Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden

518 Elizabeth St, Key West, FL 33040

(305) 294-0015


Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden, located at 518 Elizabeth Street in Key West, Florida, is a unique and educational sanctuary for orphaned parrots. This sanctuary has been a haven for these birds for over 30 years, specializing in the rescue, rehoming, and training of parrots, particularly macaws. It's recognized as one of the smallest parrot sanctuaries in the United States and one of the few that offers daily educational experiences to the public. Visitors can engage with a variety of macaw species, two hybrids, and other parrots, all while learning about their care and the importance of adoption over shopping for pets​​.

The Secret Garden is open daily from 10 AM to 3 PM, and the admission fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children aged 5 to 11. The experience includes storytelling sessions led by Nancy or volunteers like Sean, Carol, and Michele, usually between 10 and 11 AM. However, there may be times when visitors need to guide themselves​​.

Nancy Forrester is not only dedicated to the care of parrots but is also an environmental artist and sustainability activist. Her art, which spans various mediums including painting, land art, and performance, focuses on bringing attention to environmental issues and the conservation of natural resources. One of her notable projects, started in 1993, involves using her property, now the Secret Garden, to save the last wooded acre in old town Key West from development, while also addressing the abuse of overbred parrots created by the pet trade​​​​.

In addition to the standard visits, the Secret Garden offers unique interactive experiences for visitors. For example, guests are encouraged to read books aloud to the parrots. This interaction helps the birds develop their own tastes in literature and aids in their socialization and education. The garden also has a "Parrots Love Music" program, where parrots are exposed to various music genres and live performances by local and traveling singers and musicians. These programs highlight the social and intelligent nature of these birds, while providing a unique and enriching experience for visitors​​.

For those interested in supporting this sanctuary, donations are welcomed and crucial for its operation. These contributions help in providing care and enrichment for the parrots, as well as maintaining the sanctuary as a valuable educational resource​​.