Boardwalk and Baseball
HBJ decided a total retheming of their newly aquired Circus World Theme Park was called for, so they shut it down, re-built, and on Valentine's Day, 1987, re-opened as "Boardwalk and Baseball". The theme was now a turn of the century seaside boardwalk, so they built one, covering most of the concrete pathways with wood. Circus acts were out, the Royal Lippizaner horse show was in. Circus displays vanished, making way for exhibits borrowed from Cooperstown. A baseball stadium was built north of the park and the Kansas City Royals were lured away from Terry Park in Ft. Myers with promises of huge crowds of tourists.
It was a nice park. A very nice park. But it was south of Disney, out of the tourist flow. HBJ ran into a financial wall, junk bonds died, and they sold their parks to Busch Entertainment, who already owned a nice amusement park only about an hour's drive south on I-4: Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay.
On the afternoon of January 17, 1990, with no warning and with patrons still in the park, Busch pulled the plug. Claiming that it had never made a profit, they closed it down. Boardwalk and Baseball, a.k.a. Circus World, was dead.
Every so often the rumor would arise that Six Flags had bought the property with plans for a new park, but this was only wishful thinking. They didn't. The only things left for years were the stadium (sitting so far back it didn't even seem to be a part of the old park), left empty after the Kansas City Royals contract expired, and the very first building, the one that once housed the IMAX theater -- the tent. It was left a featureless gray blob, the canvas and the tent poles gone.
Behind that building, where there had once been a park and the sound of laughter, was now an empty field.
In 2003 they demolished the Imax theatre building and the land was transformed into the Posner Park development of condos, hotels, retail space, and offices. The circus has moved on.
Return To Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions, a site celebrating the now defunct tourist attractions of the Sunshine State. The attraction profiled on this page no longer exists.
The Abandoned Park: Photos taken by the author in March, 1997. (Note the now overgrown landscaping.)
This site Copyright (c) 1997-2011 by Robert H. Brown