Feb. 14, 1967 Enhanced and colorized Tampa Tribune half-page ad.
Place your cursor on the image to see it as it originally appeared.


 

 

 


Visitors cross Rainbow Bridge to reach Fairyland - Tampa, circa 1959. Color postcard,
 State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.


Photo provided by Johnny V. Cinchett

The Rainbow Bridge adorned the main entrance to Fairyland at Lowry Park. To us as kids, it meant we were finally at the park and a fun time was not long in coming. The staircase extending backward from the top of the rainbow led to the entrance of Fairyland.  Once inside, in addition to the recreated nursery rhymes and fairy tales, a miniature railroad wound through Fairyland and its fascinating game reserve.  From the open cars, you could see wild animals moving about freely over the park area.  The trip also featured a mock African village complete with thatched houses and tree huts. Fairyland also included an amusement park with games and rides, and a playground.

Fairyland was drawn from the dreams and hopes of childhood.  Peter Pan lived again, as life-sized pixies drifted through trees over a landscaped path winding through the 15 acres of the park.  Live mice helped complete the restoration of the familiar "Hickory Dickory Dock."   One could see the Old Lady living in a shoe that was 20 feet high.  Humpty Dumpty was perched on the castle wall and all the King's men were standing by as he teetered on the edge.  Across the lane was the home of the Little Red Hen and nearby, the Three Men in a Tub--the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker--floating in a sea filled with goldfish. 

Live woolly lambs frolicked in the yard in front of Mary's Little Red Schoolhouse.  Peter Rabbit lived with his family in a stump under toadstools four feet high while Little Miss Muffet watched from her tuffet as a big spider tried to frighten her away.  On the drawbridge to the Castle, Goosey Gander stood guard while Rapunzel leaned out, hoping to be rescued.  Enchanted youngsters could even stand in the mouth of Willie the Whale as they watched the antics of tropical fish.  The efforts of the Three Little Pigs and their huff-puffing nemesis were there.  Melodies of the nursery rhymes and other children's music were heard in all parts of the park through hidden speakers.  Fairyland was widely acclaimed as one of the nation's finest free fantasyland amusement areas. 

Story from May 16, 1962 newspaper article

Conclusion of article

This rare 1961 photo, courtesy of John V. Cinchett, author of "Vintage Tampa Signs & Scenes," captured the dedication ceremony for the Lowry Park marquee and zoo expansion on the corner of Sligh Avenue and North Blvd.  Pictured L to R are John F. Cinchett--President Cinchett Neon Sign Co.; Frank Neff--City of Tampa Parks Dept. Director; the Hon. Julian Lane--Mayor of Tampa, and General Sumter L. Lowry.

The Lowry Park sign was the largest neon sign of its type ever constructed in the city of Tampa.  Designed by the Cinchett Neon Sign Co., the sign stood 42 feet tall and was constructed of turquoise porcelain-on-steel panels with white neon letters and stars featuring Art-deco style neon cascades extending down both sides of the marquee.  The sign was actually designed in the form of a memorial cross to honor deceased members of the Lowry family. 

Cinchett Neon Signs, Inc. was awarded this national recognition by General Electric in honor of the completed sign.

Contrary to what all of Tampa probably believed by 1959, Dr. Sumter Lowry (father of Gen. Sumter Lowry) did NOT donate the land that became Lowry Park, nor did any Lowry family member.  It was purchased by the City in 1918 and dedicated with his Lowry's name in 1925. 

Proof is in this feature.

Photo provided by Johnny V. Cinchett             

John F. Cinchett, doing what he did best; design, create, build, and install his latest masterpiece. John put his signature art (in the form of neon signs) on many of the streets of Tampa in the 50s and 60s, especially downtown. If you had a sign by Cinchett Neon Signs, you had the best. He was to neon signs what the Burgert Brothers were to photography.

The original Lowry Park sign, made by John F. Cinchett of Cinchett Neon Signs, Inc. was the tallest neon sign ever constructed in the city of Tampa, standing 42 feet tall. The Lowry Park sign was actually a memorial cross to honor the deceased members of the Lowry family.

Special thanks to Johnny V. Cinchett for the background info of this sign, as well as the color photo seen  above of his award.

Images of circa 1959-60** brochure.
Click each page to see larger, then click again in new window to see full size.
**This date is estimated based on the following:  The miniature railroad is mentioned, the installation of which was begun in April 1959.  Sheena is not mentioned, yet the zoo and other animals, including Suzy the chimp, are mentioned.  Sheena was a very important addition to the zoo when she was donated in 1960 and would have been a main attraction in a brochure.  Mayor Nuccio was in some of the photos, something special for an early brochure.

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

Page 3 - Climb a real rainbow into the wondrous make-believe land of childhood dreams!  This is Fairyland...a world set apart, a special world set apart...a storybook park where children's dreams come true...a fantasy woodland of elves and fairies, of nursery rhymes and fables of long ago.

Soft shafts of sunlight filter through moss-draped oaks to brighten cool shadows.  At each turn along flower-bordered walkways, a new page of Mother Goose opens before you.  In this fabulous setting of mammoth, pastel-tinted toadstools, of life size pixies swinging from tree limbs, the happy never-never land of little children springs to life.
 

Page 4
From a window high in a 30-foot castle, the Fairy Princess looks for her prince as a live Goosey Gander greets you with a friendly "honk"...Humpty Dumpty sits on the wall, the king's men in full armor stride their horses await his fall...A real live sheep follows Little Bo-Peep as she searches for her lost flock.

Escaping from their houses of straw and sticks, the Three Little Pigs find safety from the Big Bad Wolf in their brick home...The Old Woman lives in a big shoe--it's 20 feet high--but it still won't hold all her children!

A frightened Little Miss Muffet gets ready to run as the big spider spins his web above her...From the top of the beanstalk, a worried giant watches as Jack starts to cut it down.

There are many, many more--realistically reproduced, with very lifelike characters indeed...And as the continuing panorama of myth and imagination unfolds, you are faintly conscious of musical nursery rhymes, wafted gently from hidden speakers in the tall treetops.

Page 5
Fairyland brings to life the storied tales of childhood for young and old alike.

What a world of fantasy it opens up for you!
You walk the deck of Noah's Ark with its aviary of gaily plumaged birds...the mouth of Willie the Whale opens wide to let children walk in, and there--right in his tummy--is a tank of tropical fish!

Pacific sea lions leap from a pool to take a morsel of fish from your hand...Hickory Dickory Dock?  A real mouse runs up the clock!...Peter Rabbit peeks at you from his tree trunk home (and he's alive too!)...and Henny Penny, Three Men in a Tub, the Little Red Schoolhouse...and of course, a Wishing Well...and don't be surprised if a gander waddles along beside you--.or a pheasant or brightly-hued peacock.  A Sugar Plum Park is available for children's parties by reservation.

Flowers in variety bloom everywhere.  And so well has the landscaping been done, the plants, shrubbery and trees blend naturally into the original woodland.

At night, the park becomes a glorious illuminated Fairyland, with tinted bulbs spotlighting all of the fascinating features in the world of make believe.
 

Page 6
Fairyland, America's outstanding free fantasy-land for all ages!

Only a short distance from downtown, Tampa's fairyland spreads over more than ten acres of wooded area in beautiful Lowry Park on the scenic Hillsborough River.  It is a unique playground-park for the enjoyment of youngsters and grownups who live in Tampa or visit the city.  Since Fairyland is community owned, there is never any admission charge.

In addition to faithful portrayals in life-size of 20 fairy tales and fables, there is a playground with swings, slides, seesaws--all free!  A small charge is made for pony rides, trips on the two merry-go-rounds and miniature railroad.

And there is a zoo with more than a score of different animals and birds--from Suzy the Chimp to Nubian lions; Florida deer and black bears, flamingos, strutting peacocks, fan-tailed pigeons, and many more--all at home in artistically designed and gaily colored cages and houses.

When you come to Tampa be sure to visit Fairyland.  It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; and from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

 

 


 
Close ups of images in the above brochure.
   

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe (Page 2)

Feeding Florida deer (Page 3)

   


Enchanted children and parents alike watch Mayor Nuccio feeding the seals (Page 4)


One of two Merry-go-Rounds, from the brochure. (Page 4)


Mayor Nuccio posing with "his children" on Noah's Ark, Jr.  (Page 5)
 

 

 

LOWRY PARK JUST BEFORE FAIRYLAND,  Dec. 1, 1952

"Miss Caston with children at Lowry Park" from the Tampa Photo Supply Collection online at the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library System. The Tampa Photo Supply collection features a wide range of photographs taken by professional photographers Rose Rutigliano Weekley and Joseph Scolaro primarily in Tampa and Hillsborough County from approximately 1947 to 1990. Many are weddings, birthdays, parties, banquets, special events, etc, with people named.

 

 

Tampa Mayor Nick Nuccio, 1960s
Photo is a crop from USF Digital Collection

MAYOR NUCCIO'S GIFT TO THE CHILDREN OF TAMPA
Lowry Park Developed With Fairyland

The early history of the construction of Fairyland and its zoo presented here is a result of the combination of information from many resources.  Where possible, information printed in articles at the time the event was happening takes precedence over what may have been printed many years later.  For the simple reason that as the years pass, histories tend to evolve into something more heroic, more dramatic, more incredible and more exaggerated.  And it happens A LOT.  (See how Tampa's old City Hall clock REALLY came to be called "Hortense.")

SOURCES:

From: Zoo Story, by Thomas French at Internet Archive

The city’s zoo had started in the 1930s as a tiny menagerie—a handful of raccoons and alligators, a few exotic birds—and then had slowly grown [at Lowry Park] into a larger collection of lions and tigers and bears and even one elephant, a female Asian named Sheena who had been transported from India on a jet in 1961, making her the zoo’s original flying elephant. The undisputed star in those early years, Sheena performed twice a day in a circus ring and then gave rides to children. Admission was free. The place was sometimes called “the Fairyland Zoo,” because the animal attractions were merged with a panorama of storybook houses and scenes re-created from Mother Goose and other children’s tales. Kids skipped across the Rainbow Bridge and darted among replicas of the Seven Dwarves, Humpty-Dumpty, and the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs. They clambered onto a small train that chugged and curved across the grounds, and spun on the Tilt-a-Wheel, and threw food over a fence within reach of Sheena’s trunk. Just north of the zoo stood Safety Village, a miniature replica of Tampa, with a shopping mall and a fire station and a tiny City Hall, where police officers tutored young citizens in how to recognize traffic signs and use crosswalks and repel the advances of molesters. Second-graders even got to ride small electric vehicles as they practiced braking at stoplights on Happy Drive and Polite Boulevard.

BUILDING A FANTASY THEME PARK

The building of Lowry Park as an amusement park and tourist attraction was an amazing story because it was built so inexpensively, even for its day -- it's initial construction cost was $60,000 for everything. Mayor Nuccio said it could easily have cost the city double that amount had a private company been contracted for the job.  The funds came out of a city surplus account.    Nuccio engineered the project himself.  The park became his baby, and he made certain it would succeed.

Mayor Nuccio told the St. Pete Evening Independent in 1965, "I got the idea after visiting New Orleans. that city had something along those lines and it really impressed me."
June 1, 1965 Evening Independent - Donors Share Their Spots With Lion's Share of Free Animals

When he returned to Tampa, he started the wheels turning.

 

  

The park in New Orleans is still in operation today as Storyland.  See it here.

Storyland in City Park, New Orleans.  Photo from New Orleans Official Guide 

See 17 more photos of Storyland.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUFORD BRADLEY SENT TO NEW ORLEANS TO GET IDEAS

In April 1957, City Parks Superintendent B. B. Bradley was sent to New Orleans in order to "get first-hand ideas on the dramatic display.." from Storyland.  Nuccio viewed the color slides that Bradley took when he got back to Tampa.

The $15k to $20k expected cost to build would be financed from an expected city land sale, with city employees to do the construction work other than the making of the fairytale figures.  A "local citizen" agreed to build a large fountain as a central piece, and a "novel entranceway" had already been chosen--anyone who wanted to enter Fairyland would do so by "sliding down a rainbow slide into the park."

It was expected to take about four months to complete the work, once it started.


NUCCIO HIRES FRANK NEFF TO ASSIST BRADLEY

No city funds were budgeted for the project, Nuccio said. The funds that were used came out of a surplus fund. Every effort was made to keep expenses down. 

 

CITY TRADES SOME LOWRY PARK LAND TO SCHOOL BOARD IN RETURN FOR OTHER LAND FOR RECREATIONAL USE

 

NOT A FISCAL TIZZY, IT'S A LEGAL TIZZY

Bradley argues that the construction of fairytale replicas defy working drawings and detailed specs needed to advertise for bids. He said "the building of giant-size three-dimensional nursery rhym exhibits is so novel and complicated that he could not draw up specifications for bidding.   Board agreed and allowed Bradley to choose his own contractors as long as he kept each item below $1500.  "Money for the Fairyland project was set up by the transfer of $20,000 from a city unappropriated cash surplus on June 4."

ASST. CITY ATTORNEY FREAKS OUT OVER ABSENCE OF CONTRACTS

Bradley was given cost limits of $1000 for the big shoe, a minimum (probably was supposed to be maximum) of $1200 for Goosey Gander's castle, $900 for Humpty's castle, and $85 each for "pixies."

 

 

A cement industry strike in late July 1957 forced the City to discontinue sidewalk construction jobs, but the Fairyland project would not be affected due to already having bought the cement supplies.

 

 

DEATH OF JULIAN LEE CONE

Cone was born Nov. 3, 1890.  He was 66.  His uncle, Eben E. Cone, sold the land that became Lowry Park to the City of Tampa in 1918.  Its purpose was to be a cemetery site.

Work began on Fairyland in 1957, with its landmark entrance, the Rainbow Bridge.  That alone would have cost the city $5,500, but Cone Brothers contractors did it for nothing. 


 

Parks Department labor did most of the construction work.  During the summer, college students helped.  The park superintendent, B. B. Bradley, did the landscaping.  It saved an architect's fee.  Nuccio hired ONE carpenter.  Scrap metal was bought from the West Coast Salvage Company for 8 cents per 50 pounds according to Jack Ryan, the construction supervisor for the project.  Eighty percent of the cages were built with the scrap metal.  Salvage bricks were obtained from public works projects.


Perhaps the Tribune was trying to say "the superintendent said HE THOUGHT it would be self-sustaining..."

          

 

Fairyland will take up 1½ acres and will be "one of the foremost tourist attractions on the Florida West Coast."  Bradley now says there would be NO admission charge.

He says minister and doctors he's consulted with told him that too often children are taken out of the "land of make-believe."  He predicts Fairyland might even be a deterrent to juvenile delinquency.

 

FAIRYLAND CLOSE TO OPENING

Sept. 29, 1957 - A grand opening for the general public was to take place after a "sneak preview" opening for Tampa's "orphans, crippled children and retarded youngsters."  Fairyland would be lighted at night at least one or two nights a week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"As the zoo collection at Plant Park had grown, the animals were moved during the term of Mayor Nick Nuccio to the more centrally located Lowry park in 1957 where it was maintained by Tampa's Parks Department."   (This didn't happen.  See why at Plant Park Zoo.)

Read about how the Fairyland grew from its simple beginnings to its transformation into a world class zoo, here on this breakout page.

  • Sheena, the Baby Elephant

  • Herman, King of the Zoo

  • Bambi Land & Goat Hill

  • Fairyland Zoo in the News

 

 

 

Circa 1960-1961** brochure images below from eBay
**
This date is estimated based on the following:  Sheena appears and is the smallest she ever will appear in other brochures.  She was acquired in 1960 as a baby elephant.

Mouse-over brochure to see other side.


America's Outstanding FREE Fantasy-Land for all ages!
Only a short drive from downtown, Tampa's Fairyland was conceived some years ago by the Honorable Nick C. Nuccio, Mayor of Tampa.

Through Mayor Nuccio's effort, this 15-acres of beautifully wooded area at Lowry Park on the Hillsborough River was transformed into a unique fantasy-land, appealing to all ages.  Admission is free.

In addition to life-size portrayals of fables and fairy tales, there is a free playground with slides, swings and see-saws, a real Navy plane, a fire engine and a zoo with regularly scheduled animal performances.

Plan now to visit Fairyland when you come to Tampa--and bring your camera.

Baby Sheena and her handler greeting children in front of the old lady who lived in a shoe storybook setting.
From the brochure above.

Only a short distance from downtown, Tampa's Fairyland, conceived by Mayor Nick C. Nuccio, spreads over 15 acres of beautifully wooded area in Lowry Park on the Hillsborough River.  Admission is free.  In addition to life-size portrayals of fables and fairy tales, there is a free playground with slides, swings and see-saws, a real Navy plane, a fire engine and a zoo!  A small charge is made for some of the rides.

Lowry Park, one of the outstanding recreational areas in the county, offers picnic areas with tables, shelters and cookout areas under giant shade trees, plus a softball diamond and many other public facilities.

Plan now to visit Fairyland and Lowry Park, when you come to Tampa -- and bring your camera!  Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Reverse side:

This is Fairyland...a world set apart, alive with childhood dreams...an enchanted woodland of elves and fables, of nursery rhymes and fairy tales.  Soft shafts of sunlight filtered by moss-draped oaks strike bright colors from flower bordered walkways.  At each turning, a long remembered page of Mother Goose swings open.  The Three Pigs sit secure in their strong brick home...Little Bo Peep searches for her lost sheep...a spider spins his web above a frightened Miss Muffet...Humpty Dumpty sits on a wall...and the Three Men in a Tub sit just beyond a real Wishing Well!  There are many, many more---realistically reproduced in a continuing panorama of myth and imagination.  Captivating!

Sheena, a harmonica playing baby elephant greets some Fairyland visitors.  Behind is the Old Woman who lives in a shoe--it's 20-feet high--but still won't hold all her children!

The mouth of Willie the Whale opens wide.  You walk right in, and there--right in his tummy--is a tank of tropical fish!

The Little Red School House may be the very one to which Mary's little lamb followed her!

A real Mississippi stern-wheeler--The Fairy Queen--chugs its way up and down the scenic Hillsborough River.  Regularly scheduled trips.

A dinosaur towers over golfers while a brooding Buddha watches--in Fantasia, a unique 36-hole putting course adjacent to Fairyland.  Small admission.

 

Original Fairyland at Lowry Park Brochure circa 1962 to 1965**
Click each page to enlarge, then click the larger image to see full size.
Brochure made possible by Kimi Lau-Costanzo
**This date is estimated based on the following:  The diamond pattern on the retaining wall of the rainbow bridge pool and the cloud pattern on the underside of the bridge can be dated from a 1962 high school yearbook photo.  Sheena appears larger. Safety Village, which opened in Dec. 1965, is not mentioned.

                  

A giant dinosaur towers over golfers while a brooding Buddha watches--in Fantasia, a unique 36-hole putting course adjacent to Fairyland.  Small admission.

Sheena, the elephant and other trained animals, go through their paces to capacity crowds twice a day.  No admission.
A real train, loaded with youthful passengers, threads its way through acres of the Park.  Small admission.

(NEXT PAGE)
Tampa's storybook park where fairy tales are in little-boy-and-little-girl-sizes.  This is Fairyland, a world set apart, alive with childhood dreams, an enchanted woodland of fables and fairy tales, of elves and nursery rhymes.  Soft shafts of sunlight filtered by moss-draped oaks strike bright colors from flower-bordered walkways.

At each turning of its magic paths to make-believe, a long-remembered page of Mother Goose swings open.  The three pigs sit secure in their snug brick home...Little Bo Peep searches for her sheep...a spider spins his silver web above a frightened Miss Muffet.
Humpty Dumpty sits on a wall...the little Red School House may be the very one to which Mary's little lamb followed her...and the Fairy Princess awaits in her tower window for the coming of her Prince Charming.

And there are many, many more--all realistically reproduced in a continuing panorama of myth and imagination.  Captivating!
The Old Woman who lives in a shoe--it's 20 feet high--thrills young visitors.

Trained seals reach for food tossed them by the "little fry."  Tidbits for feeding are available.

    

Close ups from this brochure

Left page:
Rainbow Bridge sparkles myriad colors in the sun and leads you over to Fairyland's entrance to the magic paths of make-believe.

Swings, a miniature carousel and other rides provide entertainment.
 

Right page:
AMERICA'S OUTSTANDING FREE FANTASY-LAND FOR ALL AGES - Follow this easy map to community-owned Tampa's Fairyland - the unique playground park for youngsters and grown-ups.

Only a short distance from downtown, Tampa's Fairyland was conceived some years ago by the Honorable Nick C. Nuccio, Mayor of Tampa.
 


Through Mayor Nuccio's effort, this 15-acres of beautifully wooded area at Lowry Park on the Hillsborough River was transformed into a unique fantasy-land, appealing to all ages. Admission is free.

In addition to life-size portrayals of fables and fairy tales, there is a free playground with slides, swings and see-saws, a real Navy plane, a fire engine and a zoo with regularly scheduled animal performances.

Plan now to visit Fairyland when you come to Tampa--and bring your camera.

Open Daily
9 AM to 9 PM
Sunday
12:30 PM - 6:30 PM
 

 

Original Fairyland & Safety Village at Lowry Park Brochure circa 1966**
Click each page to enlarge, then click the larger image to see full size.
Brochure made possible by Kimi Lau-Costanzo
**This date is estimated based on the following: Safety Village opened in December, 1965)
 

     

This brochure features Safety Village on the reverse side.  See it on a separate page here at TampaPix.

Close up from the above brochure


Notice the windmill at center of photo and King Arthur's Castle (Fairyland Gift Shop) to the right of it.

 

Postcard and brochure made from the same photo session

 



 

Postcard image from Delcampe.net


 

Left: A rare, early view of the painted stairs on the bridge.

Mrs. Colado and son on the
Rainbow Bridge to Fairyland, circa 1958.
.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Colado Garren, taken by her father, Hector Colado.

Rick Ringer and his sister at the Rainbow Bridge, circa 1963.
Photo courtesy of Rick Ringer

   


The Rainbow Bridge from the 1962 Jefferson High School yearbook Monticello


Rainbow Bridge postcard from circa 1962-63, the pastel period of the bridge.
Image courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo

Photo below was provided by Elizabeth Moore.
Grandma and her friend on the Rainbow Bridge, circa early 1960s.

Photo below was provided by Elizabeth Moore.
After taking grandma and her friend's picture, grandpa got his picture made.

 

Sometime from 1962 to 1967, the Rainbow Bridge was repainted, as well as the railings, as can be seen below.


 Keith Hawks at the Rainbow Bridge, 1967.
Though the railings had been painted "white," by the time of this photo, they were already peeling.
Photo courtesy of Keith Hawks


The Rainbow Bridge was painted again sometime from 1967 to 1971

Feb. 1971 - David Fox descending the stairs of the Rainbow Bridge, with his mom.  The railings are black once again.
Photo courtesy of David Fox

Cindy Summerfield and her daughter, circa 1972.
 Photo by Karen Brown

 

  

Grant Martin, 2nd from left, circa late 60s-early 70s in front of the Rainbow Bridge that led to Fairyland at Lowry Park. His twin brother Gary, his sister Lisa and brother (far right) Ray are also pictured.

Photo courtesy of Grant Martin & Tampa Bay History Museum exhibit.

 

 

 

About 40 years later, Grant posed with the photo he contributed to the "Finding Fairyland" Exhibit which opened at the Tampa Bay History Center in March 2017.  See photos from this exhibit here at TampaPix.

 

 

 

Jeff Wynne and his daughter Jessica, circa 1975.
Photo of her dad and sister courtesy of Chrissy Keck.

The bridge was again repainted by the mid 1970s, and by 1980, fairytale and nursery rhyme characters were added to it along with repainting the stripes.  The railing from around the fountain was also removed, as well as the statues of the boy and girl.


Above and below:  The Rainbow Bridge circa 1976, and a rare view from inside Fairyland towards the back side
of the bridge.  Photos courtesy of Cecilia M. Pope at the "Save Fairyland" group Facebook page
.

 

Cheryl Jones and her sister Beverly Jones, circa 1980.  The railings are gone.
Photo courtesy of Steve Tamargo, Cheryl's husband
Photo taken by Mr. Jones

 


King High School students on the Rainbow Bridge, from the 1980 school yearbook Clarion.
Photo courtesy of Chris Mygrant from his Susan Houx Estate yearbook collection.
 

The Rainbow Bridge to Fairyland, circa 1980.
The girl and boy statues are gone, but a new plaque has been placed in front of the original one.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Nelson, Public Relations Director, Lowry Park Zoo

 
 

The following photos of the Tampa Catholic High School Majorettes and Dancerettes at Lowry Park's Fairyland were taken by Ralph Owen Dennis and published in the TC 1982 yearbook "Crusader."  Ralph shared them in a Facebook group named "You know your [sic] from Tampa when..." some time ago and were recently brought to the attention of TampaPix by Kimi Lau-Costanzo. 

At the time Ralph posted them, he wrote "Seeing pictures of Lowry Park, I remembered that I had saved these shots of the Tampa Catholic Dance team and twirlers from 1982. I scanned them and thought I would add them here.....maybe one of the ladies is watching this group..........ENJOY!"

Kimi also provided the information about the students in the photos.  Thank you Kimi and Ralph for sharing these great photos!

 

The Tampa Catholic High School Dancerettes on the Rainbow Bridge to Fairyland, 1982.
Photo by Ralph Owen Dennis.

 

The Tampa Catholic High School Dancerettes at the Rainbow Bridge to Fairyland, 1982. 
Photo by Ralph Owen Dennis.

 

 
 

 

 

 

Fairyland was a popular attraction for both young and old, where scenes from Grimm's and Mother Goose fairytales and nursery rhymes were re-created in the form of statues in the shade of massive oak trees.

 

 

 

Children at storybook setting, Rupunzel's castle, with Willie the Whale in background, Fairyland at Lowry Park, Nov 21, 1957. 

Photo courtesy of the Burgert Brothers collection at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.

 


Child at Rapunzel's castle, Fairyland at Lowry Park, Nov 21, 1957. 
From the Tampa Bay History Center exhibit, "Finding Fairyland."

 

 


Children and mother looking at a storybook setting of the Three LIttle Pigs (featuring live pigs), Fairyland attraction at Lowry Park
Nov. 21, 1957.   Photo courtesy of the Burgert Brothers collection at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.

 

Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme scene at Fairyland, circa 1957.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Colado Garren, taken by her father Hector Colado.

The original Fairyland character figures were made of papier-mâché and did not last very long.

 

 
 

The slide at Fairyland, circa 1957
Place your cursor on the photo to see lower left portion enlarged, Humpty Dumpty exhibit.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Colado Garren.
 

The children's carousel at Fairyland, circa 1957
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Colado Garren, taken by her father Hector Colado.
 
 
 

Sister and brother Cindy and David Bacon enjoying a run through the toadstools.
There's magic for every young heart at Fairyland. It may be in the rides, like the merry-go-round or the Ferris wheel or the push-pedal surreys. Or in the eye-filling spectacle of a dragonfly-borne gnome aloft in the oaks. 
July 13, 1958 - TBT archives
 

Sister and brother Cindy and David Bacon
with the Big Bad Wolf, July 13, 1958.
TBT Archives

David Bacon competes with the Big Bad Wolf at Fairyland,  July 13, 1958.
TBT Archives

     
From this article by Paul Guzzo "Figurines from Fairyland in Tampa may return to public."
 
 
July 13, 1958
An elf serenades a curious young Cindy Bacon.
TBT archives photo
July 13, 1958
"Look! Mommy read to us about them," exclaims Cindy Bacon. Nursery rhymes are aired as visitors view reproductions.
TBT archives photo
   
July 13, 1958
Cindy & David Bacon at the Mary had a Little Lamb scene.
TBT archives photo
July 13, 1958
David Bacon looking up at an airborne elf as his parents and sister Cindy stand in the background.
TBT archives photo
 
 

July 13, 1958
David Bacon swiftly being placed on or lifted from his mount by a park attendant at the pony rides.
TBT archives photo

 

July 13, 1958
Cindy Bacon riding the carousel.
TBT archives photo

July 13, 1958
Cindy Bacon and brother David enjoying a spinning ride at Lowry Park.
TBT archives photo


Cindy and David's father was City Representative (city council) Richard Bacon during the Nick Nuccio administration.

 

The Merry Miller's Mill

 

 


Three Men in a Tub - the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.

 

1957-58 Tampa News Bureau Photo and caption when it was used in the Times:
Three Little Pigs are one of many live animal exhibits in Tampa's new Fairyland, a municipally-owned attraction featuring ten acres of fairy tales and playground equipment.  Open without charge from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Fairyland is already attracting thousands of people each week. 

The photo appeared again on Jun.21, 1987 in the St. Pete Times with the following caption: "Fairyland at the Lowery [sic] Park Zoo attracted its share of visitors in the early 60s.  The three little pigs were just one of many live animal exhibits featured.  Fairyland is still in operation today at the zoo on Sligh Avenue.


 
 
Peter Rabbit peeks at you from his tree trunk home (and he's alive too!)
Place your cursor on the photo to see it colorized.
Photo from "Real Tampa" courtesy of Bud Clark.
 

This circa 1959-60 photo is courtesy of Marcia Gordon. (L-R) Marcia's cousin Allen Driggers, Marcia's  sister Melody (Gordon) Gruber, sister Gail (Gordon) Haag, Marcia, and her cousin, Debra Driggers. This picture was taken in 1959 or 1960.

 Dec, 2016 - "My sisters and I loved Fairyland so much. My sister Melody wanted to make a mother-daughter trip to see Fairyland but I told her that Fairyland had long since been done away with. We are Tampa natives and as children loved Fairyland and have fond memories. Our mother now age 90 took us to Fairyland!  -- Marcia Gordon

 

Ofelia Gordon and her daughter Karen at Fairyland's "Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe." May 1963 photo provided by Ofelia's son, Rex Gordon, Hillsborough High School historian.

 

Lowry Park nursery rhyme scene from Jack and Jill with Mary Hall** and Sharon Conrad at Fairyland in the Tri-city Suncoast Festival, Feb. 1961.   From Florida Memory State Library & Archives https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/78656

 

The lower portion of Rapunzel's castle and the moat, 1962.  Notice at upper left the house that was on the park grounds, and just above it, a turret of King Arthur's Castle Gift Shoppe. 
Photo provided by the Estrada family
.

 

 

 

 

 

Willie the Whale - A proud young lady pushing her baby cousin in his stroller. This 1962 photo gives a glimpse into the whale's mouth, revealing an aquarium with plants and fish. 
Photo provided by the Estrada family.

 

 

Early 1960s - Willie the Whale with the Fueyo family at Willie the Whale.
Patti, John , Mike , & Betty and Eddie Cuenca. Photo provided by Patti Fueyo Tamayo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children having their picture taken in front of Rapunzel's castle, Feb. 1966 from Florida Memory State Library & Archives

https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/82763

 

People walking through Fairyland storybook setting, Humpty Dumpty, Feb. 1966 from
Florida Memory State Library & Archives  https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/82764
 Humpty Dumpty sitting on his wall while the king, a king's horse & a king's man wait for his fall.  In the background - the old lady who lived in a shoe.

This beautiful and extremely rare 1966 photo provided by Kimberly Jones Dodson to the "Save Fairyland" Facebook group shows Kim and her late brother Zack at Noah's Ark which was situated near the area leading to the animals at the zoo. It appears that it was there for a number of years at this point.  Special thanks to Kimberly for sharing this priceless memory of herself and her brother.

Mary Hall** and  Sharon Conrad on the Lowry Park train at Fairyland, Feb. 1961
From Florida Memory State Library & Archives
https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/78657

From Chamberlain High School yearbook "Totem"

**Mary Hall is model/actress Lauren Hutton.  Hutton was born Mary Laurence Hutton in Charleston, South Carolina. Her parents divorced when she was young, and after her mother remarried, her last name was changed to her stepfather's name, "Hall", although he never formally adopted her. She graduated from Chamberlain High School in Tampa in 1961, and was among the first students to attend the University of South Florida in 1961. Hutton later relocated with former Tampa disc jockey Pat Chambers, 19 years her senior, to New York City, where she worked at the Playboy Club. The pair later moved to New Orleans, where she attended Newcomb College, then a coordinate college within Tulane University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964.
See Tedd Webb's "Tampa Bay Legends."

 

 

  
Ticket on right courtesy of Tampa Bay History Center "Finding Fairyland" exhibit.


The miniature train ride at Lowry Park, circa 1960s.  Color postcard photo from Delcampe.net.

Read about the Allan Herschell Company

Click the areas on the catalog to see them larger.

Allan Herschell ads from Billboard magazine, Mar. 21, 1960

 


The Tampa Fairyland Railroad departing for Jungle-Land, May 31, 1965.
Tampa Bay Times archive photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

 


The Fairyland Railroad train station.
May 19, 1965.  TBT Archives

 


Photo courtesy of Joette Giovinco; her sister's birthday party at Lowry Park

 

 


The "FAIRYLAND SPECIAL" and Sheena, 1971.
From Tampa, a town on its way, by the Junior League of Tampa, 1971.

Photo by R. Randolph Stevens provided by Hillsborough High School historian, Rex Gordon.

 

 



Local band "The Rovin' Flames--Ready for Action" on the Lowry Park fire truck.
Sept. 1, 1966 photo from  newspaper clipping at Garage Hangover.
Click to see the whole article.

Another article, from the Oct. 7, 1966 Chamberlain High School newspaper "Chieftain."
(In new window, click the article to see full size.)
 


Read more about the Lowry Park fire trucks (yes, TRUCKS) and see more photos here at TampaPix.

 

 

May 19, 1965
Notice the P2V-3 Navy bomber at far left.

TBT archives photo

 

May 25, 1965
Jim Godfrey making sure this happy young lady remains safe.  Jim was also the trainer of many of the park
animals, including Sheena, chimps Suzie and Joey, and spider monkey Bobo.  Jim also worked park security, and even had a hand in making the original Fairyland storybook & nursery rhyme figures.

TBT archives photo

 

 

May 24, 1965
TBT archives photo

 

 

Circa 1976 roller coaster photo courtesy of Cecilia M. Pope in the Save Fairyland group, Facebook.

 

 

 

          

Students riding the roller coaster at Lowry Park's Fairyland.
From 1976 Tampa Bay Tech yearbook Titan.

Tony Sanders was the Magic Dragon roller coaster operator in 1980.  Photo courtesy of Tony Sanders.

 

 

 Magic Dragon roller coaster, circa 1980s. Photos by Michael S. Horwood See more photos

    

 

 

 

King Arthur's Castle, Fairyland Gift Shoppe.  The only place in the park with air conditioning for guests.
Postcard image from eBay

 

 

The basketball-playing chicken coin-operated show, with Robinson High School students voted "Most Athletic" Barbara Shakula and former University of Tampa Spartan football running back Morris La Grande. When University of Tampa quarterback Freddie Solomon wasn't scrambling for yardage, it was usually because he had handed the ball off to the thundering running back "The LaGrand Express".  Photo from 1971 Robinson High School yearbook Excalibur.

 


RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AT LOWRY PARK

It's not surprising that in the early years of Lowry Park, African Americans were not allowed. In fact, many places also barred Cubans from entering. It was an ugly part of Tampa's past, but not unique to Tampa; it was rampant all over the south.  It wasn't until 1962 that the city's parks were desegregated, thanks to Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler.
 

 

 

 

 

 

HENRY CABOT LODGE BOHLER

Born in Augusta, Georgia in 1925, Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler spent  much of his life being told what he couldn't do. He dreamed of flying one day, but was told he couldn't become a pilot because he was black. Instead of accepting that decision, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces at the age of 17. At enlistment, he weighed 109 pounds, which was one pound under the minimum weight for airmen; through persuasion, he was able to join anyway.

 

 

 

Mr. Bohler trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, the home base of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American air corps in the United States. He learned to fly the P-51 Mustang fighter, and earned his wings in 1944.

    
Photo from "Find A Grave."
 

Mr. Bohler's persistence during the civil-rights era would be challenged again after he and his family moved to Tampa in 1950.  This time, he was told that he could not own his own business. His persistence again paid off as he became Tampa's first African-American licensed electrician and operated his own business enterprise.

In 1959, Mr. Bohler, his wife and their three children went to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. The family was denied entry to the zoo because of their race. Mr. Bohler sued the city for discrimination.

During the two years it took to hear the case, Mr. Bohler was routinely harassed by city police who would pull his car over and demand to check his driver's license. On the day he was ordered to appear in federal court, he was pulled over five times.

As before, Mr. Bohler ultimately prevailed, with the result being a 1962 federal order requiring Tampa to integrate its public recreation facilities.

In later years, Mr. Bohler and other area Tuskegee Airmen spoke at area schools, and he was an inspiration to local pilots.   Jackie Beiro, a pilot and friend of the family, runs a nonprofit, Nobal Aviation. 

 

BOHLER, et al v. LANE, et al
Civ. No. 3809.
204 F.Supp. 168 (1962)

The evidence presented in support of the complaint reveals that on June 21, 1959, one of the plaintiffs, Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler, accompanied by his family and several other companions, visited Lowry Park, one of the parks involved in this litigation. Approximately twenty-five (25) minutes after their arrival, a police officer and a park attendant in charge of Lowry Park came up to them and requested them to leave. The Negroes demanded an explanation as to why they were not permitted to remain on the premises, but they were informed without any further explanation that they had to leave or they would be arrested. The Negroes complied and left said park immediately.

On the following day, the plaintiff, Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler, accompanied by a local Negro citizen named Banfield, went to see the Chief of Police** for the purpose of finding out under what authority they had been requested to leave the park by the police officer in question. The Police Chief informed them that the policeman was within his rights and that they could have been arrested had they not complied with his request. When pressed for specific authority or statute or ordinance upon which the exclusion of Negroes might have been based, the Chief of Police said, "Well, we would arrest you first and then we could find charges later."

Banfield, in the month of September, 1959, again visited Lowry Park with his family, and shortly after his arrival was again asked to leave, which he did.

**Tampa's Chief of Police at the time was John D. Latture.

Read more at:  Bohler, et al vs. Lane, et al

 
In early August of 2007, the group held an event at Hillsborough Community College to honor three bay area Tuskegee Airmen, particularly Bohler, who was the only living member of the group in Tampa. “We had no idea we were running out of time,” Beiro said. “Six days later, he’s gone. He’s had an impact on a lot of people. You just mention his name in the community, and people remember him.”

Until he became ill, Mr. Bohler never missed the annual reunions of the Tuskegee Airmen. He’d fly his own Piper Archer to the events, held in various cities throughout the country. His flying stopped when he was 80, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, his wife said. Shortly thereafter, he fell while working in his garage at his east Tampa home and hit his head. But the family did not realize the injury had caused bleeding on the brain.

Soon afterward, acquaintances noticed Mr. Bohler stumbling during his daily five-mile walk at the Middleton High School track. They brought him home to Clifford Marie Bohler. “I was so scared,” she said. “He never said another word. It was terrible.”

Mr. Bohler went to the hospital and never came home. He stayed in a couple of medical facilities before moving to one in Wesley Chapel. 

In work and in life, Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler never settled for less than equality. He believed no one should. Mr. Bohler, a father and grandfather, died Aug. 10, 2007 as a result of brain injuries from a fall nearly two years earlier. He was 82.

See the source article of this info with more detail, Tuskegee Airman fought for equality in Tampa in 1960s
 

Jay Wisler, who worked in the brewery at Busch Gardens, said "I had the pleasure of working with him at Anheuser Busch here in Tampa. He was quite a gentleman and I enjoyed listening to his stories about his Tuskegee days and the racial discrimination that occurred." Roy Pulliam recalled, "He was a really great, nice guy. Great sense of humor. I knew him from hanging around at Peter O. Knight airport where he kept his Piper Archer. He flew P-40s, P-47s and P-51s during WW 2."


See also Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler at Wikipedia
 

 

 

The Big Plane at Lowry Park

 


The big plane at Lowry Park was a US Navy P2V-3 Neptune; a patrol bomber used by the Navy.  The Neptune was the primary U.S. land-based anti-submarine patrol aircraft developed near the end of World War 2 and was intended to be operated as the hunter of a '"Hunter-Killer" group, with destroyers employed as killers during the Korean and early Cold War years.  It was eventually replaced by the P3 Orion in the mid-1960s. 

 

 

 

Read about the life of this plane, from the time it was brought to the park to its demise, here at TampaPix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
David Fox riding the big chicken in Bambi Land, late 1960s, with his dad, great-uncle, great-aunt and sister.
Photo courtesy of David Fox

 

Keith Hawks, 1967, courtesy of Keith Hawks

 David Fox (middle) and mom, Feb. 1971





The big rooster at Lowry Park, with Mary Van den Ancker and her siblings, circa 1970s.
Photo courtesy of Mary Van den Ancker.

 

Below:  More photos from David Fox, late 1960s
David's Goat and Peacock Experience at Lowry Park

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

May 25, 1965
Possibly the seal pool or alligator pool.  Notice Jack & Jill's hill to the right.
TBT archives photo

 

 


Alligators & turtles at Fairyland's Lowry Park Zoo, Nov. 21, 1965.
Tampa Bay Times archives photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

 


The seal pool, 1965. St. Pete Times photo by M. Awtrey.

 

The seal pool, circa 1972. 
Photo by Karen Brown

Lowry Park clown, circa 1972
Photo by Karen Brown

 

 

 

 


THE LITTLE FAIRY QUEEN RIVERBOAT RIDE

Chamberlain High School senior picnic at Lowry Park, 1960
Shared by Kimi Lau Costanzo at "Save Fairlyand" Facebook group, photo courtesy of Denise Payne Franklin,
 Originally posted in Tampa Born and Raised Facebook group.

A year after Fairyland opened, the city considered a river boat ride that paddled around on a man-made river within the park. It appears that the deal was almost as good as done, but 7 months later a real riverboat attraction on the Hillsborough River was announced.  By summer of 1959, it had been decided to use a Mississippi-style packet boat with churn wheel to give rides on the Hillsborough River.  Large enough to hold 30 passengers, the maiden voyage from Davis Islands to Lowry Park took place on Jun. 20th at 10 a.m. with Mayor Nick Nuccio and a party of officials on board.  A police boat escorted the boat to Fairyland where the mayor officially opened the new attraction.

Little Fairy Queen riverboat ride at Lowry Park, Hillsborough River, circa 1960s postcard.
From Etsy.com Pecan Hill Postcards

 


The Little Fairy Queen's first day on the job and she was late.  But not by her fault, the Tribune notes that there was a stiff river current and that the boat "was weighted down almost to the sinking point by plump city dignitaries, including Mayor Nuccio who made the initial trip."  Traffic slowed on many bridges as motorists were surprised to see such a strange-looking sight.  "Pretty girls attired in bright dresses that would have been in style in a pre-Civil War plantation dance were at the dock to greet Mayor Nuccio and other members of his party."  The article gives times of operation for the ride but doesn't say what the cost was for a ticket.

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE BANDSHELL

In the fall of 1959 the bandshell was completed at a cost of $20,000, half of which was paid by the Lowry family and the rest by the City.  The performance center was dedicated on Sep. 6, 1959 in memory of the late Dr. Sumter Lowry by by his son, Ret. Gen Sumter Lowry, speaking on behalf of his two brothers, Dr. Blackburn Lowry and Loper Lowry.  The structure had what was thought to be a unique and advanced architectural feature--the ability to automatically force open the back doors before wind pressure was high enough to rip the roof off the building.  After the dedication, a musical program was presented by the Guido Accordian Band.   Mayor Nuccio was presented with the original score to "The Fairyland March," a composition written especially for the occasion by Francis W. Thompkins, director of the Moose Band.

Unfortunately, its unique design did not include toilet facilities.

 

 

 

The Ferris Wheel Caper was filmed at Lowry Park in 1962 and starred local (WFLA TV channel 8) kid's TV show host Uncle Bruce (Bruce Rodrick), along with Little Mike (his ventriloquist dummy) and sidekick Barney Bungelupper (Jerry Martin).  It has been split up into 6 videos on the Barneytheclown YouTube site and embedded here for your convenience.  All videos feature the Ferris wheel.

 

 

Chapter 1 gives a good view of the original Lowry Park sign and surrounding neighborhood, including the intersection of Sligh Avenue and North Blvd.

Also featured are the rainbow bridge to Fairyland, Humpty Dumpty, the seal pools, the Ferris wheel, a brief glimpse of the old navy bomber plane, a park structure and phone booth.

 

 

 

Chapter 2 shows the seals in the seal pool enclosure, the trained animal show by Bill O'Harris with baby elephant Sheena and chimpanzee Suzie, and occasional views of the audience.  Various parts of Fairyland can be seen in the background, and children are shown posing on Sheena with Suzie behind them.

 

 

  Chapter 3 & 4 features the old P2V-2 Navy bomber "Fairyland Song Bird", the miniature train ride that circled Fairyland, Peter Rabbit's home in Fairyland, Mr. O'Harris training a pony, and Suzie the chimp trying to open a padlock and playing in a bucket.

  Chapter 5 shows Ferris wheel owner Mr. Jones, a refreshment stand with kid's level service window, the roller coaster entrance ramp, and a view of 2 amusement rides including the carousel.

  Chapter 6 mainly features the Ferris wheel, with a short segment that shows the playground monkey bars.

   

Chapter 7 shows the playground and possibly an animal shelter, the sprint car go karts, Suzie the chimp and trainer Bill O'harris,

 

 

FAMILY PICNICS & REUNIONS

Cannella family Italian dinner reunion at the shelters at Lowry Park, mid-1960s. The shelters were located on the east side of Lowry Park's zoo and Fairyland, east of North Blvd.  Families included, but not limited to, Cannella, Cutro, Gullo, and Palori.  Photos provided by Steve Cannella, who said: "My father arrived early in the morning and 'claimed' the cabana. Back then, just sitting on the cabana waiting for the family to arrive pretty much gave one 'legal' right to it.
 

 


Cannella family Italian dinner reunion at the shelters at Lowry Park, mid-1960s. The shelters were located on the east side
of Lowry Park's zoo and Fairyland, east of North Blvd.  Families included, but not limited to, Cannella, Cutro, Gullo, and Palori. 
Photos provided by Steve Cannella. 


Cannella family Italian dinner reunion at the shelters at Lowry Park, mid-1960s. The shelters were located on the east side
of Lowry Park's zoo and Fairyland, east of North Blvd.  Families included, but not limited to, Cannella, Cutro, Gullo, and Palori. 
Photos provided by Steve Cannella. 

 

 


Cannella family Italian dinner reunion at the shelters at Lowry Park, mid-1960s. The shelters were located on the east side
of Lowry Park's zoo and Fairyland, east of North Blvd.  Families included, but not limited to, Cannella, Cutro, Gullo, and Palori.  Photos provided by Steve Cannella, seen here in front row, just right of center. 

 


Time to eat!  Cannella family Italian dinner reunion at the shelters at Lowry Park, mid-1960s. The shelters were located on the east side of Lowry Park's zoo and Fairyland, east of North Blvd.  Families included, but not limited to, Cannella, Cutro, Gullo, and Palori.  Photos provided by Steve Cannella. Stay tuned for future identification of each person.
 

 

HERMAN

 

 

 

 

In 1971, Lowry Park's zoo received a donation of two, 5-year-old chimpanzees.  One would become the zoo's longest-lived resident.  For 35 years, Herman would be the subject of much attention by zoo guests, and keepers alike. 

 

Read about the life of Herman, from his birth in Liberia in 1966, how he came to the U.S. and to Lowry Park, his donor's only two requirements, the terrible zoo conditions for his first 16 years at the old zoo, his antics, and the tragic end to his life in 2006.  Here on this separate page: 

 

Herman - the King of Lowry Park Zoo

 

   

 


Presidential rally for Jimmy Carter at Lowry Park
Oct. 18, 1976

 


An estimated 10,000 residents showed up for Jimmy Carter's rally at Lowry Park, Oct. 18, 1976.
Photo taken from behind the podium.  Notice the "Rowdies love Jimmy!" sign.

Tampa Bay Times archives photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo


Entertaining the crowd at Jimmy Carter's rally at Lowry Park, Oct. 18, 1976.
Tampa Bay Times archives photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

   

Senator Lawton Chiles speaking to the crowd and being upstaged by a very bizarre looking peanut man figure at the Carter Rally, Lowry Park, Oct. 18, 1976.  After his term as U.S. Senator, "Walkin' Lawton" became Florida Governor from 1991 to 1998. Tampa Bay Times archives photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter at his rally, Lowry Park, Oct. 18, 1976. Tampa Bay Times archives photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

An elderly man sits to get comfortable at the rally for Carter in Lowry Park, Oct. 18, 1976. Tampa Bay Times archives photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

A man sits in a tree in order to view the rally for Carter at Lowry Park. Tampa Bay Times archives photo courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

 

These beautiful photos below were taken in October of 1979 by Linda Perdue, now of  VP Shoots Photography.  Linda, along with Jim Vargas, specialize in pet and family photography, and have over 30 years of experience in the corporate world with all types of photography.  Linda took these when she was just 17, about a year after getting her first "real camera," and did a fantastic job.  These particular photos are displayed on their blog here at "Remember Fairy Land at Lowry Park?" where you can read Linda's comments and thoughts on these photos. 

Thank you Linda for allowing TampaPix to display your memorable photographs!

The pristine condition of the Rainbow Bridge indicates that it had been recently repainted.
Photo courtesy of Linda Perdue, Oct. 1979.

 

"Cinderella in Rags" - Oct. 1979.  Photo by and courtesy of Linda Perdue.
Notice the gleaming gold crown of the fairy godmother.

 

"Cinderella in her coach" - Oct. 1979.  Photo by and courtesy of Linda Perdue.

 

The third little pig of "The Three Little Pigs" and his mighty fine house!
Oct. 1979.  Photo by and courtesy of Linda Perdue.

 


The really big shoe of "The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe."
Oct. 1979.  Photo by and courtesy of Linda Perdue.

 

Humpty Dumpty, all dressed up and nowhere to go--except down!
(The castle wall appears to be a bit worn and moldy.  Compare to later photos with different color scheme.)
Oct. 1979.  Photo by and courtesy of Linda Perdue.

 

Visit the VP Shoots website

 

 

Joette Giovinco around 1980 with her daughter Ranielle at the Fairyland Railroad station.
Photo provided by Joette Giovinco.

 

 

 

 

The following photos of the Tampa Catholic High School Majorettes and Dancerettes at Lowry Park's Fairyland were taken by Ralph Owen Dennis and published in the TC 1982 yearbook "Crusader."  Ralph shared them in a Facebook group named "You know your [sic] from Tampa when..." some time ago and were recently brought to the attention of TampaPix by Kimi Lau-Costanzo. 

At the time Ralph posted them, he wrote "Seeing pictures of Lowry Park, I remembered that I had saved these shots of the Tampa Catholic Dance team and twirlers from 1982. I scanned them and thought I would add them here.....maybe one of the ladies is watching this group..........ENJOY!"

Kimi also provided the information about the students in the photos.  Thank you Kimi and Ralph for sharing these great photos!

 

The Tampa Catholic High School Dancerettes and Majorettes at Lowry Park's Fairyland, 1982.
TC Dancerettes with Majorettes Left, Sabrina Posey Right, Linda Rossiter.
Photo by Ralph Owen Dennis.

 


The Tampa Catholic High School Majorettes (L) Sabrina Posey, (R) Linda Rossiter, at the "really big shoe" Fairyland, 1982.
Photo by Ralph Owen Dennis.

 


The Tampa Catholic High School Dancerettes and Majorettes at Humpty Dumpty,  Fairyland, 1982.
Photo by Ralph Owen Dennis.
 


The Tampa Catholic High School Dancerettes and Majorettes with Cinderella in her coach,  Fairyland, 1982.
Photo by Ralph Owen Dennis.
 

 

   

Cindee Haze (wearing boots) with her mom and sisters, 1987
Photo courtesy of Cindee Haze

Cindee Haze (standing, center) with her sisters, 1987
Photo courtesy of Cindee Haze

Cindee Haze (at left) with her sisters, 1987
Photo courtesy of Cindee Haze

Cindee Haze's sister, 1987
Photo courtesy of Cindee Haze

   

      

Cinderella's fairy godmother and the kiddie train, 1987, courtesy of Cindee Haze,

 

 


May 19, 1965
Old #1147 steam locomotive at the Fairyland Railroad station.
Read about the history of this engine, and see more photos, here.
TBT archives photo
 

Read about how the Lowry Park choo-choo train got from here....

Green Bay, Florida, 1907 - The Florida Phosphate Mining Corp.
1907 photo c
ourtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory project. https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/4404

To here...


The Tampa Catholic High School Dancerettes on the choo choo train,  Fairyland, 1982.
(L-R) Michelle Barreiro, Aileen DeArmas, Jama Coley, Anna Vito, Jenny Sincell, Candyce Forrester,
Lori Giglio, Myra Pita, Nga Nguyen, Christina Vasquez, Celeste Liccio.
Thanks to Kimi Lau-Costanzo for providing the names from her TC yearbook.
Photo by Ralph Owen Dennis.

To here...

The Zephyrhills Express is located about 27 miles northwest of Tampa on US Hwy 301, just south of Zephyrhills.

Here at TampaPix
The Lowry Park Choo-Choo Train

 

 

THE NEW ZOO AND FAIRYLAND WALK AT FUN FOREST

The rejuvenated first phase of the revamped zoo opened on March 5, 1988 with a Free-Flight Aviary, Asian Domain, Primate World and a Children's Village/Petting Zoo. 

Fairyland returned, along with the original rainbow bridge entrance (without the large pool), as the Fairyland walk at the "Fun Forest," with many of the original storybook character statues having been cleaned up, or repaired and repainted, and possibly even replaced or removed. 

Riding a camel at the newly opened zoo, Mar. 6, 1988.

TBT archives photo courtesy
of Kimi Lau-Costanzo

 

 

More than 614,000 people visited the Zoo during its first 12 months after reopening.

 

Ralph Alday of Tampa's City Parks Dept. puts finishing touches on the newly refurbished Fairyland walk at Lowry Park, Sept. 1989. 
Photo from Historic Images.

By February of 1992 the newly renovated park consisted of the zoo, amusement park, Fun Forest with Fairyland walk, and new Children's Museum (formerly Safety Village) adjacent to it. Admission to the Lowry Park Zoo was $5.50 for adults, $3.50 for children 4 to 12 and $4.50 for the elderly (children 3 and younger free). The newly built zoo had 1,600 animals in enclosures designed to resemble native habitats, and attractions included a 175-bird aviary and an underwater view of a manatee. There was also a children's petting zoo and the fountain at the entrance where they could wade.

Fun Forest at Lowry Park had 19 rides as well as a playground and the "Fairyland" walk.  Admission to the amusement park was free, but it took three tickets to board each of the rides; individual tickets cost was 40 cents, a 20-ticket book was $6.95 and an all-day wristband was $9.95.

(1992 NY Times article:  What's Doing In Tampa, by Tampa resident Sara Kennedy; Published: February 2, 1992.  Recent zoo history from Lowry Park Zoo website.  Sept 4, 1987 Visit the Zoo Before the Gates Close  Conclusion) 

 

 

 


Fun Forest banner from seller Amusement Park Man at
Fun Forest Memorabilia on EBAY

Reggie Bonner Jr. in 1987 and 1989 with two of the three little pigs.
Photo courtesy of Melissa Bonner.


LEFT

July 21, 1988

A small picnic and concession stand area at Lowry Park looking like it was overlooked with the zoo improvements.  This may have been an area of Fairyland destined for removal.

Tampa Bay Times Archives photo  courtesy of Kimi Lau-Costanzo.

RIGHT
May 10, 1989
Donna Sollecito and her 5-year-old son Michael Little ride one of the elephants at Lowry Park Zoo. Walking along side is zoo attendant Tom Clifton

 

Jaime Kile at the Little Red Schoolhouse, "Fairyland Walk at Fun Forest" circa 1990-91.
Photo courtesy of Jaime.

Jaime Kile at the 3 Little Pigs "Fairyland Walk at Fun Forest" circa 1990-91. Photo courtesy of Jaime.

   

  

Staci Randall with the little pig who made his house from brick, 1992.
Photo courtesy of her aunt, Jeannette Tamborello

   

Mary Salario's daughter, Katie, 1995.
Photo courtesy of Mary Lang Salario.

Mary Salario's daughter, Katie, 1995.
Photo courtesy of Mary Lang Salario.

   

Tina Follick at Fairyland Walk, 1995, courtesy of Tina.

Tina Follick at Fairyland Walk, 1995, courtesy of Tina.

   

Tina Follick at Fairyland Walk, 1995, courtesy of Tina.

 

Tina Follick at Fairyland Walk, 1995, courtesy of Tina.

 


Tina Follick at Fairyland Walk, 1995, courtesy of Tina.


Fun Forest banner from seller Amusement Park Man at
Fun Forest Memorabilia on EBAY

 

Fun Forest with Fairyland Walk

  
Fun Forest cut-outs from seller Amusement Park Man at
Fun Forest Memorabilia on EBAY


Images below are screen shots from this You Tube video (starting a little after 6 minute mark) taken in 1996.
Here you can see the repainted rainbow bridge and some of the Fairyland characters still in use.

 

The large fountain was reduced considerably.

Wheelchair ramp access to the Fun Forest  
     

Same structure as the original bridge The foot of the Rainbow bridge Cinderella's pumpkin coach and horses
     

Hickory dickory dock Toadstools and little red schoolhouse Three Little Pigs homes
     

House made of brick Toadstools and partial view of Old Lady's shoe New Magic Dragon roller coaster/cars.
 


Trudy Burney Reis's son and his two daughters at the Rainbow Bridge, 1999.
Photo courtesy of Trudy Burney Reis.


Put your cursor on the image.
Fun Forest "face-in-hole" display measures 8 ft. x 12 ft.
From seller Amusement Park Man at
Fun Forest Memorabilia on EBAY

 

Fairyland (at the Fun Forest) and the Rainbow Bridge were removed by the Zoo sometime after 1996 and probably by early 1997 due to space needs for creation of the "Zoo School" and safety concerns, respectively. The city deemed the Rainbow Bridge to be a "safety hazard" and so it was demolished.  The storybook character figures were, for the most part, sent to a City of Tampa storage lot where they sat deteriorating for about 20 years, forgotten, or so it seemed. The amusement park rides were auctioned off, as seen in this 1997 brochure from eBay.

   

 

          

 

WHERE WAS THE RAINBOW BRIDGE?

According to zoo public relations department, the land formerly utilized by Fairyland/Fun Forest became the Florida Environmental Education Center (or Zoo School), which serves children, teachers and parents with innovative environmental education programs year-round.

But TampaPix is not so sure of that.  According to what appears very much to have been the flamingo pond, the Rainbow Bridge would have been west of it, between the Guest Services Kiosk and the pond, with Fairyland having occupied the dense area of trees seen between the kiosk and the Zoo School.

Tampa resident and Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa board member Patricia C. Sullivan, a former school teacher, provided a $1 million leadership gift for the construction of Zoo School. Additionally, the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation provided a $500,000 grant and is the namesake for the Lecture Hall.

This present-day aerial map shows the most likely site that was occupied by the Rainbow Bridge given that there was an adjacent flamingo pond.  It appears that the Guest Services kiosk, not the Zoo School, was built where the bridge once stood.

In 2008, construction was completed on an annex that provides additional classrooms for expanding youth/teen programs and office space. The new annex was made possible by Patricia C. Sullivan, the Thomas Family, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Senator Mel Martinez.

BUT FAIRYLAND WAS NOT FORGOTTEN BY TAMPA'S YOUNG AT HEART

 

Read about Saving Fairyland



Yours truly at Lowry Park; sitting on the benches at the band shell, Easter Sunday, April 18, 1965.


Lowry Park Beginnings

 

The Courthouse Fountain & Sulphur Springs zoos

 

Plant Park Zoo

 

Boyd's Sunoco Zoo

 

Fairyland

 

Fairyland/Lowry Park Zoo

 

Sheena the Baby Elephant & Jim Godfrey

Herman - King of the Zoo

 

Safety Village / Children's Museum / Kids City

 

Dr. Bragg's Fantasia Golf

 

Saving Fairyland!

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