In 1911, a plumber by the name of George Turner, Sr. purchased the six acres that would become a world famous botanical attraction. Using an elaborate maze of clay tiles, he drained what was left of an ancient lake on the property, leaving a nutrient rich muck soil that was ideal for his favorite hobby – gardening. Neighbors so enjoyed strolling through Mr. Turner's garden, that by the early 1920's, he was charging a nickel for tours. His wife, Eula Blanton, was an avid naturalist and played an important role in establishing the gardens as an event venue. Three generations of the Turner family continued the vision that created this unique tropical garden with flowing ponds.
The City of St. Petersburg purchased Sunken Gardens in 1999 with funds from a voter approved tax. Preserving the garden was a community effort. With Mr. Turner Sr.'s original vision in mind, the city's goal is to preserve this historic botanical garden and provide cultural and educational opportunities.
The main building on Fourth Street was built in 1926 and became the Coca Cola Bottling Company in the 1940s. The Turner family purchased the building in 1967 to create the World's Largest Gift Shop and the King of Kings Wax Museum. They closed the building in 1995. The city has restored it to its original Mediterranean Revival style and it is the new home for Great Explorations, a children's science museum, Carrabba's Restaurant and Southern Bay Bakery.
Enjoy your tranquil visit to this small oasis in the heart of St. Pete.