In 1938, amateur botanist and world traveler Albert Greenburg established a botanical garden with tropical plants around springs that fed a lush floodplain forest along Six Mile Creek.
Years later, he started the first tropical fish farm in Florida in the springs, and in 1967 donated the 31-acre site to the county.
Construction of the Tampa Bypass Canal ruined the hydrology of the springs, so they rarely ever flow, but the gardens remain.
They include the largest publicly owned collection of ferns in Florida, a rose garden, and an orchid room, as well as boardwalks winding through a lush floodplain forest of red maples, cypress, and black gum.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 0.3 mile loop
Trailhead: 28.006965, -82.343871
Address: 6400 Eureka Springs Road, Tampa
Fees: $2 entry fee
Restroom: Flush toilets
Land Manager: Hillsborough County
Open Mon-Fri 9-5, Sat-Sun 8-6.
From Interstate 4 just west of the Interstate 75 interchange, exit onto US 301 north and drive to the first traffic light, Sligh Avenue; turn right, and right again, then follow the signs.
While a short walk, the quarter-mile loop trail through Eureka Springs Park shows off its best features, including the spring.
It is not a spring for swimming, but served as the water source for the fish farm that was here. You can look into it and see that it is dark and reflective.
Follow the path around into the woods. A boardwalk leads you through the lush floodplain forest behind the spring drainage and over the spring run.
Notice the many tropical plants in the forest. The trail comes out behind the fernery and orchid house. Take the time to ramble through it and enjoy the plantings.
See our photos of Eureka Springs
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
At the north edge of Tampa, Lettuce Lake Park protects 240 acres along the Hillsborough River, with a loop trail and boardwalk that shows off cypress swamps and uplands.
While the gentle loop boardwalk at Morris Bridge Park is a major reason to stop and savor the Hillsborough River, the park also provides cyclists a trailhead to off-road adventure
Under a tight-knit canopy of live oaks, Trout Creek Park provides a pleasant place for a family picnic and a nature walk along the floodplain of the Hillsborough River