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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Xanadu and the Miracle Strip Amusement Park :

I don't know if you ever saw "Xanadu: The House of the Future" in Kissimmee, but I heard it was finally torn down in late 2005. I never went there when it was open, but would always drive past it in it's later years. I went inside once and looked around. It had been closed for years and was in massive decay. The inside was being used for storing boxes and homeless folks were squatting there (none were present when I explored it).

Click here for photos of how it looked about the time that I explored it.other great photos of Xanadu in it's heyday are here and some shots of it being dismantled here.

I also was reading that the amusement park that I visited most every summer from my childhood has been closed and much of it torn down for condos. It was in Panama City Beach. Back when that city was the "Redneck Riviera" in the 1970's & '80's, my family would vacation there and I would always go to the Miracle Strip Amusement Park. It was a great, small, old park that had tons of charm.

But now all of the mom & pop motels that populated Panama City Beach are gone. It's no longer the "Redneck Riviera". Now it's the land of expensive condos. The land where the amusement park was now holds condos. I heard that they were going to keep a couple of the rides in operation on the grounds of the condos.

What a shame that future generations of kids won't be able to experience this tiny, classic amusement park - built before the days of the huge parks like Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens, etc. It was so... quaint, I guess you could say. Anyway - I have very pleasant memories of the place. I only wish I had taken more photos of it when I was there. There are some generic shots of the park online - but nothing like I want - a first-person tour of every ride in photographs.Oh well, live and learn, eh?

Ok, that's the end of my nostalgia stream today.- Jason


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