An enjoyable day shopping in the Florida Keys isn't defined by how many bags of bargains you return home with. In the case Ocean Gardens in Islamorada, the store is part nautical gallery, part boutique, and part antique shop with steep prices that make it more of a curiosity stop for a rainy day. Located halfway between Key Largo and Key West, this rare gem is full of artwork, home decor, natural seashells and coral, and nautical antiques that visitors can easily spend hours exploring.[PHOTO_217666]
Opened in 2012, the owners scour the globe in search of unique artifacts and shells. Indoors, coral and shells are brought from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Fiji including Nautilus, Queen and King Conch, and polished Abalone, while hand-carved sea life sculptures are purchased from artists living in Bali. Outdoors, the property contains gardens, a water fountain and pond sprinkled with larger items that are for sale.
The store also showcases antiques such as Japanese fishing floats and colorful rum jugs covered with braided rope, which can be floated on a pong or hung on display. Ship's wheels, anchors, cannons, and English Channel buoy and ship lights are also on display.Items on Display — Photo courtesy of Ocean Gardens
Visitors can uncover Colonial treasure coins from Spain and England that were recovered from ship wrecks all over the world, as well as several Greek coins from numerous time periods. High-end home decor consists of metal wall sculptures by Mark Malizia that feature marine life, palm trees, and other tropical themes with a modern edge, while glass and copper tropical fish recreate the whimsical underwater world.