea in glass teapots, and chocolate croissants. And there are lots of young people from Palm Beach Atlantic University on the weekend. The music is also good.
You can also walk all the way to Clematis Street and enjoy some yummy food and a happening vibe.
The Ann Norton Sculpture Garden is located at 253 Barcelona Rd, West Palm Beach FL 33401, call (561) 832- 5328.
Exit Highway 95 at Okeechobee Hwy and head toward the ocean. When you get to the intracoastal waterway, turn right on Flagler Dr. Turn right on Barcelona Rd and park along the street.
Open Wed-Sun 10-4. Closed in August. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors aged 65 and older, $5 or children aged 5 and older.
Festival of Trees is in early December on certain nights from 6-8:30pm. Cost is $20 for adults, $7 for children.
Common Grounds Brew, 3065 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Open daily 7am-7pm.
Last Updated: Sat, 02 Dec 2023 16:52:45 GMT