Birds of Prey
Back in the 1950's and '60's, before the construction of I-95, I-75, and The Florida Turnpike, the main routes south through Central Florida were US 27 and state roads 301 and 441. All three of these roads meet at Ocala and then travel together for several miles before they split up again to head southwest to Tampa or southeast to Miami.
Ocala also had the natural attraction of Silver Springs to draw tourists, which made Ocala a major tourist center for the time.
Numerous gift shops, restaurants, and motels (some of which are still there) sprung up in the Ocala area to take advantage of all those tourists, as well as several now gone tourist attractions like Six Gun Territory, Carriage Cavalcade, and Ocala Caverns.
Another such attraction, then five miles south of town on 27-301-441, was Birds of Prey, which featured an aviary and shows displaying hawks, eagles, and other big preditory birds. In the words of the 1956/57 AAA Southeastern Tourbook: "Since the birds are staked, falcons, eagles, hawks and vultures may be closely observed. Exhibitions of falconry and cheeta training and hunting are given." Admission was $1.13 for adults, 52 cents for the kids.
In the early 1960's the park changed hands, added rides, and became, briefly, Florida Adventureland, an amusement park featuring "Big Sam: The World's Largest Bull" and other exhibits, which is also now long gone.
Return To Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions
Postcard image from the author's collection.
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