Discover exotic blooms and flamboyant flamingos at Florida’s Sunken Gardens
It seems impossible a landscape this lush could be hidden amidst St. Pete’s hustle and bustle. You’ll just have to see the Sunken Gardens to believe it.
Originally a roadside attraction concocted by an imaginative plumber, these below-sea-level gardens are now 100 years old. They were formed by draining a four-acre lake on the property, which was then planted with citrus trees and vegetables and paved with walkways. Tropical plants were added over time.
The gardens were closed for a number of years as taste changed and interest waned. But in 1998, the city of St. Petersburg declared the gardens a local historic landmark, and years of restoration brought them back to their tropical glory.
Today’s Sunken Gardens are a colorful culmination of a century of planting. You’ll find over 50,000 tropical plants and flowers, including some of Florida’s oldest. A paved path twists and turns past waterfalls and breathtaking blooms: there’s a delight around every corner.
As if countless exotic plants didn’t provide enough eye candy, be sure to keep an eye out for the gardens’ beautiful flamingos. In 2016, a local group now called Sunken Gardens Forever Foundation launched a fundraising campaign to bring 20 new Chilean flamingos to the gardens. They joined George and Lucy, St. Petersburg’s longtime famous feathered residents.
Insider Tip: Learn about the six species of flamingos!
American (Caribbean), Andean, Chilean, Greater, James’s and Lesser. Learn more about the vibrant creatures who call Sunken Gardens home from Live Science.
Visiting the Gardens
Pathways are paved and suitable for strollers as well as wheelchairs and walkers. Keep in mind that this is not your typical park: it’s a place where you look and see, not a place where you run and play. It’s an ideal spot to find cover on a hot summer day—leave the beach early and find a moment of quiet in the shade of banana tree, stopping to inhale the scent of gardenias and bougainvillea along the way.
The gardens are a popular destination for groups, so for optimal serenity we recommend calling them ahead of your visit at 727-551-3102. Learn more about the Sunken Gardens and meet its flock on Facebook.