The First Oceanarium
Not only does the 10th annual Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest offer great opportunities for capturing award-winning wildlife photos, it is headquartered at the University of Florida’s Whitney Lab in Marineland – the smallest municipality in Florida (pop. 10). For decades, Marineland was the number one tourist destination in Florida because it was home to “Marineland” the world’s first oceanarium. In fact, the word “oceanarium” was created there to describe the attraction.
It opened in 1938 under the name Marine Film Studios -- 30,000 people showed up the first day. In its earlier days, the oceanarium was the set for Tarzan movies, a favorite drinking spot for Ernest Hemingway, a set for Revenge of the Creature From the Black Lagoon (featuring the very first on-screen appearance by Clint Eastwood) and later was the setting for numerous episodes of the TV series Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges and ABC’s Benji. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Marineland has become part of the Georgia Aquarium and is known as the Dolphin Adventure at Marineland. Instead of the stadium-style performing dolphin shows of old, the “new” Marineland is strictly a swim-with-the-dolphins experience. For more information, go to www.marineland.net