BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. - Nearly six months after closing its doors, a beloved Bonita Springs landmark is blossoming.
After a summer of shoveling and planting the historic Everglades Wonder Gardens has completed its transformation from neighborhood zoo to botanical garden.
Wink News spoke with photographer and lessee John Brady who's ready to open the site's newest attraction.
"This is a piece of Americana. Every year another one of these goes away. This one was going to be gone this year. So far we've kept that from happening and our plan is to fight to keep that from happening and we are well on our way to doing that," Brady said.
Nearly eight decades after the first guests entered the gardens, the the 3.5 acres nestled in Bonita Springs continues its evolution.
"We spent the first few months just tearing into the place, cleaning up, trying to draw more attention and highlight the beautiful trees and plants that were here.
Brady reopened the gardens in June and quickly changed the landscape. Gone are the alligators and bears, now birds and butterflies live in the trees and koi ponds and pathways take tourists through the property.
"When we first took over it was a little rough. People had a hard time envisioning what we were trying to do," he said.
Now, Brady is set to open the latest addition, the Everglades Gallery, featuring his photography.
"It was part of the reason we took this property over to move the Everglades Gallery to this location. The building is perfect for it," he said.
Bradys says he is also in the process of applying for non-profit status and hopes to sell the property to someone who shares his vision. The wonder garden's property is listed for sale at about 3$.6 million.
The gallery opening is Sunday, November 17th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. RSVP's are appreciated.