Sidetracked with Broward County Roadside Attractions

August 13th, 2014

As the summer slowly comes to an end and the Learning from Miami road trip makes its way south, we visit several of the gone but not forgotten roadside tourists attractions throughout Broward. Long before Mickey Mouse and his gang delighted visitors at the Walt Disney World Resort, which opened in October 1971, locals and tourists, both young and old, enjoyed many themed amusement parks off of the highway.  

Jungle Queen Riverboat, Fort Lauderdale, circa 1936

Still in operation, the Jungle Queen is an old-fashioned double-decker riverboat that takes tourists on a five and a half mile course down the New River. Originally conceived as a sightseeing trip with four boats, in 1960 the present riverboat was introduced and seats up to 550 passengers. Visitors can choose either a three-hour day cruise or a four-hour all-you-can-eat barbecue dinner featuring live shows. The boat ride ends at the Jungle Queen Indian Village, a four-acre “secret island” with refreshments, caged animals, Seminoles selling crafts, and alligator wrestling shows. 


Jungle Queen

Storyland Park, Pompano Beach, November 1955 – 1964

Demolished in 1964, Storyland Park was a $1.5 million fairy tale and nursery rhyme themed kiddieland consisting of 38 buildings on over 14 acres. 

Storyland© Original 35mm Kodachrome transparency

Storyland_Shoe© Original 35mm Kodachrome transparency

Ocean World, Fort Lauderdale, 1965 – 1994

Ocean World was a marine theme park featuring animals, tropical birds, fish, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and California sea lions. It was home to the famous “The Flying Dolphin Show.” The park closed down in August 1994 due to low attendance and lack of space for potential expansion. 

OceanWorldOcean World, Fort Lauderdale.Photo Courtesy: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Pirates World, Dania Beach, 1966-1975

Pirates World was an 87-acre buccaneer-themed park that inlcuded a Wild Mouse roller coaster, a log flume, and carnival games. Concerts also attracted large crowds to the park with headliners such as Led Zeppelin (1969), The Grateful Dead (1970), Fleetwood Mac (1972), and Chicago (1973). After Disney World opened, park attendance declined which subsequently led to the park shutting down in 1975.

Pirates WorldPirates World, 1967. Photo Courtesy: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Pirates World_Log flumePirates World Log Flume, 1967. Photo Courtesy: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Pioneer City, Davie, 1966 – February 1968

A theme park modeled after the American Old West, Pioneer City opened in rural Davie in 1966. Visitors enjoyed stagecoach rides, saloons, and staged gunfights at high noon with cowboy actors. Poor management under millionaire Myron M. “Mike” Weiss, Sr. would lead to the park’s closing in less than two years. 

Pioneer City_Stagecoach© December 4, 1966. Battle Vaughan/Miami Herald Staff

Pioneer City© May 22, 1966. Tom Mosier/Miami Herald Staff

-Marvin Aguilar 

Mar-a-Lago: “Jewel of Palm Beach”

July 23rd, 2014

From St. Augustine down to Palm Beach, the historic summer getaway tour makes a quick rest stop at a one-of-a-kind lavish estate fit for a queen. The 20-acre property was originally the winter home of Majorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal empire and prosperous businesswoman. These days, Mar-a-Lago is an exclusive private club at the heart of Palm Beach County, between Lake Worth and the Atlantic Ocean Read More...

Gilded Age Glamour at Flagler’s Hotel Ponce de Leon

July 3rd, 2014

Time to board the Florida East Coast Railway train and head up north to St. Augustine for this week's summer historic road trip. St. Augustine is a city that boasts a diverse, multicultural history dating back to Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León's 1513 arrival. Standard Oil tycoon Henry Flagler envisioned an "American Riviera" getaway for visitors escaping the harsh Northern winters Read More...

Take a Dive into Miami Beach’s Roman Pools

June 20th, 2014

Roman Pools Bathing Casino, 1926. Photo Courtesy: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory The next stop on the historic Florida summer getaway tour is Miami Beach. Before the days of luxury oceanfront hotels and pastel-painted Art Deco buildings, people flocked to the famous Miami Beach Bathing Pavilion and Swimming Pool Read More...

Breeze into Summer at The Barnacle in Coconut Grove

June 5th, 2014

The scorching summer heat is fast approaching South Florida. What better way to cool off than sitting on a rocking chair overlooking Biscayne Bay? The open-air verandas at The Barnacle provide comfortable cooling shade while visitors take in the ocean breeze on the hottest of days. Ralph Middleton Munroe Read More...

Old Meets New: Florida at the 1939 ‘World of Tomorrow’

May 21st, 2014

Florida Pavilion at 1939 World's Fair New York. Photo Courtesy: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Visitors to the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York (now the location for the Queens Museum) were amazed by the exhibits highlighting the futuristic 'World of Tomorrow.' At the entrance stood the iconic 700-foot Trylon obelisk and the 18-story Perisphere Read More...

The Tropics Come to Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair

May 7th, 2014

People got a taste of Florida's subtropical architecture miles away from the sunny beaches at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago with Robert Law Weed's Florida Tropical House. Officially known as A Century of Progress International Exposition, the 1933 World's Fair theme explored the impact of scientific discoveries on society Read More...

All Aboard Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway

April 23rd, 2014

Henry M. Flagler in Key West. Photo Courtesy: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Grab your fishing rod, pack the cooler, and drive on down to the Florida Keys for a blissful day out on the historic old Seven Mile Bridge. While the adjacent bridge is used for automobile transportation, the old bridge is a lasting legacy of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway Read More...

Kiehnel & Elliott: A Brief Survey of the Firm’s Miami Projects

April 9th, 2014

It is no surprise that when looking at Miami Boom-Era architecture the name Kiehnel & Elliott comes to mind. The firm, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had designed several buildings before moving its offices to Miami in 1922. The firm’s buildings became exemplary of the Mediterranean Revival style during the 1920s such as the extravagant El Jardin (now the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart) in Coconut Grove Read More...

Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Lady of the Everglades

March 27th, 2014

Photo Courtesy: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ (1890-1998) name is synonymous with Florida environmental activism. The Minnesota-born, Wellesley College graduate came to Miami in 1915, at age 25, to work as a society columnist for the Miami Herald. Her father, Frank Stoneman, was editor-in-chief at the time Read More...