Lost Florida tourist attractions are gone but not forgotten. Florida's historical landscape is dotted with tourist attractions that didn't make it.
For every existing Florida tourist attraction, there seems to be two or three more that didn't survive. These long gone attractions are dreams that didn't work out.
People invested their money and worked hard to make their attraction succeed. Their payrolls were important to the communities they were located in. These lost attractions are part of our Florida heritage.
In the years after World War Two and up into the 1960's, there were no interstate highways in Florida and no Turnpike. The main north-south routes were US-1, US-27, US-301, US-441, and US-41.
A lot of these roads converged near Ocala, and then fanned out to head southwest toward Tampa and Sarasota or southeast toward Lake Okeechobee and Miami beyond.
Many of these lost Florida tourist attractions were on these old highways, typical Florida backroads.
Others came later, trying to feed off the frenzy surrounding Walt Disney World and the other major theme parks. Many of them didn't make it either.
When you are wandering around Florida's back roads, it is fun to ask the locals where the lost attraction was and go visit the site and see what's there now.
Here are the ones I know about. I'm sure there are many more, but this is a start.
FORT WALTON BEACH
PANAMA CITY BEACH
LAKE BUENA VISTA
DUNEDIN Hobby House Museum & Eden Gardens
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH
LAND O' LAKES
ST. PETERSBURG BEACH
SAN CARLOS PARK
NORTH MIAMI BEACH
WEST PALM BEACH
This map shows some Florida tourist attractions that existed in 1959. Some are still around, others have folded up their tents and marched off into history.
We used to invite visitor comments. Click below to read some of them.
Zellwood Corn Festival
I miss the Zellwood Corn Festival Zellwood is a small town on US-441 about 25 miles north of Orlando. Today, in 2017, it is a one traffic light town, …
Circus World: It Lasted for 12 Years
In 1974, not long after the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, Circus World opened north of Haines City, Florida. It was located at the southeast corner …
Funland Park Miami
I was recently going through some of my in-laws photo albums of their time with the circus and different carnivals and came across this picture. It …
Lewis Plantation and Turpentine Still
Lewis Plantation was an old time Florida tourist attraction that defied all probabilities of succeeding. It was on U.S. 41 about two miles south of Brooksville. …
Cypress Knee Museum
OLDE FLORIDA CYPRESS KNEE MUSEUM: GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Back in the early 80’s while heading home from the east …
Tunnel Radio Station in Fort Lauderdale US1 Tunnel
In 1976 I wanted to buy my own radio station but could not afford the high prices, so I created my own. I found that inside the New River Tunnel (now called …
Marine Life Park, Titusville Fla.
A short lived park across the street on US1 from Tropical Wonderland. They had porpoise shows, a manatee you could pet along with rays and a sea turtle. …
Cypress Gardens Florida
I hear Legoland kept some of the best parts, particularly the botanical gardens. I don't know. Maybe if I have kids and start bringing in more money …
Kapok Tree Inn, Davie FL
Kapok Tree Inn was located in Davie FL between Flamingo and 130th Ave. My mother who is now 96 took me and my daughter and son in the 1970's. We loved …
Dupree Gardens in Land o' Lakes
Living in Land o’ Lakes my whole life, I thought I knew almost everything about it. However, the other night, I stumbled across something that excited …
Fantasy Isles, Fort Myers, Florida
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 …
Pirates' World, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Pirates' World was a small theme park located on Sheridan St in Dania east of US 1 south of Ft. Lauderdale. While I do not recall a lot of details …
Pioneer City, Davie, Florida
I grew up in Davie, Florida, in the 1960s when there were only about 2,000 or 3,000 people in residence there. There were several orange groves that we …
Rainbow Springs: Rescued Lost Florida Attraction
Rainbow Springs is just north of Dunnellon, Florida, and at one time it was quite a popular tourist attraction. It was not as big as Silver Springs further …
Dania Chimpanzee Farm
Sixty-three years ago, 1949, I started working at the "Chimp Farm" as a guide for the tourists explaining the origins and habits of the various chimps, …
Blacks Haunted House...And A Very Scared Family!
As a family we always went on yearly vacations all over Florida. So in my 50 years I have seen and worked at a lot of attractions. But Blacks Haunted House …
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... …
Lost Florida Attractions: Visitor Comments Before 12-2-12
Hi, I found your site while looking for more information on the Aquatarium. I have posted some photos from 1970 at: http://vintagevacationphotos.com/vacation.cfm?v …
Mystery Fun House in Orlando
Orlando was an exciting place to be in the early years after Walt Disney World opened in 1971. Other big projects were in the wind, including Florida …
Floridaland Tried To Be All Things To All Tourists
My grandparents moved from Indiana to Osprey, near Venice, in 1960. A few years later - in 1964 - Floridaland opened as one of the unusual tourist attractions …
Six Gun Territory Was Here Before Walt Disney World
Six Gun Territory in Ocala, Florida, was a very popular attraction in the days before Walt Disney World. This western themed Florida tourist attraction …
Musa Isle Indian Village In Miami, Florida
Old timers in Miami tell me that the Everglades essentially began right about where 27th Avenue is today. Everything west was The Swamp, and land was …
Marco Polo Park
Shortly before Walt Disney World opened in October 1971, I began to notice construction of a new theme park on the west side of I-95 north of Ormond and …