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McKee Jungle Gardens, Vero Beach, Florida

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Once an old Florida roadside attraction, McKee Jungle Gardens has recently been rennovated and is well on its way to becoming a nice swanky botanical garden.

Here is my photo-tour from a recent visit:


Must...have...GIANT MUSHROOM!!!!!

Very cool, thanks for the pics. I'll have to check it out next time I'm down that way.

You think we can talk them into adding some Tikis and maybe a bar. That huge building could be the restaurant/bar and the pavillions could be little tiki bars through out the jungle.

Purple Jade, Flounder likes mushrooms.

Original Art by Flounder


[ Edited by: FLOUNDERart on 2003-11-03 05:36 ]

pablus posted on Mon, Nov 3, 2003 6:57 AM

Great find.

I'm putting that on my checklist for an upcoming road-trip. I'll mention the Tiki/TikiBar thing. Maybe if they get a few requests they'll do something like that.

That bamboo is just fantastic.
Thanks for the photos!


I visited the gardens a few times as a youngster growing up in Cocoa Beach. My elementary school would bus us there on field trips. There were some tiki style buildings and lagoons, but I dont have any photos--I was too young to own a camera (things were different back then....). Anyway, I was devastated when they built those awful sterile condos on the acreage. It's heart warming to see photos of the revival. Does the gift shop still sell Treasure Craft and Coco Joe's and those plastic floral clip-on earrings???

Thank you very much for sharing...I haven't had a chance to get over there yet.


So that's what those gardens look like. I've driven by there too many times not to stop...anyway, those fuzzy pink bananas are way cool!


Hey Tiki Mon- another local!

Seems people from the area have been making their way to the forum lately, or maybe im just now noticing it from posting SpaceCoast-related threads.. eithe way, nice to meet ya, i live in S. Melbourne Beach.

hey you do any surfing?

Yes, it is sad that they built those condos- the grounds must have really been something at one time.. when they first opened the gardens, I was SUPER excited, but basically all they had gotten done was mostly grounds cleanup and had built the new buildings. All the new plants weren't really in.. it bummed me out, and i didn't go back for another year. But this year its looking up.. still has quite a ways to go to rival Sunken Gardens or Fairchild, but I like it better than Leu Gardens! I'm starting to get more excited about it now, and will be taking some out-of-towners there this week most likely. Its definitely great on an afternoon with nice weather.. I'd love to sneak in or donate a tiki, but ya never know what theyd think of that..

The gift shop is lackluster compared to what I'm sure it once was in the roadside days.. mostly sparse w/ uppity gifts like you see in museum gift shops, etc. I watched the documentary video they had on the old gardens and they were showing all these cool plants like one that smells like dead meat to attract flys and it was this giant pod full of flys- the guide cuts it open and all these flys come pouring out. I was thinking HEY WHERE'S THAT PLANT?!?!

I can see why they wouldnt have one of those, but if you ask me I think the place could use some weirder stuff.. but thats just my taste- I like the wacky plants like Sausage Trees, Pitcher Plants, BatFlowers, Ylang Ylang, etc etc

[ Edited by: fatuhiva on 2003-11-03 20:11 ]


oh by the way- if this penny tax that we are voting on tommorow, nov 4th, goes through, they are supposed to be making a brand new botanical garden on Merritt Island..

and speaking of batflowers- my white batflower bloomed not too long ago:

[ Edited by: fatuhiva on 2003-11-03 20:13 ]

Reever posted on Tue, Nov 4, 2003 9:35 AM

That is officially the coolest flower I have EVER seen.

My wife and I had a fantastic time a couple of years ago driving all the way down the East coast of Florida, dropping in on Wayne Coombs, soaking up some rays. One of the most memorable stops we made was to Parrot Jungle in the suburbs of Miami. Like the McKee Gardens (a new must-see stop... thanks for the tip!) Parrot Jungle was a pre-Disney midcentury roadside tourist attraction. It shows up on all the old souvenir maps of Florida. And we found it filled with more charm, beautiful craftsmanship and natural beauty that we even imagined. I grew up hearing my parents talk of the wonderful time they had at Parrot Jungles decades before, and we will force our kids to see our picturs of it as well one day, I'm sure.

The bad news is, the original park is now closed, thanks to city ordinances. Apparently, as urban sprawl encroached, the park became more and more restricted in the hours they could stay open, the lights they could burn, and the noise that was appropriate for a "jungle" to make late into the night. If you saw this park, you could hardly imagine how anyone could feel anything but blessed to live near such a parcel of paradise, but never underestimate the silliness of city folk. The good news is, Parot Jungle now has their own island off the coast of Miami! I have not had the pleasure of seeing the new location (and it can never be the same as the original) but I have no doubt they've done a lovely job, and I hope to see it one day soon. Go to http://www.parrotjungle.com/ for more info.

Does anyone from Miami know what's happened to the original park? I wish the city would make it a city park, but I don't imagine the odds are good, when it's zoned for commercial use. I'm guessing they'll pave over paradise and put up a parking lot. If I had the cash, I'm buy the whole thing up, erect a tiki hut for me and the missus right in the middle of the whole shebang, and have the finest tiki bashes Miami has ever seen in the gardens surrounding my new cabana home... ah...

I have never seen anything like that before.
The beauty of nature. Absolutly Awesome!


On 2003-11-04 13:54, purple jade wrote:

Wasn't that a quote from the 3rd Louie the Lilac of the original Batman series?

Batman had to sniff the Batflower to counteract some other poisonous flower he was insideously snared into sniffing in Louie's lapel...


That is one very cool flower (white bat). I want one! Where did you get it? Is it more like an orchid or a lily? Speaking of locals, I'll be setting up at the Art Show in Gleason Park in Indian Harbour Beach this Saturday (Nov. 8th). If you want to see some of my tiki carvings (and you don't have any plans), please stop by. Of course, if you want a preview just check out http://www.tikimon.net


TikiMon- I will stopby there if I'm in the area on Saturday. The folks are visiting, so I'm notsure of my sched, but I will def. stop by if we are up that way.

Batflowers are "Tacca Plants"

They like tropical humidity and conditions in general- they also like a bit of shade. They grow pretty slowly and only put off a few flowers a year. The most common ones are Black Batflowers, which you can often find at Florida Home Depots, etc.

The white bat is bigger and harder to find- I got mine from a plant collector. But you can also find them online here:



Thanks for the tip. Hope to see you at the show.

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