Jerome Pohlen

Oddball Florida
A Guide to Some Really
Strange Places

Chicago Review Press, Chicago, IL, 2004

Beneath the glossy sparkle of Disney World and the palm tree-lined sandy beaches, there's a lot of weird stuff going on in Florida. Pohlen, an oddball travel connoisseur (he’s penned Oddball books on Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana), tells readers where to find, among other attractions, an art museum dedicated to painted bowling balls; a shop that sells shellacked alligator heads and google-eyed frogs made from clam shells; and a cemetery where dead fighting cocks are buried. Pohlen splits the book into regions and gives specifics for each site. While there are plenty of peculiar places listed here (e.g., a sinkhole in Winter Park, where, one night in 1981, an auto repair shop, a home, a Laundromat and a swimming pool all disappeared), many sites aren’t odd at all. The Kennedy Space Center, for example, is “a place where nerds with pocket protectors, the ones who push the boundaries of human exploration, are given the respect they deserve.” Other entries are just places where famous incidents took place, such as the mall where Jennifer Capriati got busted for shoplifting.

306 pages, 5.5 x 8.7 inches