As residents of the Sunshine State, we know all about unique attractions. But how would Florida’s modern day attractions compare to the most popular tourist attractions of all time?
The best-known tourist attractions of all time were the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, you'd have to travel back in time to see many of these wonders. So unless you’re friends with a peculiar scientist who owns a Flux capacitor-powered DeLorean time machine, you're out of luck. The rest of the marvels require extensive globe-trotting. Luckily, you can visit Florida’s version of the seven wonders as a less costly, but equally awesome, adventure. Hope on the "stay-cation" bandwagon and enjoy these interesting places right here in Florida!
1. Mysterious Architecture
Ancient Wonder: Great Pyramid of Giza
Florida Wonder: Coral Castle
The only surviving ancient wonder, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is Egypt’s (and perhaps, the world’s) most famous structure. If you’re looking for a Florida structure that compares to the mystery and awe of the pyramids, look no farther than Homestead’s Coral Castle. How the stone structure, built in 1923 by a love sick Latvian immigrant, was erected is still shrouded in mystery to this day. According to legend, Edward Leedskalnin built the entire structure himself using only one tool. After spying on the construction process one evening, local teenagers said that Edward created the Coral Castle by levitating the large stones and floating them into place.
2. Spectacular Lighthouse Views
Ancient Wonder: Lighthouse of Alexandria
Florida Wonder: Amelia Island Lighthouse
The impressive Lighthouse of Alexandria, built in ancient Egypt, stood between 390-450 feet tall and remained one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for centuries. While not as old, the Amelia Island Lighthouse is the oldest existing lighthouse in the state of Florida. The lighthouse, which stands at 68 feet tall, is currently open for public tours.
3. Wonder and Worship
Ancient Wonder: The Temple of Artemis
Florida Wonder: Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
The Temple of Artemis, a Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, was located in present day Turkey. A Florida structure of equal magnificence is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, which is also home to the seat of the Catholic Bishop of St. Augustine.
4. Gorgeous Gardens
Ancient Wonder: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Florida Wonder: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
The most controversial ancient wonder, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, was said to be a king’s gift to his wife. If you don’t have room in your yard to plant a world-quality lush garden for your loved one, take a visit to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville instead. The Garden includes 25 major collections and a world class bamboo display.
5. Quiet Memorial
Ancient Wonder: The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Florida Wonder: Florida National Cemetery
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was the final resting place of a Persian Emperor and stood an impressive 148 feet tall. While it may not house a former emperor, the Florida National Cemetery is the final resting place of American heroes from a variety of eras. Located in Bushnell, the cemetery has several historical monuments and quaint landscapes.
6. Larger than Life
Ancient Wonder: Statue of Zeus
Florida Wonder: Life
In what must have been a truly remarkable sight, the statue at Olympus depicted Zeus sitting on an elaborate cedar wood throne decorated with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones. Though it’s made of bronze instead of gold, the “Life” sculpture, located at the Memorial Park in Jacksonville, is a true work of art. The artwork was created by First Coast resident Charles Adrian Pillars, who also has pieces displayed in Washington D.C.
7. Spectacular Sculpture
Ancient Wonder: The Colossus of Rhodes
Florida Wonder: Buddha Statue
The 100-foot tall Colossus of Rhodes was erected to mark the victory of Rhodes over the ruler of Cyprus. Unfortunately, an earthquake destroyed the structure, but in Mims, you can visit the Sunshine State’s very own 60 foot tall Buddha statue. Located at the White Sands Buddhist Center, the massive white sleeping Buddha statue resides along with two other massive Buddha statues.
Sadly, Mother Nature destroyed most of the ancient wonders. I hope you take time to enjoy the "seven wonders" of Florida. And remember to protect your Florida home from Mother Nature’s wrath and get a personalized Florida homeowners insurance quote.