Because of it’s warm weather and tropical appeal, tourists have been flocking to Florida ever since the late 1800’s and soon thereafter the golden age of Florida tourism began. Long before Disney, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios and Seaworld gave Florida the reputation of theme park capitol of the world, the roadside attraction became a phenomenon as a popular way to entertain Florida’s growing number of visitors. After the big theme parks started moving in, most of these roadside attractions were all but forgotten, but a few found a way to hold on and survive.
John and I found one such attraction in our Florida Journey when traveling through Brooksville. Boyett’s Grove started out as a fruit stand where the northern tourists could buy fresh, Florida famous citrus, straight from the grove. This was until the 1960’s when a severe freeze wiped out most of the grove, and needing a way to keep the business going and the tourists coming, Boyette’s grove began to evolve, adding attraction after attraction until it became what it is today.
John and I were immediately met with skepticism when we entered the front door into the advertised “tacky” gift shop. Yes, it was as advertised and crammed full of tacky. The building is old and has a bit of a musty smell and mine and John’s first impression was to turn around and walk out. But we decided since we made the drive, we might as well give it a chance.
Boyett’s Grove is in rural Florida and the staff is very country and being very country they met us with great hospitality and courtesy. We had no idea of what to expect but thankfully a staff member explained in great detail about what we were going to experience.
After having just walked through the “tacky” gift shop we were a little surprised to see the sharp contrast of some very detailed and artful exhibits throughout the building. Little did we know that we would be viewing the work of an award winning artist but of course James Oleson’s work would be there, he is after all the owners son.
There are a hodgepodge of exhibits throughout Boyett’s Grove Citrus Attraction, everything from Florida Cracker history to citrus packing history, to an amazing room filled with 3D artwork and there is even a pre-historic animatronic dinosaur cave.
The exhibits inside the building is just the beginning of this adventure because after the inside walk through, you are guided toward the backdoor that takes you out to the feeding zoo. Yes, I said feeding zoo because while you are walking through the exhibits a staff member is busy preparing your bag of goodies to take out to some new adorable friends you are going to make.
If the exhibits inside and the wildlife zoo outside is not enough to keep your family entertained, there is also indoor mini golf, gold mining, a fossil dig and an ice cream shop. Oh and yes, they still sell, pack and ship fruit fresh from the grove.
This attraction is quirky, sometimes cheesy and if you have kids I am absolutely sure they will find it exciting and fun. It is not an attraction for everyone as you have to give it somewhat of the benefit of the doubt because it does have it’s flaws. It is an older attraction with areas that show it’s age. However, if you find enjoyment in the different, quirky and somewhat tacky old roadside attractions then you will definitely find hours of fun here.
Admission Pricing – Mini Golf with the Wildlife Park, Dinosaur Cave & Aviary for only $10.95 Package, including Wildlife Park/Dinosaur Cave/Aviary & Mini Golf & DinoMight Gold Mine $15.95. Large bag of animal food to feed the animals $4.95
Boyett’s Grove and Citrus Attraction is located at 4355 Spring Lake Highway
Brooksville, FL 34601 Hours: Mon-Sun: 10 am-5 pm
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