Yep, that’s a stegosaurus hiding in the bushes. Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens has had a lot of faces over the ages, including a stint in the 1950s as Bongoland, a roadside attraction full of not-so-scary dinosaurs.
Location: Port Orange
Fees: Free; donations appreciated
Opens 8 AM. Closing varies seasonally, before dusk.
About the Gardens
Dig deeper, and you find one of Florida’s original Spanish land grants. It was the site of Dunlawton Plantation and its sugar mill, established in 1832. Ruins of the sugar-producing plant now rise from the forest.
Jump ahead to the 1860s as you step into the shade of the Confederate Oak, where soldiers camped during the war, or wander the Pioneer Garden to see plants used by Florida settlers.
Collections scattered beneath the live oaks include an ivy garden, palm collection, bog garden, children’s garden, and fern grotto. Spend time poring through the Horticultural Reference Library, or pick up cuttings to add to your home garden.