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Seven Amazing Florida Locations to Spark Your Imagination and Wonder this Year

| Angela Naff |

While we live in a state that is well known for its sparkling water, amazing beaches, and vacation spots, there is more to our wonderful area. The amount of artists, musicians, and even those who curate amazing attractions is vast. Many locations you can visit with a day trip from our Suncoast community are sure to spark your imagination and your own creative juices. If you need to shake things up in the coming months, here is a great list of the quirkiest places to visit here in Florida to get those creative thoughts flowing.

Bok Tower (Lake Wales)

Bok Tower Gardens was Edward Bok’s gift to the American people. The property encompasses Iron Mountain, one of the highest points in Florida. The carillon tower was built atop the 295-foot high hill. One of the world’s finest carillons within the tower is a bell-based instrument and the heaviest of all musical instruments. The site also houses the world’s largest carillon library, with books, articles, recordings, music scores, slides, and photographs only on carillons.

Bok Towers Tampa
Courtesy of Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens is open 365 days a year from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., with last admission at 5:00 p.m. (the Gardens open at 12 p.m. on Christmas Day). The Visitor Center, Blue Palmetto Cafe, and Shop at Bok are open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Ed Leedskalnin’s Coral Castle (Miami)

The Coral Castle, originally dubbed Rock Gate Park by Leedskalnin, is perhaps the most mysterious of all the world’s self-built castles. After his heartbreak, Ed moved to the US and eventually to Florida, where he began working on his home and a great monument to lost love. Born in 1887 to a family of Latvian stone masons, the 5-foot 100-pound Ed used his inherited skills to move blocks of Oolitic Limestone (fossilized coral) over 25 feet tall and weighing over 30 tons. This makes some of the stones in Coral Castle taller than those in Stonehenge and heavier than the heaviest stone in the great pyramid of Giza.

The Coral Castle Museum is open Thursday-Sunday, 9 am-6 pm (last tour 5 pm)

Coral Castle Imagination
Courtesy of Coral Castle Museum

Whimzeyland (Safety Harbor)

Florida artists Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda have spent the last 20 or more years turning their home and neighboring properties into flamboyant works of art. Originally known simply as the “Bowling Ball House” for the (now over 500) painted bowling balls littering the yard in various formations. Pyramids, stacks, and walls of bowling balls adorn the grounds, surrounded by a dizzying landscape of color created by the other works of recycled art all around.

Imagination Whimzeyland
Photo Courtesy of Whimzeyland

You can now take a 90-minute guided tour of Whimzeyland, Safety Harbor Art and Music Center, and some other places that you didn’t know were a component of Whimzeyland!! 

Castle Imagination
Courtesy of Solomon’s Castle Website

Solomon’s Castle (Ona)

The sculptor Howard Solomon started building the castle in 1974 out of aluminum printing plates thrown out by the local newspaper. Years later, the ever-evolving, gleaming three-story-high castle covers 12,000 sq. feet, including the courtyard filled with sculptures made from discarded automotive parts and a 60-foot replica of a 16th-century Portuguese galleon that serves as the Moat restaurant.

You are able to once again tour the castle Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Chihuly Collection (St. Petersburg)

A world-renowned pioneer in the  studio glass movement for more than 40 years, Dale Chihuly has created innovative, organic, and large-scale glass artworks and installations. In 2017 the collection moved to a new space across from the Morean Arts Center in downtown St. Petersburg to spark the imagination of even more visitors. It is the first building custom-designed around the prolific artist’s work.

Glass Imagination

Visitors enter the main body of the 11,000-square-foot collection through a hallway of the artist’s works. Walking through it feels not unlike wandering through the inside of a kaleidoscope. You can now tour the installation Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Prometheus Esoterica (Winter Park)

When visitors first step into this shop, it appears to be just another store to peruse classic objects such as fine china, soaps, and beautiful vintage art.


However, a few steps into a dimly lit back room, visitors are met by grinning skeletons, macabre antiques, and esoteric books. This is Prometheus Esoterica, Winter Park’s own little oddity shop, and gothic boutique. This quirky place has now expanded from its original location and is now located at 3744 Howell Branch Rd. in Winter Park. Whether shopping for taxidermy needs or adding some herbs to your apothecary, Prometheus Esoterica is a must-stop for anyone passing through the area. 

You can visit Wednesday/Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday/Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Florida Volkswagen Graveyard (Dade City)

The Florida Volkswagen Graveyard sits just off Route 301, which runs from Sarasota to Jacksonville. While this may not be an expected stop on most people’s Florida bucket lists, it is an exciting attraction to visit.

It is often referred to as the “Disney World for Volkswagen enthusiasts.” This junkyard features over 300 000 Volkswagens that range from VW bugs, buses, Ghia’s, and even cars from World War II. The Volkswagen Graveyard is truly unique and is a great place to take some cool photos.

How many of these places have you visited before? Which was the one that triggered your curiosity and imagination to visit? This is just the tip of the iceberg of unique places to visit in this great state. If you have more time than a single-day trip, you might want to look into even more places HERE. We hope you find locations to spark your imagination this year here on the Suncoast or otherwise in the state. Maybe even you will be the next one to start a new hobby, business, or attraction to bring others to our amazing state – crazier things have happened.

Happy Exploring Suncoast!

Feature Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos

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