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The true essence of Central Florida
By LIZZY ROSS
Nested among natural southern beauty, Largo’s Botanical Gardens is truly a rare gem. It’s attributes stretch far beyond free admission and parking.

Combining majestic gardens with historic buildings, the Florida Botanical Gardens feature over 10,000 specimens and Heritage Village, a turn of the century recreation of a typical central Florida community.

An important part of the Park Pinellas organization, the Botanical Gardens and Heritage Village welcome visitors Tuesday through Saturday. I personally prefer weekdays when attendance is minimal not that this oasis is ever really hectic. Then again there are some days I make sure to avoid like the WWII or Civil War days, which tend to get crowded drawing tourists and locals alike.

My husband Daniel is a photographer who’s learned to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunity made possible by Heritage Village.

For example, we like dressing-up our daughter Grace in outfits that could be mistaken for turn of the century clothes then taking photographs that look dated. These shots often produce amazing results such as the shot on the right snapped on an old wooden bench at the train station which as you can see features more than historic train memorabilia.

Other than Walt Disney World resorts and theme parks, I don’t know of any other place that allows for such nostalgic photo spots in central Florida.

Just next door to the Botanical Gardens you will find the “Pinellas County Extension” which is part of a nationwide network of land grant universities providing unbiased, research-based information to America’s citizens. Pinellas County Extension serves as a bridge between the research labs of the university and the local community by providing educational opportunities for adults and youth.

The Extension features a specialty item store selling souvenirs, local crafts and produce grown on premises which I think is quite incredible. I mean when was the last time you ate a banana picked from a tree you actually touched and photographed?

More than beautiful flowers, lovely Monarch butterflies and historic architecture, the combination of Botanical Gardens and Heritage Village is a must see for those who enjoy cost effective peaceful outings that highlight the true essence of central Florida.

Location and Mailing address:
12175 125th St. N.
Largo, FL 33774-3695

Contact details:
Email: flbg@flbg.org
Phone: (727) 582-2200
Fax: (727) 582-2149

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