Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park was once a small island common to those of Florida's Upper Keys. The island was purchased in 1919 by William J. Matheson, a Miami chemist. The Matheson House has changed little over the years.
The virgin tropical forest that thrives here is typical of the kind of scenery that was once enjoyed on most of Florida's upper Keys. As the Keys were developed to accommodate an increasing number of people, most of the unique vegetation was scraped away, making the natural tropical forest of Lignumvitae Key a very rare and special place.
Here, you walk in the shade of trees with strange names like mastic, strangler fig, poisonwood, pigeon plum and gumbo limbo. One hour ranger guided walks are given on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
What Is Not Included?
The cost of admission includes your transportation by boat and the walking tour.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is strongly recommended, as trips often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express. However, feel free to "walk up" at anytime as we accept cash at the counter if there is still space available on the trip you're interested in.
- What happens if it rains?
- We still go out. We are primarily concerned with wind and sea conditions and they are not necessarily bad during the rain. If it is raining, please dress appropriately and consider bringing a poncho if you can. In the case of severe weather, we may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in which case you will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- Are children allowed?
- We love children! Children 12 years of age and under have a reduced price ticket.
- Is the trip suitable for pregnant women?
- Pregnant women shouldn't have a problem, as we are lucky enough to have calm waters most of the time here in the Florida Keys. Please note that it is up to the individual and their symptoms at the time whether they will be comfortable on the boat and at sea for the activity, and you should consult your doctor if you have any questions.
- What do I need to bring?
- A hat is nice to have along with sun block to protect you from the sun! Bring bug spray to protect you from mosquitoes (especially during the summer months).
- Should I tip the crew?
- Your mates work very hard to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. Tips are highly appreciated! Most people tip 20% of their trip's ticket cost.
- Are there life jackets on board? Do I have to wear one?
- Our boat is US Coast Guard certified and has life jackets on board for every passenger. However, you are not required to wear a life jacket during the trip.
- Are the boats wheelchair accessible?
- We are able to accommodate wheelchairs, but need advance notice to set up a special ramp that will enable a wheelchair to board the boat easily. Please click on the "Contact Robbies" link to inquire about arranging wheelchair accommodations. Please keep in mind that any handicapped passengers in wheelchairs MUST have an accompanying passenger to assist them while at the State Park, and they may have limited access to the park grounds depending on terrain.
- Is there parking close to the meeting location?
- Yes! We have free parking at our marina - you should have no problem finding a space when you arrive.
- How long is the trip to the park?
- The trip to the park takes about 15 minutes. The tour of the state park lasts about an hour, so the total duration of the trip is 1.5 hours.
- What does Lignum vitae ( Lig-num-vit - tae) mean?
- It is a type of tree that is on the Island.
- What about food and drink?
- There are no food or drink options on board the boat that will transport you to the island, but you are welcome to bring a small bag with a drink and/or snacks with you. We do not allow coolers, hard liquor, or glass containers on the boat. Please also note that there is a restaurant (The Hungry Tarpon) near our meeting spot where you can have a meal before or after the tour.
- Do you offer gift certificates?
- Yes! Please click on the "Contact Robbies" link to ask for more information on gift certificates.
Robbie's of Islamorada
When you return from your time on the water, visit our restaurant, the Hungry Tarpon for a delicious Keys-style meal - they'll cook up the fish you have caught any way you like! Or check out the new Fly ~ By Shops filled with Florida Keys' beautiful artwork and unique little treasures.
You're likely to find yourself in a rocking chair on our palm frond-covered deck sipping a cold beverage and discussing tides, favorite fishing holes or even politics with any or several of the old timers who come here often just because Robbie's takes them back to a simpler time.