One of the advantages of living in Florida is being so close to all of its attractions. Maybe you cherish your childhood road trips, or the first time you took your own children to these magical places. We still have a lot of great attractions, but sadly, there are just as many that have closed their doors.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Stroll through Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven.
Cypress Gardens was Florida's first theme park, opening in 1936. It evolved over several decades before finally closing in 2009. Cypress Gardens was famous for its beautiful grounds, dotted with women dressed as Southern belles, various rides, and incredibly skilled teams of water ski experts. The area where the park once stood is now commemorated in several places in Legoland.
2. Watch a shoot-out at Six Gun Territory in Ocala.
Six Gun Territory was a park made to look like a Western town that was open from 1963 to 1984. Visitors would take a train ride to get into the town, where they could see gunfights, saloon shows, various rides, and more.
3. Take a tour of Xanadu, the Home of the Future, in Kissimmee.
Xanadu was a funny-looking experimental home made out of foam with lots of futuristic features. There were several across the US, but Kissimmee's was the most popular. It was an interesting concept, but the technology quickly became outdated, and the attraction closed in 1996. Check out a video of a tour of Xanadu from 1985 below.
4. Catch a concert at Pirates World in Dania.
Pirates World was open from 1967 to 1975. The park featured several rides, many of which were bought from other parks and redesigned with pirate themes. It was also the site of many rock concerts in the '60s and '70s, hosting everyone from Black Sabbath to The Beach Boys.
5. Join the circus for a day atCircus World in Haines City.
Circus World ran from 1974 until 1987, when it became Boardwalk and Baseball. Over time, it grew from the winter home for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to include a Ferris wheel, carousel, roller coasters, daily circus performances and other shows. Visitors even had the chance to try the trapeze and tightrope walking.
6. Visit Boardwalk and Baseball in Haines City.
This beloved park opened in 1987, replacing Circus World. Many of the attractions were revamped and restyled to fit its baseball theme, but the park couldn't just couldn't compete with the bigger, better rides at Disney World. In 1990, only a few years after opening, it was closed.
7. Beat the heat at Six Flags Atlantis in Hollywood.
Sadly this water park was so badly damaged in Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that it closed down for good.
8. Do just about anything at the Mystery Fun House in Orlando.
Mystery Fun House was beloved for its scary, silly and just plain weird exhibits from 1976 to 2001. Its chambers evolved over the years. At one point or another it included each of the following: a crooked room, a mirror maze, a rolling barrel, tunnels, creepy jail-themed areas, a moving bridge, a movie theater, a hologram machine, a magic shop, laser tag, mini golf and a pizza parlor.
9. See The Great Masterpiece in Lake Wales.
During World War II, a huge mosaic recreating The Last Supper was sent to the US to keep it from falling into the hands of the Nazis. It eventually ended up in Lake Wales in 1950 and became a tourist attraction, gradually adding rides and animal shows. In 1981, the park in Central Florida couldn't compete with the ever-growing popularity of Disney World, and it closed. The mosaic was eventually sold to a college in South Carolina.
10. Spend the whole day on the classic rides at Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City.
The original Miracle Strip thrilled visitors in Panama City from 1963 to 2004, when it broke many hearts by closing its doors. The park reopened in 2009 with a few of the old rides, but it just wasn't the same. Features of the Miracle Strip were the Starliner Roller Coaster, Abominable Snowman, Dante's Inferno, The Haunted Castle, and The Dungeon.
Do you remember doing any of these things? Do you know of any other things you can’t do anymore? Please share your thoughts and memories with us below!