If you happen to be in Largo and are looking for something to do with (or without) your kids consider stopping by the Florida Botanical Gardens. It’s a 100 acre park right in the middle of the city. You’ll find a series of little gardens all in one.  And your entrance is free.

Right outside the Visitor Center is an area with percussion instruments that kids would love.  They’re set against the greenery, even if you don’t play music you can appreciate their artistic value.

There is a lot to see here.  You can enjoy a large Butterfly Garden, a Native Plant Garden, and a Palm Garden.  One of my favorite areas is the Tropical Fruit Garden. They have little citrus trees, pineapple, and figs.  There are also several varieties of bananas.  To be honest I could not tell the difference between most of them, and I spent some time unsuccessfully trying to figure out which one is the one I have growing in my yard.  It doesn’t matter what variety it is, they are cool looking plants.

Another garden I really like is the Herb Garden. I love gardening at home so it was fun picking out the plants I had grown before and seeing others that I’d like to try growing in the future.  They have everything from common plants like basil and sage to an allspice tree which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

My absolute favorite though is the cactus and succulent garden.  They even have a patch of carrion plants. I was too excited about those though, and forgot to take a picture. Which is a bit sad because it has flowers as big across as your hand (your whole hand, not just your palm) that are so heavy they lay on the ground next to the plant.  However, it is in the far left of the picture below. Too bad you can’t really see it!

Beyond all of that there is also a Wedding Garden (yes, you can have a wedding there) and more to explore. You can easily spend several hours here on a pleasant day.

The gardens are open everyday from 7 am to 5pm. If you visit early or at lunch time I reccomend bringing a meal and picnicing, there are lots of benches and little tables throughout. It’s even a great place just to stop in and relax between more arduous adventures. One thing I am looking forward to that I haven’t experienced yet – they have a Holiday Lights in the Garden event that I can’t wait to see. It runs from November 29th to January 24th from 5:50 to 9:30. There is a suggested donation of $5 – I’m betting it will be worth every penny.

Here’s what you need to know to play tourist:

Florida Botanical Gardens

12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774

727-582-2117