Sunken Gardens is a gorgeous tropical oasis in the middle of St. Petersburg teeming with gigantic palms, philodendrons, flowers and waterfalls. Spend the afternoon wandering the winding paths of this plant lovers’ paradise!
The Sunken Gardens is over 100 years old, making it one of Florida’s oldest roadside attractions. The garden started in 1903 when avid gardener George Turner Sr. purchased the land, including a shallow lake below sea level, which he drained to form his private “sunken” garden. He planted fruit trees and exotic plants, and began charging people to tour. The gardens remained in his family until 1999 when it was sold to the City of St. Petersburg.
Sunken Gardens is considered a living history museum. Some of the plants and structures you will see are original to the garden and are over 100 years old!
Some of the plants and trees are huge due to their age and long history of protection and cultivation. Towering palms, philodendrons larger than your head, and bushes of flowers are among the plants you’ll see here. There are more than 50,000 plants and flowers to admire.
One of the most beloved parts of the garden are the iconic flamingos. They are Chilean flamingos and have been present at the gardens since 1956. Enjoy watching them splash around their pond!
You can also come face to face with several other species of birds like macaws and parrots. Not to mention tortoises, turtles and even a massive alligator snapping turtle!
The gardens also have a beautiful butterfly garden and succulent garden.
The waterfalls, koi ponds and serene gazebos bring a sense of tranquility and quietness to your walk through the gardens.
In addition to self-guided tours, the Sunken Gardens provides garden tours, horticultural programs, special events, field trips, weddings, private and corporate rentals. The Sunken Gardens is also a popular place for weddings. The wedding lawn is spacious and the reception area is breathtaking.
Bring bug spray! The gardens are woody, shaded and full of ponds. There are a lot of mosquitos!
Depending on your level of interest in plants, you could spend less than an hour or an entire afternoon here. It’s a pretty quick walk as the grounds are not too big. We actually meandered around the whole garden twice to be sure we didn’t miss anything, and that took about two and a half hours.
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, you’ll love being able to escape the hustle and bustle while still being so close to downtown. Sunken Gardens provides a feeling of calm and tranquility, and you’ll hardly remember you’re in the heart of St. Petersburg.