77-year-old Roadside Animal Attraction Closes

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) -- One of the last Old Florida-style roadside animal attractions in the state has closed its doors to the public.
Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs closed Saturday.
Lester Piper started the park in 1936 with panther cubs, alligators and snakes. Later, when the menagerie was owned by Piper's grandson David Piper, it claimed to have the largest crocodile in captivity in the world -- Big Joe was more than 1,200 pounds.
But David Piper was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor and decided to close the park and sell the land and all of the animals.
On Monday, Piper told the Fort Myers News-Press that he will call zoos and collectors interested in his animals and artifacts.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
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