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Offbeat Places to Visit in Florida
The state of Florida is already a major travel destination in the United States. The state's sunny weather, exotic locales and vacation destinations such as Walt Disney World attract millions of Americans each year to travel there on their vacations.
For those who have seen the state's more mainstream attractions and those who like some weirdness in their travel plans and destinations, there are a number of offbeat and downright bizarre things to be seen in the state, as there are in any state.
This is a list of nine of my personal favorite weird and offbeat attractions that can be found in Florida. This list is by no means exhaustive and there are a number of other weird things to be found for those who are willing to look for them.
The Bubble Room
Playing heavily on a love of nostalgic memorabilia, the Bubble Room is one of Florida's most offbeat and entertaining restaurants. As with most novelty restaurants, the food may not serve as the main attraction, but the atmosphere is a lot of fun for the entire family. The cuisine itself goes for an Americana-type feel to the whole picture and eating here feels like stepping into another time and place entirely. The Bubble Room is located at 15001 Captiva Drive, Captiva Island, Florida.
In Cassadaga, Florida you will find a real spiritualist camp with classes, tours and meetings with real mediums. The town is essentially built around spiritualism and there are quirky signs such as "ghost crossings" in town. For curiosity seekers, or those that see a high kitsch value in it, a visit to Cassadaga could be a lot of fun. The town is close to the Orlando/Daytona Beach area, so it is easy to stop over while taking a vacation to a more traditional destination.
Celebration, Florida was originally envisioned by Walt Disney as the "town of the future" and was once completely owned by Disney. The town still has a kind of artificial "perfect little town" feel to it, as well as several remnants of the former control that Disney had on the community. It is worth a look for curiosity seekers traveling to Florida for vacation, or new residents interested in seeing something different.
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Wreck Bar Mermaid Show
At the Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale, you can get a show of mermaids swimming in a tank behind you as you enjoy your drinks. As far as novelties go, this beats your dank standard corner bar any day. The video pretty much says it all. The bar is located at 1140 Seabreeze Boulevard.
The novelty of Monkey Jungle is that human beings are "caged" on set paths while they observe monkeys playing around in their free habitat. That was the design of the place, when an animal behaviorist brought a group of monkeys to the Florida Everglades but could not bear to cage them. It could be a great place to take children, while visiting some of Miami's more traditional attractions. Monkey Jungle is located at 14805 Southwest 216th St., Miami, Florida
Jackie Gleason's Grave
There is an irony to the fact that Honeymooners' star Jackie Gleason has such an elaborate resting place that you wouldn't know who was resting there unless you went and looked at the tomb itself, where his name is engraved on the sarcophagus. Gleason's catchphrase "Away We Go" is also engraved outside and fans can pay their respects at 11411 NW 21st Street in Miami, Florida.
The Skunk Ape Research Headquarters
The Skunk Ape is to Florida what Bigfoot is to the pacific northwest. Dave Shealy has become obsessed enough with the Skunk Ape, and proving that he is real, to create this research center, complete with a gift shop. Fans of cryptids can check it out and fans of the unusual can get another look at Florida's weirder side. It is located at 40904 Tamiami Trail, Orchopee, Florida.
McDonald's European Cafe
If you are visiting Orlando, Florida, then you have to eat, and if you have to eat, you might as well visit McDonald's European Cafe. Billed as "The World's Finest McDonald's," the place has a normal McDonald's menu and a gourmet cafe menu but with a cafe-style atmosphere, complete with a pool table and other games. It is located at 7344 W Sand Lake Road.
American Police Hall of Fame and Museum
A museum dedicated completely to law enforcement, you will find an entire history of the profession here. You will also find a memorial to officers killed in the line of duty. The museum's features can be both solemn and quirky and a shooting range is even included. It is located at 6350 Horizon Drive just south of Titusville, Florida.