The Florida Botanical Gardens
Located on 92 acres of land in the most densely populated county in the state, the Florida Botanical Gardens is a place to enjoy nature and relax. Owned by Pinellas County, the gardens are maintained by county workers and volunteers. There’s even an office of the University of Florida IFAS Extension to help answer questions about plants. The Florida Botanical Gardens are located in Largo, so visitors to St. Petersburg or Tampa can get there quick.
There are three distinct garden areas with individual gardens in each of the main ones. There’s also a Children’s Trail to explore.
The wedding garden houses the Cottage Garden, the Jazz Garden, the Rose Garden and the Topiary Garden. The Cottage garden represents plants that imitate old school gardening.
The Rose Garden is filled with roses that are able to grow in Florida’s climate. The Topiary Garden has plants growing in shapes. And the Jazz Garden has plants and sculptures of instruments.
The Wedding Garden can be rented out for weddings and private events.
The East Gardens has 7 areas to explore. The Wetlands Walkway & Wildlife Overlook is perfect for finding a variety of native birds and other wildlife. The Cactus & Succulent Garden displays many sizes of those plants. The Palm Gardens features palm trees arranged for a nice walk.
The Tropical Walk follows a small creek. While the Bromeliad Garden has over 300 types of plants. The Azalea Garden has azaleas that can grow in Florida’s climate. And the Vinery blossoms through the year near a pond area.
The West Gardens are made up an Aquatic Demonstration Area, a Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, Native Garden and Tropical Fruit Garden.
Even though the gardens are owned by the County, do not pick the fruits and herbs in the gardens. They’re still private property.
The Children’s trail is a peaceful, raised boarded walkway to explore the woods. It’s a perfect way to get kids out exploring without them worrying about anything crawling over their feet.
It has fact stations to help kids learn more about the gardens. And there are even faces hidden in some of the trees – see if you can find them all!
Kids might want to bring a pair of binoculars with them to find the birds hidden in the trees they’ll hear singing.
There is no smoking allowed at the park. This includes vape pens. Dogs are allowed in the garden. They must be friendly and on a leash. And owners must pick up after them.
Also be sure to stay on pathways. Only take pictures – don’t pick any of the plants. And leave the gardens better than you found them. That means don’t litter.
Don’t forget a hat, sunscreen and reusable water bottle. They’re not required but you’ll be happy you brought them along.
The Florida Botanical Gardens are located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, FL. The gardens are easily accessed from St. Petersburg via US Hwy 19. You can get there from Tampa by taking I-275 S into Pinellas County.
Admission and Hours
Entry to the park is free. Expect to spend at least a few hours exploring (more if you stop to smell the roses). There are plenty of benches throughout the gardens to sit and relax or even read a book.
The Florida Botanical Gardens are open 7am to 5pm, including holiday and weekends. The UF/IFAS extension office is open Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm and closed on holidays and weekends.