Best Museum Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2006 - The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL 33446
Readers' Choice: Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art
Now that Edward Said is dead and buried, we can go back to enjoying good, old-fashioned Orientalism again. Because who doesn't love sushi, rock gardens, and the occasional geisha? The Morikami Museum serves all these up in dainty abundance on its 200 acres in Delray Beach that's dedicated to South Florida's unlikely but enduring obsession with Japanese culture. Opened in 1977 to celebrate the heritage of a small colony of Japanese immigrants imported at the turn of the century to grow pineapples, the Morikami now boasts several museum buildings, a 5,000-piece collection of historical objects, a tea ceremony gallery, and a series of gardens that reflect Japan's history. No other area museum comes close to offering its total immersion experience, where you are lulled into a delicious food coma by the museum café's fantastic bento box meal while pondering the sight of coifed Boca Raton den mothers traipsing through the manicured grounds shaded by Japanese paper umbrellas. Hiroshima? The rape of Nanking? Please, leave your historical downers at the door and enjoy the Morikami's gentle survey of the high points of ancient Japanese history, take in the tea ceremony, and buy a paper lantern on the way out -- because wallowing in the sanitized aspects of another culture is a mighty fine way to spend a sunny afternoon.