Established by local legend Waldo E. Sexton in 1929 with the guidance of landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, a carefully designed tropical garden emerged under a canopy of old and venerable native trees. By the 1940s, McKee Jungle Gardens was one of Florida’s top tourist attractions. It closed in 1976, and most of the property was sold and developed.
Location: Vero Beach
Fees: $12 adults, $11 seniors, $5 ages 3-12. $2 discount May 1-Nov 30.
Open: Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5. Closed major holidays.
Thanks to the Indian River Land Trust, the core 18 acres reopened in 2001 after $9.1 million of restoration work. Mazy pathways wind through the Royal Palm Grove and over stone bridges, into thickets of bamboo and past landmark trees.
Themed sections, like the bamboo pavilion, the lily ponds, and the meditation garden, provide serene niches. Revisit the history of this famed garden through displays near the entrance. There is a reference library on site.