The Orlando Sentinel has a story about Marineland's big plans. Once the pride of Florida's Marine Animal Attractions, the park has suffered for the last few decades. Finally, Hurricane Frances gave it the knock out punch. Or so it seems. Now new investors are hoping to transform the park into an eco-tourism destination, a sort of Flipper fantasy camp:
"The best way I can describe it is to say it will be Dolphin Quest meets a university research lab meets a high-end destination property."
"Visitors will be able to swim with its dolphins, snorkel in its oceanariums and make educational forays into rich surroundings that include oak hammocks, marshes, estuaries, rivers and the ocean."
"There are tentative plans, too, for a resort hotel in which guests will be treated like big fish in a plush pond. I'd like to see the circular oceanarium rebuilt surrounded by a very small luxury hotel, so the suites and upper-end rooms look right into the tanks, and you can see large animals swimming by," he said.
Now that's the sort of hotel I like.
But it's going to take vision and support from the public for this little park that is dreaming big. So if you happen to be near St. Augustine this summer, stop by and send Nellie some love.