Tropical Wonderland Aerial View
While I missed actually being able to go to this park while it was open, I live around the corner from where it used to be.
Before the property was... how can I put this nicely... accosted by a local developer, my brothers and I used to go tromping in the woods where the park used to be.
Up until the bulldozers and other implements of destruction arrived, the tracks and little trains were still there, rusting away (a shame I never followed through on "one day I'm going to haul one of these things out of here and fix it up!").
The ferris wheel sat as a lonely oxidized sentinel in an open spot in the thick woods. Remains of cages dotted the pathways, an old rickety bridge crossed a moat onto an island with more cage remains.
As of right now, there is still an old A-frame building sitting on US-1 that used to be the reptile house... my grandfather worked there when they first moved to the area from south Florida. According to him, after the park closed, there were flocks of parrots still in the area, and while I don't personally know anyone who has had a sighting in the past several years, before the Walgreens on the corner of S.R. 50 and U.S. 1 was built, there was a business that did bus repairs on the site. (This is adjacent to the property that Tropical Wonderland was on) My mother was working dispatch for county Fire and Ambulance, animal control dispatch was in the same building.
This business kept a refrigerator outside for employees to put their lunches in. On a regular basis, they would call animal control to let them know that the monkeys were back, stealing lunches out of the refrigerator. I had friends who lived along the back edge of the old park, and from time to time, they would spot monkeys eating oranges from their trees.
Anyway, now we've got a self-storage building on part of the old Tropical Wonderland property, and they've moved the implements of destruction back onto the other half of the property. Who knows what they're going to put in now, or if they'll knock it all down and let it sit for 10 years like they did before the storage units went in.
If I had won the lottery I would have bought it and reopened it, even if just as a botanical/wildlife park... oh well...