Explore a Tropical Paradise at Sunken Gardens!
A lush paradise in the middle of the city? It might sound too amazing to be true, but for visitors to the St. Petersburg area, a tropical oasis is only a few miles away from the heart of the city—at Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg’s oldest botanical garden!
The History of Sunken Gardens
Sunken Gardens began as private garden in the early 1900s. The original owner drained a shallow lake on the property, creating a “sunken garden” below sea level, and grew exotic plants in the nutrient rich soil. As his garden gained local acclaim, the original owner began opening it up to visitors, who paid a nickel to spend a day strolling through the gardens. Sunken Gardens quickly became one of America’s most popular commercial attractions. After the death of the original owner, the city of St. Petersburg purchased the land, ensuring that Sunken Garden’s beauty would remain accessible to the public for years to come.
What To See At Sunken Gardens
Today, Sunken Gardens is home to over 50,000 plants and flowers, including 500 different species of tropical and subtropical plants. Complete with meandering pathways, a tranquil atmosphere, and even a few waterfalls, guests can easily spend an entire afternoon wandering through Sunken Gardens and taking in the sights and sounds of this lush, jungle-like garden. Plants within Sunken Gardens include everything from bougainvilleas and hanging orchids to fruit trees and Florida’s iconic palm trees. There is also a section of the gardens devoted to Florida’s indigenous plants, where visitors can learn about the plants and flowers that make are state so vibrant!
Areas of the botanical garden include a peaceful Japanese garden, a cactus garden, and a butterfly garden. Thanks to St. Petersburg’s humidity and the city’s protection of the land, many of the plants have grown larger than they would outside of Sunken Gardens, making them particularly breathtaking..
If its massive flowers aren’t enough, Sunken Gardens is also home to a flock of Chilean flamingos! Flamingos have been living at Sunken Gardens since the 1970s, and a new flock from the San Antonio Zoo in Texas arrived in 2016. These pink birds are one of the most popular attractions at Sunken Gardens, delightful for guests of all ages. The gardens also feature turtles and exotic birds, including talkative parrots. At a koi pond within the gardens, visitors can purchase food to feed to the colorful fish, something that is sure to amuse young visitors to the botanical gardens. Animals at Sunken Gardens are kept in safe enclosures, and their songs and sounds add to the natural beauty.
With its hundreds of plants and animals, Sunken Gardens is the perfect place for visitors to take beautiful photos, and provides a gorgeous backdrop for everything from Instagram posts to a great family vacation picture. A visit to Sunken Gardens is also an educational experience for the whole family, with exhibits for visitors to learn more about the flora, fauna, and history of the gardens.
Planning Your Visit
Sunken Gardens is located in the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood of St. Petersburg. It is only a short drive away from the museums, restaurants, and bars of downtown St. Petersburg. It is generally recommended to take about two hours to get through the entirety of Sunken Gardens, though many visitors find themselves content to spend an entire afternoon exploring. The gardens are open year-round, and visitors can come enjoy the beauty any day of the week.
Admission to Sunken Gardens is $12.00 for adults, $6.00 for children between the ages of 2 and 17, and $10.00 for seniors over 65. For larger groups, discounts may be available depending on the size and needs of the group. Parking at Sunken Gardens is free. To learn more about Sunken Gardens, please click here.
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To book your stay with Sunshine Cozy Cottages, please call us at 727-595-3000 or visit us online at www.sunshinecozycottages.com.