“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Vero Beach in Indian River County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

McKee Jungle Gardens

McKee Jungle Gardens Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jamie Cox, February 13, 2016
1. McKee Jungle Gardens Marker
This is the original site of McKee Jungle Gardens, one of Florida’s earliest tourist attractions. McKee Gardens was founded in 1932 by Vero Beach pioneer Waldo Sexton and Cleveland industrialist Arthur G. McKee. They engaged William Lyman Phillips, a landscape architect who designed Fairchild Tropical Gardens and Bok Tower Gardens, to enhance and develop the 80 acres of dense tropical vegetation. The gardens contained a collection of native and imported tropical plants, an aviary, resident monkeys, and an alligator named “Ole Mac.” One of the most impressive components of Phillips’ design was the magnificent Cathedral of Palms, a colossal stand of more than 300 royal palms planted in precise rows. At its height of popularity the garden attracted 100,000 visitors annually, but closed in 1976, unable to compete with the allure of new theme parks nearby. Most of the acreage became a golf course and condominiums. The remaining 18 acres, now known as McKee Botanical Garden, were saved from destruction by the Indian River Land Trust and the citizens of Indian River County, and serves as an example of environmental stewardship and
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horticulture inspiration.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places - January 1998
Florida Heritage Landmark

Erected 1999 by The Indian River Land Trust, Indian River County Historical Society, Indian River County Tourist Development Council and The Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-403.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & ForestryParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1932.
Location. 27° 36.47′ N, 80° 22.942′ W. Marker is in Vero Beach, Florida, in Indian River County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of U.S. 1 and Vista Garden Trails, on the right when traveling north. Located on the grounds of the McKee Botanical Garden. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 350 US-1, Vero Beach FL 32962, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. McKee Jungle Garden Gates (here, next to this marker); Regent Court (approx. 2.2 miles away); The Big Flywheel (approx. 2.2 miles away); Vero Beach City Hall (approx. 2.3 miles away); Maher Building (approx. 2.4 miles away); Theater Plaza (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Pueblo Arcade
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(approx. 2.4 miles away); Osceola Park Historic Residential District (approx. 2.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vero Beach.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .  McKee Botanical Garden. (Submitted on February 15, 2016.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 13, 2016, by Jamie Cox of Melbourne, Florida. This page has been viewed 513 times since then and 71 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on February 13, 2016, by Jamie Cox of Melbourne, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Sep. 30, 2023