AKA Shark World
Marine Attractions, Inc. built the Aquatarium in 1964 on 17 acres on St. Petersburg Beach, between 64th and 66th avenues, right on the Gulf of Mexico.
It was built somewhat on the plan of the Miami Seaquarium, with a signature 160-foot-tall golden geodesic dome and the usual trained porpoises, sea lions and even pilot whales.
In 1968 Frank Cannova, a local hotel owner, bought the Aquatarium for $2 million, just in time to watch tourism in the area decline as Walt Disney World opened and the gasoline shortages of the 1970's hit. An attempt was made to rebrand the Aquatarium as "Shark World" in the mid-seventies following the release of Jaws, but that was little help. After city zoning officials refused to approve the construction of a waterslide at the park, it closed and was eventually torn down to make way for the Silver Sands Beach & Racquet Club condominium.
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Postcard images from the author's collection.
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