Thumbnail image from StPete.org
By Rebecca Fending
Whether you have a green thumb, just an appreciation for nature, or both, Sunken Gardens of St. Pete is the place for you. This ancient attraction is the perfect spring or summer destination for the whole family or an afternoon in solitude. Nestled into the busy cityscape of St. Petersburg, these gardens make the perfect escape from the ordinary, the busy, and the modern world. Sunken Gardens harbors over 100-year-old specimens of native Florida flora. This living museum is preserved through donations and the work of dedicated volunteers and botany specialists. The gardens not only preserve plant life, but also a sense of community and local pride to St. Pete and the surrounding area.
What Can I Find at the Sunken Gardens?
If you’re looking for a day trip this spring to a place that will amaze and rejuvenate you, Sunken Gardens is your destination. With over 50,000 different varieties of tropical plants and flowers, there’s no shortage of captivating sights and breathtaking photo opportunities. Wander along their designated paths as you take in the expansive and rich vegetation, and even discover tranquil waterfalls.
Not only do the gardens have an expensive collection of tropical plant life, but they also house tropical birds. Thanks to the Flamingos Forever Committee, Sunken Gardens is home to a flock of 20 flamingos as of April of 2016. The flock was purchased from San Antonio Zoo to populate Sunken Gardens. Previously, the gardens were home to only two flamingos, of which had been residents since 1956.
For those who have already visited, the gardens are also home to a variety of interactive classes, programs, tours, and special events that are open to the public. They even offer patrons the ability to rent the gardens for events from weddings to corporate gatherings. No matter how many times you visit, the lush vegetation is always great for relaxation. Sunken Gardens pairs nicely with a warm spring day and a deep breath—unwind and re-center with these historic gardens.
How Can I Spring into Action?
If you’re looking to get involved with your local community or exercise your talent for plant and animal life, Sunken Gardens also presents visitors with the opportunity to become a volunteer. You can befriend like-minded people with similar interests and participate in unique projects all while learning more about local vegetation and the gardens themselves.
Volunteer opportunities range from assisting with resident animals and garden care to even becoming a garden docent. Volunteering with the gardens offers you the unique chance to see the behind the scenes of the care and work that’s require in order to preserve this breathing exhibit. You can apply to be a Sunken Gardens volunteer by filling out a physical copy of their volunteer application and returning it to the gardens.
Sunken Gardens is typically open from 10am to 4:30pm Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4:30pm on Sundays. However, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, they are temporarily closed. Admission is $10 for seniors or $50 for membership, and parking is always free. For more information, updates about their opening and ways to support Sunken Gardens, visit the Sunken Gardens Forever Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SunkenGardensForever/.