Home‎ > ‎

Florida Roadside Kitsch

Debary Christmas Dinosaur Debary Florida Roadside Kitsch Copyright Phillip Lott Phillip's Natural WorldThe Debary Dinosaur
Kitsch:  Something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.  Humm. . . yeah, I think that's about right.  I do love the Debary Dinosaur and how his outfits change with the seasons.  To see him up close take Highway 17-92 south out of Debary and you can't miss him.  He's on the south side of Highway 17-92.
Debary Dinosaur Dressed for Christmas Roadside Kitsch in Florida
Someone went to a great deal of trouble to create this outfit for the 15-foot tall dinosaur.Growling Debary Dinosaur dressed for the holidays Debary Florida Copyright Phillip Lott Phillip's Natural World
Phillip with Debary Dinosaur decked out for Christmas 2015
Spring Hill Pink Dinosaur
For an even bigger example of classic Florida Roadside Kitsch check out the Spring Hill Pink Dinosaur.  In these images I edited out all the power lines, billboards, and other junk that has sprung up around the pink dinosaur in recent years.
Phillip with Spring Hill Florida Pink Dinosaur c1950s Roadside Kitsch
I am about 6 feet tall so the Pink Dinosaur in Spring Hill has to be nearly 20-feet tall (6 meters).
Spring Hill Florida Pink Dinosaur c1950s Roadside Kitsch Copyright Phillip Lott Phillip's Natural World
These classic 1950s era dinosaurs were erected all over Florida to attract tourists to roadside attractions. Most of the attractions are gone today but some of the dinosaurs remain. To see this excellently preserved specimen take Highway 19 north out of New Port Richey. He's on the west side of Highway 19. If you get to Weeki Wachee you've gone too far.
Spring Hill Florida Pink Dinosaur Roadside Kitsch Copyright Phillip Lott Phillip's Natural WorldEven this guy's feet are perfectly preserved. An ice cream shop sits behind him today.
Pink Dinosaur Feet Spring Hill Florida Roadside Kitsch
Weeki Wachee
Dinosaur Garage
Also on the west side of Highway 19 in Weeki Wachee is Harold's Auto which occupies an exceptionally well preserved example of 1950s pop architecture.
Weeki Wachee Dinosaur Garage Florida Roadside Kitsch
Weeki Wachee Dinosaur Garage Florida Roadside Kitsch Copyright Phillip Lott Phillip's Natural World
Weeki Wachee Dinosaur Garage Florida Roadside Kitsch
Monkey Jungle
In a few areas the old roadside attractions have somehow endured.  Sout
h of Miami is one such attraction, Monkey Jungle.  On a recent trip to The Everglades I saw the sign for Money Jungle and said I gotta check that out.  The attractions tag line was always "Where humans are caged and monkeys run wild."
Monkey Jungle Miami Florida 1950s era Roadside Attraction
Admittance cost a small fortune ($30 per person is the cheapest package) to walk through the cages and gardens.  The monkeys are indeed still wild and have little cups on chains that they drop from the top of the cages, begging for raisins and peanuts.  We found this most entertaining.
At Monkey Jungle the Humans are caged while the Monkeys roam free
The monkeys were kind of mesmerizing.  Watching them one could quickly see that they behave very much like humans.  There is always a bully, a leader, a Mom protecting her kids (below), etc.Baby Monkey at Monkey Jungle, Miami, Florida Roadside Kitsch
Explore Monkey Jungle Where Humans are Caged and Monkeys Run Wild
MTV
MOONMAN
The MTV Moonman famous from 1980s trademarking of MTV music videos still stands along I-4 in Sanford.  To see him up close get off at the Sanford Zoo exit (Hwy 17-92) and cross under I-4 (to the north side).
MTV Moonman Contemporary c1980s Roadside Kitsch in FloridaSeminary Giant Chicken
Florida isn't alone in preserving some roadside kitsch.  This giant chicken can be found along the west side of Highway 49 in Seminary, Mississippi, about 30 miles north of Hattiesburg.
Seminary Mississippi Giant Metal Chicken, Roadside Kitsch
Chasing Florida Rainbows
Of course I'd rather be chasing Florida rainbows, but occasionally I can't help but stop and snap a photo of some of the old cultural treasures that remain.  December - February are the best months to capture Florida rainbows as the low sun angle coupled with fast moving light showers off the Atlantic Ocean create these temporary shows through the winter.
Chasing Florida Rainbows, a favorite winter pastime in Florida.Below:  One of my best rainbow shots this season, at Lemon Bluff, on the St. Johns River near Osteen, Florida.  A double rainbow.
Phillip Double Rainbow December 2015 St. Johns River at Lemon Bluff
2015 Favorites

Favorite TV Shows Comedy:  Transgender (Amazon Prime),
VEEP (HBO), Silicon Valley (HBO)

Favorite TV Shows Drama:  Homeland (Showtime), 
Banshee (Cinemax), Mr. Robot (USA)

Favorite TV Shows (Reality):  Ink Master, Project Runway

Favorite Movies:  The Big Short, The Assassin

Favorite Book:  Empire of Cotton:  A Global History 
by Sven Beckert

Favorite Performances:  The cast of Veep (HBO)

Breakout Performance:  Julian Morris (Hand of God, Amazon Prime)

Favorite Foreign TV Show:  Secrets and Lies (starring Martin Henderson), 
Grantchester (Starring James Norton)

Favorite Classical:  Written on Skin by George Benjamin

Favorite Pop:  Björk Vulnicura

Comments