Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, this historic botanical oasis behind vine-covered walls offers tropical plants, colorful flower beds, meandering paths, picturesque ponds, and cascading waterfalls.
Green space in sunny St. Petersburg is abundant, but the intimate Sunken Gardens are something truly special, and a demonstration of craftsmanship. This is not your usual city park: Over 500,000 tropical plants and flowers fill this exotic attraction that is almost hidden behind vine-covered walls.
Created in the early 1900s by a plumber called George Turner, the Sunken Gardens are now maintained by the city. Turner drained a lake and planted seeds on the rich soil. When the garden became big, he started charging people to admire his handiwork, and later generations kept the gardens alive as a botanical park.
The Hidden Wonders of Sunken Gardens
Making your way around, it’s hard to know where to look. The place is packed with orchids, pink bougainvillea, royal palms, fruit trees, and cacti, among other species. Follow the designated paths around the 4-acre (1.6-hectare) grounds and discover themed gardens, including Japanese and butterfly sections.
In the water, you’ll spot various fish, while dragonflies flit around the ponds, waterfalls, and fountains. Chilean flamingos are the most popular residents and lend themselves beautifully for colorful photos, so keep your camera ready.
Families will find the Sunken Gardens a great place to visit, especially since children enter for half price. Combine your visit with a trip to the nearby Great Explorations Children’s Museum, where the kids can try out all the exhibits and run around freely after the more restricted walk in the manicured gardens.
The Sunken Gardens also host a wide range of events, and yoga classes are held daily. Try hoop dancing or join horticultural programs such as caring for bonsai trees, or participate in a photography workshop. Check the gardens’ official website for details on times and prices associated with each activity.
The gardens are located just north of downtown St. Pete. The gardens open daily except Sunday mornings, and parking is free. You can bring a picnic, but you can only smoke in designated areas.
How Long to Spend at The St. Pete Sunken Gardens
We recommend spending anywhere from 1-2 hours exploring the gardens and animals. There are even picnic tables so you can bring a lunch and eat outdoors. There is also a variety of little tables and chairs and places to sit so you can bring a book and just hang out.
You want to take the time to see all of the beautiful foliage and animals that the St. Pete Sunken Gardens has to offer! There are many pathways that interconnect. There isn’t just one path around the whole garden. There are many and they wind and twist. You want to explore each path. Just stroll along and see what you discover!
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