Moais in Rapa Nui National Park on the slopes of Rano Raruku volcano on Easter Island, Chile.
Journey to Easter Island without leaving West Palm Beach through Mounts Botanical Garden’s new installation in its Tropical Forest Garden.
Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is a special territory of Chile in the Pacific Ocean. Rapa Nui’s moai statues are known for their unusually sculpted faces and meaning.
Mounts’ replica statues, designed by artist Dennis MacDonald, are now part of the permanent collection. Each statue was created with poured concrete, then stained to appear weathered. They look much like the Easter Island moai.
The tribute includes one of the moai dressed in a red pukao, or hat, and standing 20 feet tall. The two smaller moai beside it sit atop smooth stone. Attendees will learn about moai and the Rapa Nui culture.
The Easter Island sculptures were seen to represent religious and political power. It was believed that moai contained mana, a magic passed through to the community members once the statue’s eyes were carved. Moai sculptures have large, broad noses, prominent chins, rectangle ears, and deeply carved eyes.
The building of the sculptures contributed to the deforestation of Easter Island, which led to the demise of the culture.
Mounts Botanical Garden contains 25 garden areas and more than 6,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants. The garden partners with the University of Florida and nonprofit organization Friends of the Mounts Botanical Garden.
The Tropical Forest Garden with its moai exhibit is included with Mounts admission and is free to members and children under 6. For nonmembers, admission is $12 for adults; $10 for seniors 65 and older, college students, and people with military ID; and $5 for children ages 6 to 17. Mounts is open Tuesday through Sunday, June through October, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with extended hours starting in November. The garden is at 531 N. Military Trail in West Palm Beach.