Tropical Wonderland

by Carly
(Titusville, Florida)

While I missed actually being able to go to this park while it was open, I live around the corner from where it used to be.

Before the property was... how can I put this nicely... accosted by a local developer, my brothers and I used to go tromping in the woods where the park used to be.

Up until the bulldozers and other implements of destruction arrived, the tracks and little trains were still there, rusting away (a shame I never followed through on "one day I'm going to haul one of these things out of here and fix it up!").

The ferris wheel sat as a lonely oxidized sentinel in an open spot in the thick woods. Remains of cages dotted the pathways, an old rickety bridge crossed a moat onto an island with more cage remains.

As of right now, there is still an old A-frame building sitting on US-1 that used to be the reptile house... my grandfather worked there when they first moved to the area from south Florida. According to him, after the park closed, there were flocks of parrots still in the area, and while I don't personally know anyone who has had a sighting in the past several years, before the Walgreens on the corner of S.R. 50 and U.S. 1 was built, there was a business that did bus repairs on the site. (This is adjacent to the property that Tropical Wonderland was on) My mother was working dispatch for county Fire and Ambulance, animal control dispatch was in the same building.

This business kept a refrigerator outside for employees to put their lunches in. On a regular basis, they would call animal control to let them know that the monkeys were back, stealing lunches out of the refrigerator. I had friends who lived along the back edge of the old park, and from time to time, they would spot monkeys eating oranges from their trees.

Anyway, now we've got a self-storage building on part of the old Tropical Wonderland property, and they've moved the implements of destruction back onto the other half of the property. Who knows what they're going to put in now, or if they'll knock it all down and let it sit for 10 years like they did before the storage units went in.

If I had won the lottery I would have bought it and reopened it, even if just as a botanical/wildlife park... oh well...

Comments for Tropical Wonderland

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Jun 19, 2018
Comments Before May 22, 2014
by: Anonymous

May 22, 2014
Tropical Wonderland TV Commercial
by: Blair Davidson

Our family was picked to be the "happy family" featured visiting the park during filming for their television commercial.

The commercial featured my brother and sister,Blake and Kristen, and myself, Blair. Our mother, Esther Davidson was also in the film. We were shown enjoying the rides and generally having fun at the theme park.

I would love to see a copy of that original commercial again if anyone has access please post a response.

Thanks, Blair Davidson

May 05, 2014
I worked at Tropical Wonderland
by: Terry

I grew up in Titusville and while on summer break from Brevard Community College I worked at Tropical Wonderland in the summer of 1971 when it first opened. I drove the jungle train and the jungle boat and I helped on the mechanical rides. I actually got hurt while operating a swing gym ride and spent several days in the hospital. That experience gave me lasting memories of Tropical Wonderland! And I remember seeing Johnny W. once or twice when he would make appearances for sign autographs for visitors. I don't get to Titusville often these days but when I do and I drive by the site it brings back many interesting memories.

Dec 29, 2013
tropical wonderland
by: john Rafferty

Hello. In the early 1970s my mother had a pet monkey..we lived in Rockledge not far from the park. Mom decided to take the monkey there..we met Johnny and he showed us around a bit...every time I drive by the A frame building I think of when I met Tarzan.

Sep 18, 2013
Tropical Wonderland
by: Karen

To Chris S, commenter:

Tropical Wonderland/Florida Wonderland was never Six Gun Territory. Six Gun Territory was near Ocala, West of Silver Springs.

Sep 08, 2013
by: Chris C.

In the early sixties, before it became Jungle Land, the place was called "Six-Gun Territory". Obviously, it was an old west themed attraction, complete with shootouts in the street. Sometimes TV stars would make appearances there. I went to see Michael Landon (Little Joe from Bonanza). He did a five or ten minute presentation, fired off some shots from his six-gun, and gave us all an autographed picture.
Later on, my parents became friends with Johnny Weismuller when he came to Florida to open Jungle Land. Johnny did spend a lot of time in bars, most notably "The Cork" on Merritt Island, and could be persuaded to do his Tarzan yell.

Aug 24, 2013
Thanks for the memories
by: Linda P

Thank you for the information on Tropical Wonderland. So many people just look at me when I tell them about the tourist attraction and that it was associated at least by name to Johnnie Weismuller of Tarzan fame.
Jun 20, 2013
I miss old Florida
by: Clarke

My cousins lived in Titusville, I lived in Winter Park. We would spend time during the summers at each others houses. I remember going to Wonderland after it closed with my cousin to explore the grounds. I mostly remember the wild west part of it and the mildewed manikins. We collected the little tin sheriffs badges.

It was a very different and wonderful world then, before the Rust Belt" belt flight to the state in the `70s. Before all the regulations on everything were imposed and before developers raped the landscape.

I fondly remember weekend fish fries on the side of the highway. A big black kettle boiling oil to fry locally caught fish and hush puppies. I remember shrimping all night on the wooden Titusville Pier. Catching fish off of sand bars and having our bait stolen by blowfish. Trying to get a peek at movies on the Moon Drive In screen, getting fresh doughnuts from the guy with the little doughnut hut.

The attraction I miss most was Sanlando Springs up around Castleberry. It looked like my vision of paradise. Sadly it was sold to a developer in the 1970s while I was in the Marine corps.

It was indeed a wonderful place to grow up pre 1975.


Clarke, thanks a lot for sharing your memories. I remember Sanlando Springs also, and feel sad that it's nothing more than a memory now. I used to hear great stories about Johnny Weismuller back in the days of Tarzan Land or Tropical Gardens. It was reported he would give his Tarzan yell at Royal Oak Country Club in exchange for a drink.

Nov 14, 2012
by: Jack Truett

I was just a kid when this was open but I drove past it for many years after it closed and had such a love for the place for some reason.

I have vague memories of the monkeys and the snake farm. There used to be a huge cement mermaid in the parking lot area I believe. I did ride the train but it was a very rainy day and I saw very little when I was in the park. I kept hoping they would reopen the place but it never did. The pics on Facebook are fun to look at I'm glad others remember it fondly too.


Jun 09, 2012
It was the days we grew up in.....
by: Tom Powers

..Wow,,,I will say this Carly..All you reported on was right on target...I remember it all..Its good to look back on our day and see which way it went.....I was very glad of the childhood and being raised in Titusville...Theres only a few of that will know that feeling of growin up on the SPACE COAST CAPITAL.....Thx for all the info and for the Memories as like Leave it to Beaver days.......

Sep 06, 2011
If I Could Turn Back Time!
by: Greg May

Dear Carly:

Thank you for your remembrances of Tropical Wonderland! This was a tourist attraction that tried to have a "little bit of everything". How lucky you were to go romping through the property! With my imagination, I culd just imagine what this kid would have dreamt! Did you know they actually had a trained dolphin performing in a pen across US 1 in the Indian River? When I was a boy my dad took me fishing over at Titusville and there was an old sign advertising Tropical Wonderland with a dolphin wearing a caps'n'gown that said "Educated Porpoise".

Sep 05, 2011
Tropical Wonderland
by: Mike Miller


Thanks for sharing your memories of Tropical Wonderland. I first visited Brevard County in the 1960's and that place was still fresh in the mind of many locals.

There were stories that it was originally owned by Johnny Weismuller, the Tarzan of the movies, and that he used to hang out at Royal Oak Country Club. For a free drink, he would do his Tarzan call for local patrons and tourists.

Jun 19, 2018
Comments Before April 4, 2018
by: Mike Miller

Apr 04, 2018
by: Danny Allen

Worked there in 1965-66 while attending Brevard jr College in Cocoa. Wonderful memories, though not so much for animals who, looking back , were obviously mistreated. The Chimpanzee was addicted to Cigarettes and would grab tourists who got to close and not let go till a cigarette was handed to him. the lion was blind and the elephant ?? well...the elephant got loose early one morning and wondered onto Highway 1 and was hit and killed by a semi truck , the driver of which admitted that if he hadn't thought he was hallucinating might have been able to stop in time. the crew was mostly a wonderful bunch from the more seedy side who belonged in a novel that I wish I had the skills to write....A wonderful eye awakening experience.

Mar 20, 2018
Family Connection
by: Kayline Pruett

I had never gone to this park because it was closed way before I was born, but when i was looking around on the web for some information about one of my relatives, I found out that this relative was the owner of this park. He was my great uncle, named Herbert Clark Kirk. Though I never got to meet him, I've heard lots good things about him, and found this to be one of his many successes.

Oct 01, 2017
Johnny Weissmuller pools
by: Anonymous

Some Johnny Weissmuller endorsed swimming pools were built
around the country. Aunt and Uncle had a pool built in late 60's or early 70's in
South St Louis.found that odd .

Mar 04, 2017
Mischievous Kids
by: Bryan Barrett

Found this page while looking for articles on "Boys Paradise", also known as "The Swings"... part of the Addison canal area now part of "The Enchanted Forest" just a little ways southwest through the woods from where Tropical Wonderland used to be.

While growing up in Titusville, I had a friend that went by the name of "Rip" (how he got that name is a story in itself). As daring, but dumb, 10 year-olds we would get into all kinds of adventurous mischief together.

One day in 1974 he talked me into going to (by then abandoned) Tropical Wonderland. What fun we did find! The train still worked (after we found the electrical switch to turn it on) and the gift shop had a dog door we could crawl through to get inside to help ourselves to all kinds of great stuff.

I remember walking down Highway 50 with boxes of Leopard Skin cloths, Orange Blossom perfume & Rip wearing his newly acquired Tarzan show safari hat! My 5th grade teacher thought I was SO SWEET for giving her perfume!

If we hadn't been greedy & gone back for more we wouldn't have been arrested... we came out of the gift shop with our boxes the next day and walked right into the owner living on site. The police told us they wished he would secure the building better because too many kids had found out they could just walk in.

Thanks for the memories...

Feb 25, 2017
by: Larry P.

We lived in this area during the period this was open, although we never went to it. When we bought our house this area was still called Indian River City. It was later incorporated into Titusville. One sad thing that has not been mentioned is that one evening a small elephant from the park escaped and was struck and killed by a semi on US-1.

Dec 06, 2016
Johnny Weissmuller did live in Titusville, Florida
by: Christopher Thomas

In 1973 when my father Russell Thomas purchased a home in Titusville, he was given newspaper articles and pictures of Johnny Weissmuller at the home in the 60's. His large hand print was near the pool in the outside shower. My family sold the home at 4506 Hickory Hill blvd in 2014. My father told me that Weissmuller had leased the property and lived there with his wife for several years. Additionally, My grand parents spent the winters in a trailer park in the late 70s and early 80s on the northern corner of Rt 1 and Rt 50. They did report seeing wild monkeys from time to time in the area from the defunct jungle park across the street that Weissmuller had been involved with.

Oct 31, 2016
Back in 1965
by: Anonymous

My brother found this and I so remember back in 1965 when I lived in Whispering Pines Trailer Park nearby. I think in the fall of that year there was a club at the Wonderland. I think I remember music and dancing, maybe a bar too? It certainly has had a history!

Jul 31, 2016
Zoo in Titusville
by: Alice C.

I have been told that there was a zoo in Titusville that caught fire and was destroyed. I can't find the name anywhere. Does anyone know?

Dec 31, 2015
Late 60's, early 70's
by: Anonymous

My step father worked there in the late 80's and maybe the early 70's, not sure of the exact dates. I remember the petting zoo with the ostrich (Charley Brown?), Also Bobo and Blossom the chimps, the sun bears and many other critters.

Oct 28, 2015
Marine Life Park
by: Mike

There was another attraction called Marine Life Park on the river across from Tropical Wonderland.

They had porpoise shows, a manatee you could pet along with rays and a sea turtle. Years later a replica of one of Columbus ships that was a tourist trap at that spot. Now there are condos on the site.

Aug 18, 2015
Daily shoot outs also Michael Landon
by: Bet

I remember visiting there back around 1962-'63 when the place was known as "Florida Wonderland." The name as it appears in comments looked to have changed a few times.

Back when dad took us there on some weekends, (& he also worked at the Cape thru the week), we had stood in line to meet & greet Michael Landon. He gave us 8x10 autographed photos of himself, gave handshakes with a smile. I am not sure if he was a part in those western shoot outs but the street shows were good, like old western movies from Hollywood.

There was a crooked house we went thru on the ground that had funny mirrors inside. We never were there when Johnny W. showed up but I would have loved hearing one of his 'Tarzan' yells' in person. I don't know what ever became of our photos but I think they would be worth something now. I just wished I had mine to show.

ul 28, 2015
He lived on Hickory Hill Blvd.
by: Anonymous

Johnny Weissmuller did live in Titusville on Hickory Hill Blvd. Not the first house on the left though. It was the fourth house on the left. I don't really know much more, but his handprint is in the concrete in the back yard.

Jul 27, 2015
Johnny Weissmuller did live in Titusville
by: Anonymous

Growing up in Titusville I remember hearing the Tarzan yell he had quite a set of lungs even into his old age

Jul 26, 2015
Johnny Weismueller lived in Titusville?
by: Ron

Does anyone know about this? I was told that he lived on Hickory Hill Rd....possibly the 1st house on the left as you enter Hickory Hill Rd. from Cheney Hwy(Rt. 50). True?

Apr 08, 2015
by: Greg

I remember the mermaid, the monkey and so much more. My first arrest was for stealing old moth bitten animal skins from the ruins of the restaurant at 11 years old, I even got probation.

We spent all our time in there as boys, our playground! Haven't been to Titusville since then, I'm gonna make a trip this year!

Mar 30, 2015
I remember...
by: Sandy

I grew up about 1/2 mile behind Tropical Wonderland. I remember seeing monkeys in the trees after the park closed. I remember walking in the trees looking at the "moat" for the boat ride. Of course, it was full of debris and kind of eerie looking. I also recall a huge concrete mermaid that I thought was in the parking lot. Does anyone else remember her?

Jul 21, 2014
I never got to visit
by: Scott Jensen

I love this article. I hope more people come out with more and more information and stories.

I was not around when the park was open but that didn't stop me from being very intrigued that our little town had such a past with Florida Wonderland and the Marine Life park across from it.
I have spend a very long time collecting pictures and information I could find and then building a website and a Facebook page so it would not be forgotten.

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