Sunken Gardens Blooms Again As City-Owned Attraction

In January, Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, FL reopened, this time as a city park, and the early returns are encouraging. 8,000 people visited in January, and more than 2,500 came during the first week of February. Attendance may have been helped by a reduction of the admission price from pre-closing $14 to $5.

The Gardens had decayed after years of neglect and private sector mismanagement. The flamingos faded from pink to off-white, and rampant potato vines strangled the camellias, threatening to twist this serpentine garden path into a tropical swamp Nam.

Sunken Gardens was opened in 1935 by George Turner, Sr., and run by other Turner family members until last year. At the time, it was the oldest family run attraction in Florida.

Its slow decline mirrored the explosion of the Disney parks and the increasing sophistication of the vacationing public, and no private buyers could be found for it There was a proposal to turn it into a nudist resort, but locals eventually passed a one-time tax to purchase the 4 acre site for the city.

[02/27/2000]

Sunken Gardens Botanical Park

Address:
1825 4th St. N., St. Petersburg, FL
Directions:
Sunken Gardens Botanical Park. I-275 exit 24. East on 22nd Ave. for about 25 blocks to 4th St. Turn right onto 4th St. Sunken Gardens will be about blocks south, at 4th St. and 18th Ave.
Phone:
727-551-3100
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August 27, 2014

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