Fantasy Isles, Fort Myers, Florida

by Peggy
(Kansas City, Mo.)

Newspaper article about Fantasy Isles

Newspaper article about Fantasy Isles

My story....


I was one of the artists from Ringling College of Art and Design who worked on the Fantasy Isles project. My job was to do the artwork (hand done calligraphy with design), for the sandblasted signage as well as drawing and painting the illustrations for each of the storybook character sculptures.

It was a fascinating project.

I remember the private opening that was held for all of the artists who worked on the project. It was really fabulous.

Our teacher from Ringling was Ms. Ethelia Patmagrian. She was an incredible teacher and an excellent artist/sculptor/artist extraordinaire.

One of the very best ever.

What ever happened to all of the sculptures though? And the sandblasted signs? I would love to purchase the sign I designed for the parrot show, at least. I loved that piece among others....

Fond memories of a wonderful time and place. I would love to know what ever happened to the sculptures and the pieces we created for this project. I have often wondered if they were destroyed during Hurricane Charlie.

WE completed this project in 1982-1983.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Peggy, thanks for this story about your work on the Fantasy Isles project in North Fort Myers. I don't know much about that lost attraction, but I'm hopeful that your article will generate some comments from earlier visitors to the park.





Comments for Fantasy Isles, Fort Myers, Florida

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May 28, 2017
Best childhood memories
by: Jen H

I still remember all the wonderful things about this place. My mother would take my brother and I every weekend and we never got bored. My brother lost his first tooth on the Ferris wheel. It was such an interesting and unique place. Such a wonderful part of my childhood, I will never forget. I had many birthday parties there too. I still have a plastic cup (in perfect condition) from the park that sits on my kitchen hutch. A couple signs and sculptures are still in use at the Shell factory. I am tempted one day to wander back in the adjacent woods to see if there is anything remaining, of this enchanting place. I will never forget.

Apr 04, 2017
My childhood memories
by: Lauree

Thank you so much, Ms. Peggy, and everyone for sharing your pictures and memories! I remember this place often and very fondly as a child. I remember the Dairy Queen, and the boardwalks! The train, the Old Woman and the shoe! I loved how everything was big enough for me to climb into! :-) I remember the brightly colored Macaws that would ride the little bikes or tricycles across the wire. :D I remember the House that Jack Built - I loved going down the covered slide, once I wasn't afraid to try it, lol! I remember rub a dub dub, the Three Men in a Tub - the baker, the butcher and the Candlestick maker. I remember seeing them sitting in their tub, in the water, when we went over the bridge. I remember sheep swings I think. :D When I would see a few of the statues in the water, or near their pond, years later, I would point them out to my sister - when we went to the Shell Factory. We still got to the Shell Factory, but I do miss that park. It truly was a fantasy land. :D

May 12, 2016
The Statues Live!
by: Peggy

This is WONDERFUL NEWS! I'm so pleased someone rescued them! And even the signs survived!

Thank you soooo much for finding them. Looks like I will have to make plans to take a road trip to Ohio in the future. :0)

Happy days are here again!

Peggy




May 11, 2016
The Statues Live!
by: Anonymous

The statues were sold to a man who transported them to Ohio where they live on:

http://www.roadarch.com/fairyparks/oh.html

Dec 29, 2014
Fantasy Isles
by: Peggy

Were you at the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers?

It's on Hwy 41 - Tamiami Trail. The Shell Factory has been there for years and I too went there as a kid back in the 1970's and loved it. As I got older, I ended up going to art school at Ringling in Sarasota and was selected as one of the designers for the project. Although I did not work on the sculptures, I worked on illustrations of the sculptures and did the calligraphy and design for the sand-blasted signs that explained each nursery rhyme and sculpture. I especially loved the sign I did for the Parrot Clock for the parrot show. The signs were wooden, sandblasted and painted. Really beautiful with raised lettering. I bet they survived
and are somewhere. They would be really cool pieces of art to have in a restaurant or a home. Lots of fun. I hope they are out there somewhere..... Peg

Dec 29, 2014
Peggy
by: Jessica

You are so welcome Peggy! I don't even remember where it was located, I was so young. But I remember seeing all of the characters on a vacant lot next to what looked like a civic center...it was an indoor location big enough to house the animatronic dinosaur exhibit in 1988 or 1989. Wish I could find them again. They were so awesome!

Dec 29, 2014
to Jessica
by: Peggy

WOW! Thanks for the info Jessica. Just another piece of the puzzle in the mystery of what ultimately happened to Fantasy Isles. Kind of sad to see it go away. I wonder if anything, at least any of the sculptures or sand blasted signs, ever survived? Hopefully they did and are somewhere to be rediscovered again. That would be so nice.
Thanks so much for your info and comment. I truly appreciate it :0).

All the best, Peggy

Dec 29, 2014
I've been looking everywhere for pictures from this place!
by: Jessica

I remember the storybook characters well! I loved the three bears cottage and the big shoe! The last time I saw the huge characters was in 1989 when I went to a Dinosaur show at an indoor center. They were chipped and peeling, off to the side in an abandoned lot. Some rebar was showing from the concrete. I wanted to bring them home with me and put them in our backyard. What an awesome place this was!

Dec 29, 2014
I've been looking everywhere for pictures from this place!
by: Jessica

I remember the storybook characters well! I loved the three bears cottage and the big shoe! The last time I saw the huge characters was in 1989 when I went to a Dinosaur show at an indoor center. They were chipped and peeling, off to the side in an abandoned lot. Some rebar was showing from the concrete. I wanted to bring them home with me and put them in our backyard. What an awesome place this was!

Dec 09, 2013
Fantasy Isles
by: Peggy

Dear Christopher,

Thank you so much for your post on this blog. YOU MADE MY DAY! :0).

I'm so glad you had a wonderful experience and enjoyed the work we all did for the theme park. It was a special place indeed and I would like to find out if any of the sculptures or signs ever survived. I would love to have the parrot sign I designed, or any of the signage for that matter if someone still has any of the artifacts.

If you have the opportunity to do so, would you please post any photos you might have from your visits with your Grandparents at Fantasy Isles. That would be fun to see!

Thanks again for your post. All the best! Peggy

Dec 09, 2013
Loved this place as a kid
by: Christopher

I loved reading Peggy's comments about working on the art for this old amusement park. As a kid, I spent many hours at Fantasy Isles. It was my favorite thing to do when I would visit my grandparents in Ft. Myers.

I have many fond memories of the park, and I can still remember most of the big, colorful sculptures and how much they delighted me back then. Unfortunately most were either abandoned or demolished when the park closed in the early 90s. I remember being very upset when that happened.

I vividly remember Peggy's sign for the Bird Show. I loved that show and used to get very excited waiting for it. I can remember my mother teaching me about time using that sign. Your work was definitely appreciated by at least one child.

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