The Visitors Center for McBryde Garden and Allerton Garden is located outside of the Lāwa‘i Valley and the gardens proper, on a scenic knoll overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The property is across from the popular visitor destination “Spouting Horn.”
The original visitors center for NTBG’s Lāwa‘i Valley gardens was on leased property on the Valley rim from the early 1970s until its destruction by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. At that time, tours entered the gardens along a steeply descending cane road with many switchbacks.
A gift of 10 acres from Alexander and Baldwin (A&B) in the mid-1990s made possible the development of this first permanent visitors center in NTBG’s family of gardens. The entrance route to the gardens begins at the Visitors Center and continues along the picturesque coastline onto a former sugar cane train rail bed, descending to the Valley floor in the McBryde Garden adjacent to Allerton Garden.
A&B’s subsidiary, McBryde Sugar Company, donated a 1920s plantation supervisor’s cottage that they were removing from a plantation camp a few miles to the west. In 1997, construction workers hoisted the house with hydraulic lifts onto steel I-beams on wheels, hauled it down a narrow cane road, and deposited it in the middle of dirt and weeds on the new site. A generous gift allowed NTBG to restore the cottage, which garnered a Historic Hawai‘i Foundation award for its careful restoration and successful adaptive reuse. The building was named the Bill and Jean Lane Visitor Center in honor of the donors. It serves as the check-in and departure point for tours of the McBryde Garden and Allerton Garden. It also houses exhibits and a gift shop with a variety of botanical books and products.
As additional generous gifts were made, the property was developed into display gardens, including the Plantation Cottage Garden, featuring plants that would have been grown in a traditional plantation supervisor’s home garden; the Tropical Display Garden, containing many of the colorful ornamental flowers and trees that are associated with Hawai‘i; the Hawaiian Native Plant Garden, with salt-tolerant native species; and the enticing Gates Garden at the entrance to the site.
NTBG’s Southshore Visitors Center Garden is open daily from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. There is no charge for admission. An interpretive brochure is available for purchase in the shop.