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Ocala-based photographer MICHAEL WARREN was heading home from Reptile World when he decided to stop at Orange World in Kissimmee, Florida. "I love the cheesy touristy facades," says Warren. As he was photographing the giant orange exterior from the parking lot, this family exited the building. "Their enthusiasm for the oranges is why I still enjoy that photograph," he adds. Warren's own enthusiasm for the old-fashioned Florida tourist stop is not his alone. Many icons are already gone. To quote from www.lostparks.com, one of a multitude of sites dedicated to Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions: "Once upon a time, before the giant mouse ate Orlando and Interstate Highways were built to cattle chute the tourists directly into International Drive (aka Orlando), there was another Florida. It was sometime between Henry Ford's mass production of the Model-T, which made automobile touring commonplace, and Walt Disney's mass production of the tourist experience, which made the road trip a mere way to get there, instead of the there itself. It was the age of the roadside attraction. Tourist attractions have a way of springing up on the Florida roadside like wildflowers -- or litter: bright, shiny and full of hope to begin with, only to wither and die when they just can't quite sustain the magic. You will find no historical marker to mark their passing, no footnote in the history book, only the occasional exotic plant, or shopping center, or oddly named road. Memory soon dims and they are forgotten, lingering only as a trace of a reminiscence...and a largely uncharted chunk of the state's history." Fortunately, Orange World -- souvenir stand, gift shop and fruit store -- is still around. CONTACT: Carla Hotvedt at SILVER IMAGE® Photo Agency 352.373-5771 or carla@silverimagephotoagency.com
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