I admit it, I love roadside attractions, in particular those of Florida's golden age of tourism. The sunshine state has been home to many unique attractions that did not survive the age of the interstate like Six Gun Territory, Tom Gaskin's Cypress Tree Museum, the Great Masterpiece, Floridaland and more. Check out the Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions website for a good list. One of the wackiest on the list has to be Atomic Tunnel which was located on U.S. 1 just south of Daytona near Port Orange.
The Atomic Tunnel was the brainchild of W.R. Johnson who turned his 1950s bomb shelter to use as a tourist trap according to a history on the Vintage Roadside website. My friends at VR have done a great deal of work researching the short-lived Volusia County attraction, even finding its original location, which is a good trick from the opposite site of the continent (they are based in Portland.) Jeff and Kelly of Vintage Roadside are committed to keeping stories of unique places place like the Atomic Tunnel alive so they don't vanish from our collective memories.
|An early rendition of "Happy" the attraction's mascot|
Here's some more of what they were able to find out about the Tunnel:
-The Atomic Tunnel was renamed the "Tunnel of Fantasy" and then the "Tropicolor Fantasy"
- In addition to featuring the attraction's mascot, "Happy" the Walking Fish, other attractions included Smokey the monkey, Mac the macaw, a man-eating piranha and dancing mice
|Promotion from when the name was changed to the "Tunnel of Fantasy"|