The history of Sarasota Jungle Gardens extends back to the 1930’s. A local newspaper man named David Breed purchased 10 acres of land just west of highway US 41. His plan was was to convert the area into a botanical garden. A friend Pearson Conrad who owned an adjacent plot of land became involved with the project. He developed plans for streams, lakes an additional plantings from his nursery.
The two men imported thousands of tropical plant ,trees and flowers from all over the world. They chose these to blend harmoniously with native species. In 1936, the owners became aware that people were wandering through the manicured jungle. They began to charge a 10 cent admission charge for children and 35 cents for adults. On New Years Eve 1939, Sarasota Gardens officially opened to the public. It attracted ocal visitors as well as tourists.
Over the years, Sarasota Jungle Gardens changed hands many times. in 1971, it was purchased by Arthur Allyn. It is currently operated by Allen’s Dorothy Tinney and her family.
Over the years, several of the previous owners lived on the grounds in what is now the Flamingos Cafe. The Koi Pond was previously a swimming pool. A new admission building and gift shop were added.