Florida Attractions Timeline

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1513
  • Ponce de Leon visits, names the place Florida.
1559
  • Tristán de Luna y Arellano attempts to colonize Pensacola Bay. His settlement is abandoned within two years.
1565
  • Pedro Menendez de Aviles establishes town of St. Augustine.
1821
  • Florida transfered from Spain to United States.
1845
  • Florida is granted statehood.
1878
  • Hullam Jones invents the glass bottom boat at Silver Springs (Silver Springs).
1893
  • St. Augustine Alligator Farm (St. Augustine) established.
1897
  • A. J. Richardson settles in the Miami River area that will become Musa Isle Fruit Farm (Miami).
1900
1910
  • Warren "Alligator Joe" Frazee opens his alligator farm on Wagner Creek (Miami).
1911
  • Henry Coppinger, Sr., buys ten acres on the Miami River and begins growing the exotic plants that will become Coppinger's Tropical Gardens (Miami).
1914
  • Tony Janus makes the world's first regularly scheduled commercial airline flight (across the bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa).
1916
  • Viscaya (Miami) construction completed.
1917
  • Coppinger's Tropical Gardens (Miami) officially opens to the public.
1923
  • Ed L. opens his Coral Castle (Homestead) to the public. (Date from Coral Castle brochure. Some materials from Coral Castle give the year as 1920).
1924
  • Orlando Museum of Art Opens
  • Carl Ray and W.M. Davidson purchase the land that will become Silver Springs park (Silver Springs).
1925
  • George T. Christie purchases Wakulla Spring (Wakulla), begins development and glass bottom boat tours.
1928
  • 4 - Completion of the 273 mile (Tampa to Miami) Tamiami Trail.
1929
  • President Calvin Coolidge dedicates Singing Tower, now Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales).
1930
1934
  • Key West Aquarium (Key West) built.
  • George Christie sells Wakulla Spring (Wakulla) to Edward Ball.
1935
  • Sunken Gardens (St. Petersburg) opens.
  • 12/15 - Monkey Jungle (Goulds) officially opens to the public.
1936
  • Everglades Wonder Gardens (Bonita Springs) opens.
  • 1/2 - Cypress Gardens (Cypress Gardens) opens.
  • 12/20 - Parrot Jungle (Miami) opens.
1937
  • Oriental Gardens (Jacksonville) opens to the public.
  • Wakulla Lodge opens at Wakulla Spring (Wakulla).
  • George End moves his rattlesnake cannery from Arcadia to the Tampa area and founds Rattlsnake Headquarters (Rattlesnake).
1938
  • 1/1 - Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour begins operation.
1939
  • Newton Perry, who will one day create Weeki Wachee, gets hired to manage Wakulla Spring (Wakulla).
  • 12 - Clyde Beatty's Jungle Zoo (Ft. Lauderdale) opens on the former site of McKillop-Hutton Lion Farm
1940
  • Earl Gresh opens his Wood Parade museum (St. Petersburg).
  • Sarasota Jungle Gardens (Sarasota) opens.
  • The city of St. Petersburg aquires Weeki Wachee Spring (Weeki Wachee) as a potential future water source for the city.
  • 12/1 - Dupree Gardens (Land O' Lakes) opens to the public.
1941
  • 12/7 - Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii results in the United States entry into World War Two. Tourism development will be constrained for the next several years by the war effort and gasoline rationing, although military bases in Florida will continue to bring new people to the state.
1944
  • George End dies from a rattlesnake bite, Rattlesnake Headquarters closes (in 1945 the cannery operation will be sold to Ross Allen who moves the rattlesnake cannery to Silver Springs).
1945
  • Clyde Beatty's Jungle Zoo (Ft. Lauderdale) closes.
  • 9/2 - VJ Day marks the end of WWII.
1946
  • Theater of the Sea (Islamorada) opens.
1947
  • 3/6 - Thomas Edison's widow donates his Winter Estate to the city of Ft. Myers. The estate first opens for public tours that November.
  • 10/13 - Weeki Wachee Spring (Weeki Wachee) presents first live underwater mermaid show to the public.
  • 12/6 - President Harry S. Truman formally dedicates Everglades National Park.
1948
  • Lightner Museum (St. Augustine) opens.
1949
  • Florida Attractions Association formed, from a committee of the Florida Public Relations Association, as a not for profit corporation.
  • Owen Godwin, Sr. opens his Snake Village and Alligator Farm, later Gatorland (Kissimmee).
  • Paradise Park (Silver Springs) opens.
  • George L. Potter opens Potter's Wax Museum (St. Augustine).
1950
  • The first permanent Ripley's Museum (St. Augustine) opens. Believe it, or not!
  • Junior Museum of Miami (Miami) established at Biscayne Blvd. & 26th Street.
  • ‘Trader’ Frank and Jo Byars open the Signal House gift shop that will eventually become Tiki Gardens (Indian Rocks Beach).
1951
  • Africa USA (Boca Raton) opens.
1952
  • Junior Museum of Miami (Miami) moves to Miami Women's Club Building, renamed, "Museum of Science and Natural History"
  • 4/15 - Official opening day of The Great Masterpiece (Lake Wales), da Vinci's Birthday.
1953
  • E. G. Barnhill opens Ancient America (Boca Raton).
  • 3 - Herbert and Bob Horn open Horns’ Cars of Yesterday (Sarasota).
1954
  • Caribbean Gardens (Naples) opens.
  • Robert and Mae Noell buy the Tarpon Springs Alligator Farm, renovate and reopen as Noell's Ark (Tarpon Springs)
1955
  • Sunshine Springs and Gardens (Sarasota) opens.
  • A fire at Silver Springs (Silver Springs) destroys ticket offices, gift shops, and other buildings.
  • 8/14 - Gulfarium (Ft. Walton Beach) opens.
  • 9/24 - Miami Seaquarium (Miami) opens.
  • 11 - Storyland (Pompano Beach) opens.
1956
  • Circus Hall of Fame opens (Sarasota)
  • 12/22 - Aquafair (North Miami) opens on the site of Tropical Panorama.
1957
  • The Sunshine State Parkway (Florida Turnpike) opens to traffic from Golden Glades to Fort Pierce.
  • Gatorama (Palmdale) opens.
  • Florida Citrus Tower (Clearmont) opens.
1958
  • Conch Tour Train (Key West) trams begin operation.
  • Orlando Science Center opens.
1959
  • The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) buys Weeki Wachee Spring (Weeki Wachee).
  • Gresh Wood Parade (St. Petersburg) closes.
  • Sunshine Springs and Gardens (Sarasota) closes.
  • 2 - Miami Wax Museum (North Miami) opens.
  • 3/31 - Busch Gardens (Tampa) opens.

1960
  • Museum of Science and Natural History (Miami) moves to present site near Viscaya.
  • Aquafair (North Miami) sold to Clyde Beatty. Reopens as Clyde Beatty's Jungleland later this year and only operates for one season.
  • 11/11 - Bazaar International and Trylon Tower (Riviera Beach) open.
1961
  • 1/1 - Placid Tower (Lake Placid) opens.
  • 5/5 - Alan Shepard, the first American in space, is launched from Cape Canaveral.
  • 9 - Africa USA (Boca Raton) closed.
1962
  • Signal House Gift Shop opens adjacent Fabulous Tiki Gardens
  • ABC buys Silver Springs and surrounding acreage.
1963
  • 2/2 - Six Gun Territory (Ocala) opens.
  • 3/2 - Tussaud's London Wax Museum (St. Petersburg Beach) opens.
  • 11/22 - Criswell's Money Museum (St. Petersburg Beach) opens.
  • 12/9 - Miami Seaquarium (Miami) opens Florida's first monorail.
1964
  • Florida Turnpike completed from Fort Pierce to Wildwood.
  • Storyland (Pompano Beach) closes.
  • 3/15 - Signal House Gift Shop and Fabulous Tiki Gardens expand and become Exotic Tiki Gardens (Indian Rocks Beach).
  • 6/30 - Aquatarium (St. Petersburg Beach) opens.
  • 10 - Cape Coral Gardens (Cape Coral) opens.
  • 12 - Floridaland (Osprey) opens.
1965
  • International Swimming Hall of Fame (Ft. Lauderdale) opens.
  • Texas Jim's Sarasota Reptile Farm and Zoo (Sarasota) closes.
  • 6/27 - Premier of Cross and Sword (St. Augustine).
1966
  • Wakulla Spring (Wakulla) designated a National Natural Landmark.
  • 1/1 - The City of Weeki Wachee, "The City of Live Mermaids," is incorporated so as to get the attraction's name on maps.
  • 4 - Top O' The Strip Observation Tower (Panama City Beach) opens.
  • 5/27 - Pioneer City (Ft. Lauderdale) opens.
  • 6 - June is proclaimed "Florida Attractions Month" by Gov. Haydon Burns.
  • (Late) - Space Transit Planetarium opens at Museum of Science (Miami).
1967
  • The Horn Brothers sell their Horns’ Cars of Yesterday museum (Sarasota) to Walter Bellm, who will rename it Bellm's Cars and Music of Yesterday.
  • 4 - Pirate's World (Dania) opens.
  • 8/29 - Lion Country Safari (West Palm Beach) opens.
1969
  • Killer Whale Stadium opens at Miami Seaquarium (Miami).
  • 9 - Caribbean Gardens (Naples) renamed Jungle Larry's African Safari with addition of "Jungle" Larry Tetzlaff's animal shows and exhibits.
1970
  • McLarty Treasure Museum (Sebastian Inlet) opens.
1971
  • 10/1 - Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista) officially opens.
1973
  • Pirates World (Dania) files for bankruptcy.
  • SST Aviation Exhibit Center (Kissimmee) opens.
  • Cross and Sword (St. Augustine) designated the official Florida State Play.
  • 6 - Church Street Station (Orlando) opens.
  • 10/17 - Oil embargo by The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) creates gas shortages and sharply raised oil prices in the United States, thus reducing automobile travel until prices and supply stabilize. Attendance at many attractions plummets.
  • 12/15 - Sea World of Florida (Orlando) opens.
1974
  • Circus World Showcase (Haines City) opens.
  • Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike opened.
  • 5/24 - Marco Polo Park (Bunnell) grand opening.
1975
  • Selby Gardens (Sarasota) open to the public.
  • 1/15 - Space Mountain opens at Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista)
  • 2 - The closed Marco Polo Park (Bunnell) is damaged in two fires eight days apart.
  • 3 - Six Gun Territory (Ocala) reopens after rebuilding its main street after a fire the previous November.
  • 5/10 - Six Flags Stars Hall Of Fame (Orlando) opens.
  • 7/4 - Central Florida Zoo (Orlando) opens.
1976
  • Reptile World Serpentarium (St. Cloud), formerly a private research facility, opens to the public.
  • Aquatarium (St. Petersburg Beach) becomes Shark World.
  • 2 - Mystery Fun House (Orlando) opens.
  • 6 - River Country (Walt Disney World) opens.
1977
  • 3 - Wet 'n Wild (Orlando) opens.
1978
  • "Ted" Stambaugh aquires Tussaud's London Wax Museum (St. Petersburg Beach).
  • Wayne Rader moves his musical family from Wichita, Kansas to Panama City Beach and builds The Ocean Opry.
  • 3/14 - The remains of Marco Polo Park (Bunnell) sold at auction.
  • 4/28 - Wild Waters water park (Silver Springs) opens.
1979
  • The land then leased by the Circus Hall of Fame (Sarasota) is sold out from under the museum.
  • 6 - Fun 'n Wheels (Orlando) opens.
  • 10/1 - Groundbreaking ceremonies for EPCOT at Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista).
1980
  • 11/15 - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista).
1981
  • Masterpiece Gardens (Lake Wales) closed.
  • SST Museum (Kissimmee) closed.
  • Edward Ball, owner of Wakulla Spring (Wakulla) dies at the age of 93, bequeathing spring to the Nemours Foundation.
  • 12 - Metrozoo (Miami) grand opening.
  • 12/6 - Contents of the Wings and Wheels Museum (Orlando) sold at auction by Christie's.
1982
  • Buccaneer Bay waterpark (Weeki Wachee) opens.
  • 3/7 - Salvador Dali Museum (St. Petersburg) opens.
  • 10/1 - Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center (Lake Buena Vista) opens.
1983
  • 12/16 - Medieval Times Dinner Tournament (Kissimmee) opens.
1984
  • Florida Leisure Attractions buys Weeki Wachee Spring (Weeki Wachee) and Silver Springs (Silver Springs) from ABC.
  • 2/19 - Miami Wax Museum (North Miami) closes.
  • 3 - Don Garlits' Museum of Drag Racing (Ocala) opens.
  • 4 - Mattel sells Circus World (Haines City) to Jim Monaghan for $10 Million.
  • 4/12 - Rides from the closed Six Gun Territory (Ocala) sold at auction.
  • 10/5 - Miami Serpentarium (Miami) doors closed for good.
1985
  • The Fred Bear Museum (Gainesville) is moved to Florida from Grayling, Michigan.
  • 2/4 - Rides and attractions from the closed Petticoat Junction (Panama City Beach) sold at auction.
1986
  • King Henry's Feast (Orlando) opens.
  • The State of Florida purchases Wakulla Spring (Wakulla Springs); it becomes Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.
  • 4 - Circus World (Haines City) sold to HBJ.
  • 4/21 - The equipment from the closed Pirate Island Amusement Park (Ft. Walton Beach) sold at auction.
1987
  • 2/14 - Circus World (Haines City) re-opens as Boardwalk & Baseball.
  • 3 - Weeks Air Museum (Miami) opens.
  • 7/12 - Fort Liberty (Kissimmee) opens.
1988
  • Flying Tigers Warbird Restoration Museum (Kissimmee) opens.
  • 1 - Arabian Nights (Orlando) opens.
  • 3/5 - Lowry Park Zoo (Tampa) opens.
1989
  • Florida Leisure Acquisition Corp. buys Weeki Wachee Spring (Weeki Wachee).
  • Green Meadows Petting Farm (Kissimmee) opens.
  • 1/15 - Tussaud's London Wax Museum (St. Petersburg Beach) final day of operation.
  • 5/1 - Disney/MGM Studios Theme Park (Lake Buena Vista) opens.
  • 6 - Typhoon Lagoon (Walt Disney World) opens.
  • 9/28 - Busch buys HBJ's parks: Sea World (Orlando), Boardwalk and Baseball (Haines City), Cypress Gardens (Winter Haven).
1990
  • Tiki Gardens (Indian Rocks Beach) sold to Pinellas County, tikis are auctioned and buildings razed.
  • 1/12 - Star Tours simulator ride opens at Disney/MGM Studios Theme Park (Lake Buena Vista.)
  • 1/17 (at about 3pm) - Boardwalk & Baseball (Haines City) closed permanently without warning.
  • 3 - Astronaut Hall of Fame (Titusville) opens.
  • 5 - Fun World @ Flea World (Sanford) opens.
  • 6 - Universal Studios Florida (Orlando) opens.
  • 12/19 - Frances Pew Hayes turns her teddy bear collection into The Teddy Bear Museum of Naples (Naples).
1991
  • 4 - Planet Ocean (Miami) closes.
  • 5 - Florida Sports Hall of Fame (Lake City) grand opening.
  • 11 - Terror on Church Street (Orlando) opens.
1992
  • Capone's Dinner Show (Kissimmee) opens.
  • 7/25 - Ripley's Believe It or Not! (Orlando) opens.
1993
  • The State of Florida buys the property occupied by Silver Springs park and leases the attraction back to Florida Leisure.
  • 3/12 - A World of Orchids (Kissimmee) opens.
  • 4/20 - The Bolliger & Mabbilard designed Kumba steel looping roller coaster opens at Busch Gardens (Tampa).
  • 12/18 - Florida Splendid China (Kissimmee) opens.
1994
  • Jungle Larry's African Safari (Naples) reverts to old name of Caribbean Gardens.
  • 2 - Klassix Auto Museum (Daytona Beach) opened.
  • 8/31 - Ocean World (Ft. Lauderdale) closed.
  • 12 - Planet Hollywood (Lake Buena Vista) opens.
1995
  • Blizzard Beach (Walt Disney World) opens.
  • 3/31 - Florida Aquarium (Tampa) opens.
  • 4 - Busch sells Cypress Gardens (Winter Haven) to private investors.
  • 12/8 - Top O' The Strip Observation Tower (Panama City Beach) demolished.
1996
  • This site first goes online as Florida's Forgotten Tourist Attractions.
  • This summer is the last season for Cross and Sword (St. Augustine), the official Florida State Play.
  • Ogden Entertainment of Florida, Inc., takes over the management of Silver Springs.
  • Daytona USA opens at the Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach).
  • 3/10 - The International Museum of Cartoon Art opens in Boca Raton.
  • 5 - Pirates Dinner Adventure (Orlando) opens.
  • 5/16 - The B&M designed Montu inverted roller coaster opens at Busch Gardens (Tampa).
1997
  • 6/13 - Skull Kingdom (Orlando) opens.
  • 7 - Martin Godbey buys Bellm's Cars and Music (Sarasota) from Walter Bellm, renames it "Museum of Cars and Music."
  • 7/4 - The Edge of Africa attraction opens at Busch Gardens (Tampa).
1998
  • Black Hills Passion Play (Lake Wales) closes.
  • Sebastian Fishing Museum (Sebastian Inlet) opens.
  • 3 - Bazaar International Trylon Tower (Riviera Beach) demolished.
  • 3/4 - WonderWorks (Orlando) opens.
  • 4/4 - Tragedy In The US Museum (St. Augustine) contents sold at auction.
  • 4/22 - Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World opens.
  • 5/2 - Tom Gaskins, founder of the Cypress Knee Museum (Palmdale), dies at age 89.
1999
  • Museum of Cars and Music (Sarasota) renamed "Sarasota Classic Car Museum".
  • 4 - Titanic: The Exhibition (Orlando) opens.
  • 5 - Busch Gardens (Tampa) closes Monorail ride.
  • 5/1 - Terror on Church Street (Orlando) closes. (Moves and reopens for a time as part of Church Street Station).
  • 5/28 - Universal Studios Islands of Adventure (Orlando) Grand opening.
  • 6/13 - Sunken Gardens (St. Petersburg) closed. (Reopens later as city park).
  • 6/18 - Gwazi (dual tracked wooden roller coaster) opens at Busch Gardens (Tampa).
2000
  • Cypress Knee Museum (Palmdale) closes following a break-in.
  • Storm Force and Flying Unicorn rides open at Islands of Adventure (Orlando).
  • SmartParks takes over management of Silver Springs (Silver Springs).
  • 3 - Guinness World Records Experience (Orlando) opens.
  • 5 - Kraken floorless supercoaster opens at SeaWorld (Orlando).
  • 5/5 - Gulf World (Panama City Beach) opens a $6.3 million addition including a new, 2,000 seat dolphin show stadium.
  • 6/22 - King Henry's Feast (Orlando) closes.
  • 7 - Sea World's Discovery Cove (Orlando) opens.
2001
  • Walt Disney World celebrates 100 Years of Magic for Walt's 100th Birthday.
  • Swiftmud (Southwest Florida Water Management District) buys the Weeki Wachee spring and surrounding land. Weeki Wachee park continues operation under lease.
  • 2 - Mystery Funhouse (Orlando) closes.
  • 2/5 - The Holy Land Experience (Orlando) opens.
  • 9/11 - Orlando's theme parks close for the day following the morning terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center.
2002
  • Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista).
  • Palace Entertainment takes over management of Silver Springs (Silver Springs).
  • 2 - Lake Wales Amphitheatre (former site of the Black Hills Passion Play) reopens with the Life of Christ Passion Play from Tennessee.
  • 4/26 - Guinness World Records Experience (Orlando) closed.
  • 7/31 - The International Museum of Cartoon Art (Boca Raton) closes, plans move back to NYC.
  • 11/3 - Parrot Jungle (Miami) closes its original Pinecrest neighborhood location to move to Watson Island.
2003
  • Silver Springs (Silver Springs) adds carousel and historical museum.
  • Mission Space opens at Epcot in Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista).
  • Bear Archery sells the The Fred Bear Museum (Gainesville) collection to Bass Pro Shops. Museum closes.
  • 1/16 - Hard Rock Vault grand opening (Orlando).
  • 4/10 - Cypress Gardens (Winter Haven) suddenly announces park to close on 4/13/2003.
  • 4/26 - Contents of closed Klassix Auto Museum (Daytona Beach) auctioned off.
  • 6/28 - Parrot Jungle Island (Miami), opens in new location.
  • 7/9 - Graves Museum of Archeology and Natural History (Dania Beach) goes into bankruptcy (Chapter 11).
  • 8 - The owners of Weeki Wachee (Weeki Wachee) transfer the park's lease to the City of Weeki Wachee.
  • 12/31 - Florida Splendid China (Kissimmee) last day of operation.
2004
  • 5/21 - Revenge of the Mummy opens at Universal Studios Florida (Orlando).
  • 8/13 - Hurricane Charley crosses Central Florida on Friday the 13th, closing Orlando's theme parks for the day and setting back the planned re-opening day for Cypress Gardens. The Lake Wales Amphitheatre is severely damaged, preventing the later seasonal return of the Life of Christ Passion Play. Hurricanes Frances and Jean also hit the area later this year, closing the parks again and doing further damage.
  • 8/13 - Wannado City (Sunrise) opens in the Sawgrass Mills mall.
  • 9/5 - Last day of operation for Miracle Strip Amusement Park (Panama City Beach).
  • 9/28 - Hard Rock Vault suddenly closed (Orlando).
  • 11/26 - Cypress Gardens finally re-opens under new ownership as Cypress Gardens Adventure Park (Winter Haven).
  • 12/9 - Auction to sell off all assets of Florida Splendid China Theme Park (Kissimmee) begins.
2005
  • The Teddy Bear Museum of Naples (Naples) closes.
  • 2/14 - The Ocean Opry (Panama City Beach) site purchased by a developer with plans to demolish the theatre at the end of the season to make way for a commercial development. Last show was Aug. 6th.
  • 5 - SheiKra diving coaster opens at Busch Gardens (Tampa).
  • 9/5 - Last day of operation for Water Mania waterpark (Kissimmee).
  • 10 - Xanadu: Home of the Future (Kissimmee) finally demolished.
2006
  • 4/2 - Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame (Hernando) closes. Baseball exhibits are moved to Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg).
  • 6 - The original oceanarium structure at Marineland (Marineland) is demolished (although the attraction remains open with an ecotourism emphasis).
  • 8 - Meg Crofton becomes first woman named President of the Walt Disney World Resort (Lake Buena Vista).
  • 9/11 - Cypress Gardens Adventure Park's (Winter Haven) parent company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to a failure to settle hurricane damage claims totaling more than $30 Million with the park's insurance company. The park remains open.
  • 10 - Busch Gardens (Tampa) closes the Python roller coaster after 30 years of operation.
  • 11 - Skull Kingdom (Orlando) closes.
  • 11/6 - Gatorland's (Kissimmee) main entrance and gift shop are destroyed by a fire that breaks out in the early morning hours before the park has opened for the day.
2007
  • Construction begins on a visitor center for proposed Safari Wild attraction (Lakeland), unfortunately without permits.
  • 2/12 - Mortal remains of Skull Kingdom (Orlando) auctioned off.
  • 3/5 - Busch Entertainment announces a new waterpark, Aquatica, to be built near SeaWorld (Orlando).
  • 6 - Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) acquires The Holy Land Experience theme park (Orlando).
  • 7/1 - Daytona USA (Daytona Beach) renamed the Daytona 500 Experience.
2008
  • 1/8 - Work on Safari Wild (Lakeland) proposed attraction halted by a Polk County stop-work order. Polk County eventually relents but legal challenges continue.
  • 4 - SeaWorld's Aquatica water park (Orlando) opens.
  • 9/28 - Announced closing date for all Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista) Pleasure Island nightclubs including 8 Trax, The Adventurer's Club, Mannequins Dance Palace, BET Sound-Stage Club, Motion and The Comedy Warehouse.
  • 11/8 - Weeki Wachee Springs becomes a state park.
  • 11/17 - Cypress Gardens Adventure Park (Winter Haven) closes with plans to reopen in March 2009 without rides and animal attractions under Land South Holdings.
2009
  • 8 - The Zoo of Northwest Florida (Gulf Breeze) closes due to financial problems in the wake of Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis.
  • 9/23 - Cypress Gardens (Winter Haven) closes, again. Land South Holdings looks for a new buyer.
  • 12 - Animal Park Inc. sells the shuttered Zoo of Northwest Florida (Gulf Breeze) to Eric Mogensen, owner of Reston Zoo and Virginia Safari Park.
2010
  • 1/7 - Merlin Entertainments Group aquires the land lease and development rights to Cypress Gardens (Winter Haven). Plans to turn the park into a Florida Legoland.
  • 2/17 - The Zoo of Northwest Florida (Gulf Breeze) reopens as The Gulf Breeze Zoo.
  • 6/16 - Grand Opening Celebration for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter area at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure Theme Park (Orlando).
  • 8/14 - U.S. Air Force Space & Missile History Center (Cape Canaveral) opens.
  • 11/5 - The Daytona 500 Experience Museum (Daytona Beach) final day of operation.
  • 11/9 - The Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission refuses to allow development of the proposed Safari Wild (Lakeland) animal attraction, ending the project.
2011
  • 1/1 - Fire breaks out at the Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure Theme Park (Orlando).
  • 1/2 - Last day of operation for Wannado City (Sunrise).
  • 1/3 - The Georgia Aquarium announces its acquisition of Marineland of Florida (Marineland).
  • 6/15 - Death of Miami Serpentarium founder Bill Haast at the age of 100, in Punta Gorda from natural causes.
  • 10/15 - Official opening day of Legoland Florida (formerly Cypress Gardens, Winter Haven).
2012
  • 1/2 - Final day of operation for the Jaws attraction at Universal Studios Florida (Orlando).
  • 1/16 - Famed cypress tree "The Senator," estimated to be 3,500 years old and the main attraction at Big Tree Park (Longwood), burns down.
  • 11/29 - HMS Bounty replica (at one time exhibited in St. Petersburg) sinks approximately 90 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC, due to Hurricane Sandy.
  • 12 - The "New Fantasyland" opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Theme Park (Lake Buena Vista).
2013
  • 4 - Everglades Wonder Gardens (Bonita Springs) closes, the park and its animals are sold seperately.
  • 6 - Everglades Wonder Gardens (Bonita Springs) reopened by new owner John Brady as a botanical gardens.
  • 10/1 - The former Silver Springs attraction opens for the first time as Silver Springs State Park.
2014
  • 1/1 - Scheduled closing of Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction (Kissimmee).

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