Crandon Gardens is the former site of the Crandon Park Zoo, which was abandoned in 1980. Remnants of the old zoo remain in this park that is now a garden with walking path, lake, and a ton of birds and iguanas.
The garden is located in Crandon Park and is accessible by parking in the South Beach parking lot. Google maps will take you to Historic Virginia Key Beach, but disregard those garbage directions that left me circling Key Biscayne like a lunatic searching for this goddamn garden that was hiding in plain site.
The old animal enclosures give a glimpse into what the old site looked like. They made me wonder about the conditions and how life was for the animals. The gardens are on the beach, so I read that a past hurricane led to some of them drowning in their enclosures due to the close proximity to the water. The story broke my damn heart.
Today, there are iguanas running rampant all over the garden. I’ve never seen so many iguanas in one place. I also saw softshell turtles, peacocks, sandhill cranes, ducks, geese, ibis, vultures, and more. The whole area was incredibly quiet and peaceful.
I spent an afternoon wandering the paved and sandy paths that weave through the garden. After awhile the sweat beading in my buttcrack from walking in the Florida heat became a bit much so went over to the beach to dip my tootsies in the water. I recommend more relaxing days like this.