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Tourism by the 1960s

By the 1960s, the demands of tourists visiting Florida had evolved. Instead of travelling hundreds of miles to see exotic animals and the natural beauty of Florida, many tourists came to the state to experience new forms of entertainment. In order to stay afloat, many of the older roadside attractions attempted to accommodate the new demands by building roller coasters and creating new shows. Other roadside attractions closed when real estate developers purchased their properties to construct neighborhoods and expressways.

Monorail at the Miami Seaquarium (1967)

Monorail at the Miami Seaquarium (1967)

Image Number: C671264

Busch Gardens hospitality house: Tampa, Florida (1960)

Busch Gardens hospitality house: Tampa, Florida (1960)

Image Number: C033012

View of the monorail at Busch Gardens: Tampa, Florida (1967)

View of the monorail at Busch Gardens: Tampa, Florida (1967)

Image Number: C671508

Entrance to the Fountain of youth: Saint Augustine, Florida

Entrance to the Fountain of youth: Saint Augustine, Florida

Image Number: PC5403h

View of the monorail car at Rainbow Springs: Dunnellon, Florida (1968)

View of the monorail car at Rainbow Springs: Dunnellon, Florida (1968)

Image Number: C672150

Zebras from Africa behind the old Swiss style house at Busch Gardens (1965)

Zebras from Africa behind the old Swiss style house at Busch Gardens (1965)

Image Number: C650006

Charles Bloyd with his children during their visit to the Six Gun Territory tourist attraction: Ocala, Florida (1964)

Charles Bloyd with his children during their visit to the Six Gun Territory tourist attraction: Ocala, Florida (1964)

Image Number: PR20347

Six Gun Territory was a 200-acre western-themed tourist attraction located on State Highway 40 (Silver Springs Blvd) in Ocala, Florida. Designed by Russell Pearson (who also designed Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO and Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley, NC), it opened on February 2, 1963, and remained opened until 1984. Visitors arrived at the visitor center--a replica Southern Railway station--and rode a wood-burning, narrow-gauge engine to a mock Western town to see gunfights (pictured here), saloon dances, an "Indian village," and various amusement rides.

Visitors cross Rainbow Bridge to reach Fairyland: Tampa, Florida

Visitors cross Rainbow Bridge to reach Fairyland: Tampa, Florida

Image Number: PC5719

Accompanying note "Rainbow Bridge, adorns the main entrance to Tampa's Fairyland. Here you will enjoy a visit with Mother Goose and her family of storybook characters, such as Humpty Dumpty, the Three Little Pigs, the Old Woman who lived in a Shoe. You'll thrill to the antics of Sheena, the trained elephant, and her chimpanzee friend. A short distance away is Safety Village, USA, where youngsters learn traffic safety under the supervision of the Tampa police and firemen. Fairyland is located in picturesque Lowry Park, Tampa, Florida."

An animal trainer for Sea World riding two dolphins: Orlando, Florida

An animal trainer for Sea World riding two dolphins: Orlando, Florida

Image Number: C682907

Gunfight show at the Six Gun Territory tourist attraction: Ocala, Florida

Gunfight show at the Six Gun Territory tourist attraction: Ocala, Florida

Image Number: PC3306

Six Gun Territory was a 200-acre western-themed tourist attraction located on State Highway 40 (Silver Springs Blvd) in Ocala, Florida. Designed by Russell Pearson (who also designed Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO and Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley, NC), it opened on February 2, 1963, and remained opened until 1984. Visitors arrived at the visitor center--a replica Southern Railway station--and rode a wood-burning, narrow-gauge engine to a mock Western town to see gunfights (pictured here), saloon dances, an "Indian village," and various amusement rides.

"Crow's nest" amusement ride at Pirate's World: Dania, Florida (1967)

"Crow's nest" amusement ride at Pirate's World: Dania, Florida (1967)

Image Number: C670999

Florida Tourism Enters the Age of Theme Parks

New attractions geared more toward entertainment also popped up in Florida during the 1960s. In 1963, Six Gun Territory opened in Ocala, Florida, to tourists wanting to experience a Wild West town. Complete with saloons, gun fights, stage coach rides, and a sky-ride, tourists initially loved the attraction. As a result of the opening of Disney World and other setbacks, the attraction closed in 1984. In 1967, Pirate's World in Dania, Florida, opened to tourists in search of roller coaster rides, arcades, and pirate ships. Although the attraction appealed to tourists' evolving tastes, Pirate's World closed in 1975, and the property became a townhouse development.