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McKee Botanical Gardens

In the early 1920's two men, Arthur McKee and Waldo Sexton, bought 80 acres of tropical hammock along the Indian River in Vero Beach, Florida.

Between the two of them they created McKee Jungle Gardens - one of the earliest and most popular Florida tourist attractions.

By the 1940's more than 100,000 people a year were visiting, but competition and dwindling attendance forced them to close the doors in 1976.

The land was sold and all but 18 acres were developed into condominiums.

The remaining 18 acres of land sat vacant for twenty years, but reopened to the public in August of 2001.

McKee Botanical Gardens

Water Lilies McKee Jungle Gardens used to have one of the world's best collections of water lilies and orchids. Some of the lilies survived, and just a few orchids.
McKee Botanical Gardens


The bright Macaws, screeching monkeys, flamingos and bathing beauties that dominated the theme of early Florida tourism were no longer there. Ponds and flowerbeds were restored, but with an emphasis on education and natural Florida plants and birds.

Judy and I went to the Gardens before the hurricanes of 2004. We haven't been back since, but understand that the hurricanes did a lot of damage.

Here's how it looked when we visited....


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