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Walking Club: Exploring St. Pete’s Sunken Gardens

Walking Club: Exploring Sunken Gardens in St. Pete
Posted at 6:05 AM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 06:04:07-05

Many of us are looking for ways to remain active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started 'Sarah's Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across Tampa Bay.

Love is in the air at Sunken Gardens in St. Pete! This historic roadside attraction is now one of the hottest wedding venues in the bay area, but you can feel romance any time of the year while being surrounded by more than 50,000 tropical plants.

Where is it?

Sunken Gardens is located minutes from downtown St. Pete, just off of busy 4th St N. Put this address in your phone before you hit the road

1825 4th St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL

Adults cost $15. Senior (62+) are $12. Children, ages two to 17, are $6.

Individual and family memberships are available. Click here for more information.

Free parking is available on site.

What’s the history?

According to the city’s website, George Turner, Sr. purchased the six-acre property in 1911. He enjoyed gardening and eventually started charging a nickel for tours in the 1930s.

The City of St. Pete bought the historical botanical garden in 1999 and continues to preserve Turner’s legacy.

“Much of the paths and the architecture that’s here in the garden is the original architecture,” said Dwayne Biggs, supervisor of Sunken Gardens.

While the winding paths total about a mile, Biggs says all twists and turns can be deceiving.

“The way George Turner created these paths meandering through the property, it kinda gives the effect that it’s a much longer walk than it actually is.”

What can I find there now?

The more than 100-year-old garden has more than 50,000 tropical plants so there’s no shortage of things to see.

You’ll be wowed by the height of some of the trees, in fact, Biggs says the gardens have some of the tallest Cuban royal palm trees in the county.

Visitors will also get a kick out of the birds, including Paquita, a 60-year-old Amazon parrot. Biggs says Paquita can be very talkative, especially with kids.

Make sure to swing by the Chilean flamingo enclosure as well. You can’t feed them, but you are able to purchase food to feed the koi fish.

All of it adds up to a serene experience right in the city.

“It’s a place you can go to, to kind of escape all the hustle and bustle of a normal day and feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical paradise,” said Biggs.

What about events?

Biggs says Sunken Gardens has become one of the top wedding venues in the Tampa Bay area, so much so, they are booked well into 2023.

“We’re booked here for the next few years,” said Biggs. “There are some openings for weddings and events, but we have folks coming from all over the country to get married here at Sunken Gardens.”

If you are interested in having a wedding or hosting an event at Sunken Gardens, contact the main office at 727-551-3102.

“Photos are amazing here,” said Biggs. “With all the water features and tall royal palms and blooming flowers, it’s just perfect for a photo opportunity.”

When should I visit?

Sunken Gardens is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm. It’s open on Sunday from noon until 4:30 pm.

The city’s website says the gardens are open on most holidays. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Join Walking Club!

Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming Walking Club stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!

You can also keep up with Sarah on Instagram and Twitter