Sarasota Jungle Gardens

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Sarasota FL Jungle Gardens02.jpg

Sarasota Jungle Gardens has been a tourist attraction in Sarasota, Florida in the United States since 1936. It offers ten acres, or four hectares, of botanical plantings along with bird and animal shows. Special shows are held each December for the holiday season, including a classic Punch and Judy show, performed by "Professor DeWitt" [1] that has become an annual tradition during the past sixteen years. Jungle Gardens is an old-fashioned, family-oriented tourist attraction that continues to appeal to the public. It is open to the public for a per-use ticket fee, as well as offering yearly membership passes for those wishing to visit frequently. Some children who visit regularly consider it their 'neighborhood park'. Special events for children are held during the summer. On a limited basis, the site is also available for special events that are compatible with the residential neighborhood that has grown up around it during its seven decades of existence.

The Gardens includes native species and exotic plants from around the world, such as the Australian nut tree, a bunya-bunya tree, the largest Norfolk Island pine in Florida, bulrush, strangler figs, royal palms, selloums, banana trees, Peruvian apple cactus, and staghorn ferns, as well as native red maples, oaks and bald cypress.

In the 1920s, the site had become a swampy banana grove listed in city records as "an impenetrable swamp." In the early 1930s, David Breed Lindsay, a local newspaperman, purchased the grove to create a botanical gardens. Beginning in 1936, admission fees were charged and in 1940, Jungle Gardens opened for business in essentially its current form. In the late 1940s, Jungle Gardens was sold to the philanthropic Allyn family, who continue to manage it.

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Coordinates: 27°20′14″N 82°32′07″W / 27.33722°N 82.53528°W / 27.33722; -82.53528