Sarasota's Favorite Family Attraction!

Established in 1939

Plant Life


Beauty Flutters in the Butterfly Garden

Established in 2006, the Butterfly Garden at Sarasota Jungle Gardens is located on the north side of the Park under a canopy of trees, many of them fruit trees.

A combination of flowering vines, self-seeding flowers, perennial shrubs, palms, cycads and ferns -- all of which have been hand-selected -- attract a variety of butterflies including Monarch, Sulfur and Swallowtail.

Although you can see butterflies and moths virtually any time of the year in the Butterfly Garden, the most spectacular time of the year to view them occurs during the seasons when the various species migrate through the region in large numbers.

From February to March, the Monarch Butterflies appear in greatest concentration, feeding from flowers, and leaving their eggs on the Milkweed plant. Upon hatching, for the next 2-4 weeks the Monarch Caterpillars consume all of the leaves of the Milkweed plants, pupate, and ultimately metamorphosis into an adult butterfly.

In March to April, the Sulfur Butterflies appear in largest concentration, with the advent of warmer weather and the approach of Spring. Beginning in April onward into Summer, the Swallowtail Butterflies are most visible feeding, mating, and reproducing throughout the Butterfly Garden.

Take a walk through the Butterfly Garden at Jungle Gardens for a closer look at these amazing, graceful insects. Their beauty will undoubtedly raise your spirits for the rest of the day.

Thousands Of Species. Hours Of Entertainment

Sarasota Jungle Gardens, once described as an “impenetrable swamp”, consisting of muddy, swamp soil was considered by many to be infertile. The exact opposite, however, is true. Because the soil was once covered by fresh water and hundreds of years of decaying plants, it is actually very rich, and full of nutrients and minerals. It remains perpetually damp, even in the driest of seasons.

A stroll along deeply shaded, winding brick paths takes visitors across a number of rustic bridges that stem bubbling streams flowing into the many lagoons that dot the property. Towering trees, flowering vines and shrubs obscure the sky in many places.

The vegetation at Sarasota Jungle Gardens, once the only attraction here, still enthralls visitors from the world over. The Ponderosa Lemon with its football size fruit is a favorite, as well as the Carambola of Florida PlantsMalaya, Bunya Bunya from Australia, Lychee of China and Norfolk Pine, to name a few. A volcanic stone archway marks the entrance to the Biblical Garden where the Bulrush grows profusely near the waters’ edge. Here, the Date Palm drops its fruit regularly while the Fig, Olive, Myrtle, Pomegranate Rose of Sharon and Cedar stand stately by.

Magnificent Royal Palms towering toward the sky line up along the return trail through the Cathedral of Palms. Huge vines climbing through many trees along with Orchids – both native and rare – are seen everywhere. Colorful blooms drape the area from red, purple and orange Bougainvillea while Golden Flame Vines, Hibiscus and Tropical Fruits add to the painter’s palette.

When the Gardens was founded, the rare and exotic plants thrived without the aid of fertilizers. Because many of the Gardens’ birds and animals are free roaming, most pesticides and herbicides are prohibited.

Over the years, many of the exotic plants have perished due to age or frost. Instead of replanting the same species, they have been replaced with native Florida plants and grasses. Several areas in the Gardens are examples of natural habitats for these native species. With more than 3,000 different varieties of trees and shrubs, the vegetation at Sarasota Jungle Gardens will amaze even the most seasoned botanist.