The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg Florida

by sockii

One of the most unique attractions to visit in St. Petersburg is the enchanting Sunken Gardens. Learn more about the gardens and their history here.

If you're planning a vacation trip to St. Petersburg - or just driving through while on your way down the Western Florida coast - then one place you should be sure to visit is the city's beautiful Sunken Gardens. Tucked away on four acres of land in the middle of the city, the Sunken Gardens are a historic roadside attraction now operated and maintained by the city itself.

Visiting these gardens make for a peaceful, delightful break from the beach or touring the many shops, restaurants and other attractions of downtown St. Petersburg. Over a hundred years old, the Sunken Gardens are home to many beautiful, stately and old tropical plants, trees and flowers that will delight the visitor. It's also a wonderful place to get out your camera and spend some time photographing nature's beauty.

All photographs on this page were taken by the author, sockii, in March 2013. View my full photo album on Flickr.

The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg Florida
The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg Florida

Have you ever visited the Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, Florida?

A quick poll to get started

The Story of the Sunken Gardens

How this unique attraction came to be

The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg FloridaWe have the Sunken Gardens to enjoy today thanks to a plumber named George Turner Sr. – who also happened to be a dedicated gardener. He purchased the land in the year 1903. At the time the lot contained a small lake that dropped to 10 feet below sea level. Turner chose to drain the lake and turn it into a “sunken garden” for his own pleasure and enjoyment near his home, planting tropical flowers, fruit trees, palms and other flora.

By the 1920s his garden was doing so well in the rich Florida soil that Turner opened a nursery on the site. He also began charging visitors five cents to take a walk through his lush private retreat. The admission fee increased to 25 cents in 1935 when he fenced in the gardens, and by the 1950s Turner’s Sunken Gardens had become one of Florida’s top commercial roadside attractions.

The Sunken Gardens provide a unique lush getaway from the tropical heat year-round
The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg Florida
The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg Florida

From commercial attraction to historic landmark

The Sunken Gardens today are a St. Petersburg treasure

The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg FloridaToday, the Sunken Gardens are maintained for visitors by the City of St. Petersburg itself and a group of volunteers. There are 4-acres of gardens to stroll through, featuring many mature and stately trees, waterfalls, and over 50,000 plants. One can see tropical fauna in the gardens as well including macaws, flamingos, turtles and koi. It's a relaxing place to spend an hour or two strolling about, taking in tropical beauty - and getting lots of photos!

The Sunken Gardens also offer various classes and workshops on a regular basis, from gardening tips to yoga and hoop dancing. You can even rent out the gardens for private functions and weddings!

The Sunken Gardens are open daily: Monday through Saturday from 10:30am - 4:30pm and on Sundays from noon - 4:30pm. For more information, please visit the Sunken Gardens Official Website.

The Sunken Gardens in bloom

Tropical flowers on view in March in the gardens...
The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg FloridaThe Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg Florida
The Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg FloridaThe Sunken Gardens of St. Petersburg Florida

Unique roadside attractions all around America

Wherever you may travel, you won't want to miss these unique examples of Americana
Roadside Americana

Roadside Americana takes you on an armchair tour of some of the gaudiest, kitschiest, and weirdest wonders in the United States and Canada. The book explains the history of the ...

View on Amazon

New Roadside America: The Modern Traveler's Guide to the Wild and Wonderful World of America's To...

It's been six years since "Roadside America" hit the travel section and the ripple effect can still be felt along the highways of America. Since then there have been imitations,...

View on Amazon

Did You See That?: A GPS Guide to North Carolina's Out of the Ordinary Attractions

Throughout North Carolina there are strange and wonderful attractions either just off the road or off the beaten path. Did You See That? is a guide to these pieces of roadside o...

View on Amazon

Archer Bob’s Blue-Ribbon Guide to Unique, Curious, and Inexplicable Roadside Attractions

On a whim, three indolent friends decide to tear out across the country and visit the attractions they've read about in an old tour guide. When they pick up a strange hitchhiker...

View on Amazon

Totally Wacky Roadside Attractions (Rookie Amazing America)

Young learners will love reading about the cool and crazy roadside attractions that can be found across America. Theyll visit a giant peanut, a museum shaped like an elephant, a...

View on Amazon

Another Roadside Attraction

What if the Second Coming didn’t quite come off as advertised? What if “the Corpse” on display in that funky roadside zoo is really who they say it is—what does that portend for...

View on Amazon

Updated: 01/29/2017, sockii
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


CruiseReady on 05/27/2015

As a Floridian, I am a bit embarrassed to admit I've never been there. But can bet it's on my list now! Thanks for reminding me of this little spotl

AbbyFitz on 05/26/2015

I've seen billboards on 75 my whole life for Sunken Gardens. I've always wanted to go, but never made it there yet

You might also like

The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Montclair New Jersey

Visit this unique flower garden in Northern New Jersey in the Springtime to e...

Forgotten Florida: Marineland Oceanarium and Aquarium

Before Walt Disney World and Seaworld there was Marineland. Learn the history...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...