The USF Botanical Gardens are located in Largo, FL, a short drive from Tampa or St. Petersburg. Although previous reviewers criticized the lack of upkeep, we visited in May 2014 and thought that it was generally pleasant and well-kept.
Many of the plants were new to me even though I've visited a number of other tropical gardens. Plant labeling is a bit hit-and-miss, but most of the important specimens are well-labeled.
Be sure to bring water and a hat since the gardens are quite sunny in the afternoon.
As an added bonus, the Heritage Museum adjoins the Botanical Gardens. It consists of a number of historic central Florida homes and businesses from the 1800's that have been moved to Heritage Village in Largo and refurbished. Most of the buildings are not open on the weekend, though you can get the feel of what it might have been like to live in Florida in pre-condominium days.
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