Florida’s Fourth Estate, the renowned source for all things Florida, is offering its readers a chance to discover hidden gems beyond the state’s famous theme parks and beaches. In a recent article, hosts Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden share their top five roadside attractions in the sunshine state, providing readers with a unique and offbeat perspective on Florida tourism.
Coming in at number five is Robert the Doll, an eerie and captivating figure that served as the inspiration for the infamous “Chucky” films. Robert the Doll has found his home in Key West, where visitors can experience the spine-chilling legend behind this peculiar doll. According to Austin, the doll’s origins trace back to a wealthy family in 1900, whose mistreatment of a servant may have resulted in a voodoo curse. Witnesses claim to have heard the child conversing with an unseen entity while alone with the doll, and peculiar incidents, such as objects being inexplicably overturned, have been attributed to Robert’s supernatural presence.
Moving on to number four on the list, we encounter Dinosaur World, located in Plant City. Gadsden fondly recalls her frequent visits to this prehistoric wonderland during her time in Tampa. With over 100 lifelike dinosaur replicas, Dinosaur World offers an immersive experience for both children and parents. Additionally, young adventurers can partake in the thrilling activity of searching for dinosaur eggs. As Gadsden emphasizes, the sight of the colossal dinosaur figures lining the facility’s exterior is impossible to miss for travelers on the popular I-4 highway.
Stepping into the third spot is the Fountain of Youth, a highly sought-after attraction in St. Augustine. According to Austin, this mythical spring, where Ponce de Leon allegedly discovered the secret to eternal youth, has captivated visitors for generations. Although the story of Ponce de Leon’s immortality remains a legend, the Fountain of Youth continues to draw tourists with its historical significance and allure.
Heading towards the second attraction, we find ourselves at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Spring Hill, a place that Austin enthusiastically endorses. The park’s uniqueness lies in its underwater mermaid shows, where performers showcase their aquatic talents in a natural spring. Austin praises the ingenuity of the park’s designer, who created innovative breathing devices that enabled the mermaids to remain submerged without the need for scuba gear. Visitors to Weeki Wachee can witness this mesmerizing spectacle from a 500-person amphitheater, peering through glass into the crystal-clear waters.
Finally, the top spot on the list belongs to Coral Castle, a captivating roadside attraction that has fascinated Gadsden. Built entirely from limestone, this architectural marvel stands as a testament to unrequited love. The castle’s creator, driven by heartache, erected various structures under the cover of darkness, resulting in an enigmatic masterpiece. Austin adds that the castle’s walls are colossal, and its designer even claimed to have unraveled the secrets behind the construction of the pyramids.
For those eager to delve deeper into these intriguing attractions, Florida’s Fourth Estate offers comprehensive coverage. Whether through their podcast or the website, readers can immerse themselves in detailed accounts of each location, gaining further insight into the rich history and captivating stories behind these roadside wonders.
In conclusion, Florida’s Fourth Estate provides a refreshing departure from the ordinary, guiding readers on a journey through Florida’s lesser-known but equally captivating roadside attractions. From the haunted presence of Robert the Doll to the magical allure of Weeki Wachee and the mysterious Coral Castle, these hidden gems offer a unique and unforgettable experience for those willing to venture beyond the state’s traditional tourist destinations.