BREVARD HISTORY: Tropical Wonderland Park In Titusville Was Endorsed By Tarzan Actor Johnny Weissmuller

By  //  November 18, 2018

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

nature-centered themed park built in 1959

Built in 1959 as "Florida Wonderland," the park became known as "Tropical Wonderland" in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the "Tarzan" movies, endorsed the park.

Built in 1959 in Titusville as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, above right, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park. (Florida/Tropical Wonderland Facebook image)

BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – Located on U.S. 1 just south of State Road 50 in Titusville, Tropical Wonderland was a 50-acre, nature-centered themed park endorsed by Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller.

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the Tarzan movies, endorsed the park.

The park was originally opened by Herbert Clay “H.C.” Kirk and featured an old west and Indian village area, electric boat rides, train ride and many types of animals. Monkey Island was a favorite of visitors from all over.

The old western town was called Dodge City and patterned after the popular TV series of the time “Gunsmoke.” The characters included Marshal Dillon, Miss Kitty, and a Long Branch Saloon that served non-alcoholic drinks. Every hour, the town would stage a “hanging.”

According to Cliff Rouse, an actor who played the “Apache Kid” when the park was in its prime, would attract 30,000 to 50,000 guests a day.

The park has an economic downturn in the late 1960s, but with the name of the park changed to Tropical Wonderland and Weissmuller lending his name in support, the facility made a recovery as “Tarzan” made appearances to sign autographs and pictures – and this brought new positive buzz to the park.

During this time, the park featured amusement rides, food, gift shops and other fun activities. Things were looking up until Weissmuller pulled his support because of alleged animal treatment issues.

The park was originally opened by Herbert Clay “H.C.” Kirk and his wife, above, and featured an old west and Indian village area, electric boat rides, train ride and many types of animals. Monkey Island was a favorite of visitors from all over. After H.C. Kirk’s death in 1978, ownership of the property was passed to his son, Bob. (Image courtesy of Florida/Tropical Wonderland Facebook page)

BREVARD HISTORY: JT&KW Railroad, Indian River Steamboat Wharf Expanded Export of Indian River CitrusRelated Story:
BREVARD HISTORY: JT&KW Railroad, Indian River Steamboat Wharf Expanded Export of Indian River Citrus

“No one knows if this was true or not, or if Weissmuller was just not happy, but there are old articles with so many animal escapes over the years it was open, and even when it closed down,” said an article in bigfloridacountry.com.

The park featured a variety of wild animals, including “Wanda” the elephant who escaped onto U.S. 1 one night, where she was struck and killed by a truck.

The almost now forgotten Florida Wonderland park was located in an area then known as Indian River City and the locals still say there is a colony of monkeys living in the surrounding woods.

With Walt Disney World’s opening in October of 1971, Tropical Wonderland closed its doors for good in 1973 and all that remains after more than 45 years are old canals, a chalet that once housed a reptile zoo and a few patches of concrete and tile floors.

After H.C. Kirk’s death in 1978, ownership of the property was passed to his son, Bob.

Another attraction, Marine Life Park, was a short-lived park built across the street on U.S. 1 from the Tropical Wonderland Park and closed around 1967. The marine park had porpoise shows, a manatee you could pet, along with rays and sea turtles. The park also included a petting zoo, boat ride and amusement rides.

Kennedy Point Yacht Club & Marina is currently located at the former Marine Life Park.

(All images are courtesy of the Florida/Tropical Wonderland Facebook page)

Florida Fish and Wildlife To Remove Monkeys From Silver Springs Park After Report They Carry Deadly HerpesRelated Story:
Florida Fish and Wildlife To Remove Monkeys From Silver Springs Park After Report They Carry Deadly Herpes
dolphins-500

Marine Life Park was a short-lived park across the street on U.S. 1 from Tropical Wonderland. They had porpoise shows, a manatee you could pet along with rays and a sea turtle.

marine-pen-500

Marine Life Park was a short-lived park across the street on U.S. 1 from Tropical Wonderland. They had porpoise shows, a manatee you could pet along with rays and a sea turtle.

orange-sign-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

brochure-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

tropical-wonderland-titusville-map

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

monkey-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

old-snake-building-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

train-track-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

western-town-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

snake-building-today

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

fox-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

mule-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

spinning-sign-500

Built in 1959 as “Florida Wonderland,” the park became known as “Tropical Wonderland” in 1971 when Johnny Weissmuller, star of the “Tarzan” movies, endorsed the park.

CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS


Click here to contribute your news or announcements Free