In 1917, botanist Henry Nehrling moved from Gotha to Naples after a freeze devastated his Palm Cottage Gardens. He established his “Tropical Gardens” in 1919 at this spot, and cultivated fancy leaved caladiums.
Fees: $20 adults, $19 seniors, $13 ages 3-12
Open: 9-5 daily
Neglected after his death in 1929 until 1946, the revitalized gardens reopened under the direction of hotelier Julius Fleischmann as “Caribbean Gardens” in 1954, the name I remember from my childhood. A lush paradise of tropical plants, it lured tourists to Naples.
In 1969, wild animals became a part of the scenery as the park became “Jungle Larry’s Safari.” Now a nonprofit accredited zoo, it retains some of Nehrling’s original plantings and an atmosphere that still makes it a destination for tropical plant enthusiasts.