During the late 1800s the founders of the Naples, Florida, resort community invited Henry Nehrling to establish a tropical garden in their community. “H. Nehrling’s Tropical Gardens and Arboretum,” renamed from Nehrling’s early moniker “My Garden of Solitude,” resembled a miniature world of the subtropics and tropics. The garden’s 13 acres included plants originating in South America, Africa, and Asia, with spaces defined by a series of natural ecological zones throughout which cultivated areas were intertwined. Consistency and cohesion of the garden was established through appropriate plantings in each ecological zone.
Following Nehrling’s death in 1929 the site lay fallow for decades. In 1951, Julius Fleischmann bought the land and rejuvenated the garden. He subsequently bought adjacent properties and merged the land with Nehrling’s garden, opening the site to the public as Caribbean Gardens. After Fleischmann's death in 1967, a small zoo was established at Caribbean Gardens. Today the land is owned by Collier County government and is open to the public in association with the Naples Zoo.