Ah, the wonders of Florida - the multi-billion dollar themeparks with their state-of-the-art animatronics, cutting edge technology, and rides, the orange groves, the beaches, the twenty-foot cement dinosaurs on the side of Interstate 4...
Wait...what was that?
Oh, yes. Dinosaur World, a mini-theme park dedicated to all things saurian, sits right smack dab in Central Florida, a half-spit away from its more technologically advanced cousins at Disney and Universal (and for about a quarter of the price of admission). Dinosaur World is one of the premiere examples of Florida Kitsch, in my humble opinion. Well, maybe not so unique...there are Dinosaur Worlds in Kentucky and Texas, too. Oh, and well-behaved pets on leashes are welcome, too.
Especially, evidently, at feeding time.
Did you know Florida has its own version of Big Foot? It's called the Skunk Ape (Floridians are just so darned descriptive in naming their crypto-beasties!), a big, smelly, bipedal creature that supposedly haunts the Everglades. You can learn all about it by visiting the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters in Ochopee. Honest.
We Floridians seem to be fond of oversized animals, as well as having a rather devious sense of black humor...as evidenced by the dinosaur gas station, located in Spring Hill. Fossil fuels, anyone?
Our taste runs to the macabre, as well, as indicated by the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum of Torture and Execution in Key West, and the grave of the original Flipper in Marathon.
Some of the best Florida kitschy attractions have gone the way of...well, the dinosaurs. Never again will we walk through miniature versions of The Great Wall, or pagodas at Splendid China, or gasp with mock horror at the zombies of Skull Kingdom.
Still, for a taste of kitsch, Florida still holds an extra-large mouthful.