The Sunken Gardens are 4 acres (1.6 hectares) of well-established botanical gardens located at 1825 4th Street North, in the center of St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. The Gardens were a commercial tourist attraction for many years, but are now operated by the city and maintained with the help of volunteers. Sunken Gardens are open to the public every day of the week (half days on Sunday); admission is charged.
Sunken Gardens retains their historical interest as an important example of a 1930s Florida roadside commercial attraction, and is probably the oldest commercial tourist attraction on Florida's west coast. The Gardens are open to the public for educational programs, tours, and special events, particularly weddings which have taken place for decades on the Wedding Lawn, and in the banquet facilities in the Garden Room overlooking the unique garden setting. The Gardens began in 1903, when plumber and avid gardener George Turner Sr. purchased the site, including a shallow lake 10 feet (3.0 m) below sea level, which he drained to form his private "sunken" garden. Turner started planting papayas and citrus fruits along with other exotic plants on the rich soil surrounding his home. By the 1920s, Turner had opened a nursery and began selling fruits, vegetables, roses and other plants, and visitors were paying a nickel each to stroll through the gardens. In the fall of 1935, he fenced his garden and started charging an admission fee of 25 cents. The Gardens eventually became widely popular, and from the 1950s through the 1970s were ranked among Florida’s top ten commercial attractions.