Founded in 1938 on an 83 acre site south of Miami, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden gets it name from one of the most famous plant explorers in history, David Fairchild (1869-1954). Fairchild was known for traveling the world in search of useful plants, but he was also an educator and a renowned scientist. At the age of 22, he created the Section of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction of the United States Department of Agriculture, and for the next 37 years he traveled the world in search of plants of potential use to the American people. Fairchild visited every continent in the world (except Antarctica) and brought back hundreds of important plants, including mangos, alfalfa, nectarines, dates, cotton, bamboos, and the flowering cherry trees that grace Washington D.C.
Dr. Fairchild retired to Miami in 1935 and joined a group of passionate plant collectors and horticulturists, including retired accountant Col. Robert H. Montgomery, environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, County Commisioner Charles Crandon, and landscape architect William Lyman Phillips who were all interested in bringing a one of a kind botanic garden to South Florida. In 1938, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden opened its 83 acres to the public for the first time.
Today, Fairchild is one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world and recognized leader in both Florida and international conservation. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden emphasizes the expansion of plant knowledge through publications, education programs, and research in taxonomy, floristics, conservation biology and ethno-botany. Fairchild plays many roles, including museum, laboratory, learning center and conservation research facility, but it's greatest role is protecting biodiversity, which the garden's scientists, staff, and volunteers all contribute to on a daily basis. In 2012, Fairchild became the home of the American Orchid Society, and opened the state-of-the-art DiMare Science Village, covering more than 25,000 square feet and featuring five buildings including The Clinton Family Conservatory's Wings of the Tropics Exhibit, Glass House Cafe, Windows to the Tropics Conservatory, The Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion and the Kushlan Tropical Plant Science Institute.