Established in the 1930s as a tropical tourist attraction, Parrot Jungle, this tropical forest in Pinecrest has deep roots, if you will, showcasing both native and exotic tropical species. Having experienced the gardens in the 1970s as a kid, it’s a delight to see them so lush today.
Fees: $3 adult, $2 ages 2-17
Open: 9-5 Winter & Fall, 9-6 Spring & Summer
Now maintained by the city of Pinecrest, it’s still a botanical delight brimming with colors and textures. From my childhood memories, the massive banyan tree, the “Banyan Bowl,” is even bigger, the ponytails in the Succulent Garden even taller, and the dense tropical understory of ginger, bromeliads, philodendron, much lusher.
Ferns drape over sinkholes and man-made pools; orchids wave from tree limbs. The gardens are home to the National Champion pond apple, with a circumference of nearly 11 feet and a height of 44 feet. From the old flamingo parade grounds to the original 1930s entrance, it’s a jungle in here!