Ever imagined making a splash in the real Black Lagoon? It actually exists, frozen in time nearly just as it was when “The Creature of the Black Lagoon” was shot back in 1954. A classic monster fan’s ultimate oasis, Wakulla Springs State Park and its adjacent lodge serves as the perfect getaway for gill-man lovers.
Located just outside of Tallahassee, the lodge is a time capsule of the late 1930s. With its art deco and Mediterranean Revival stylings and cypress laden lobby, the lodge harkens back to simpler times. In fact you won’t find a TV in any of the rooms. Instead guests are too busy gazing at the grounds with its bountiful canopies of oak and beech.
The Black Lagoon
The lodge sits steps away from the Wakulla River, which doubled for the Amazon in the movie. Guests dip into the freshwater spring, which has a year-round temperature of 68 degrees. A diving platform sends jumpers right down into the spot where many of the underwater scenes were filmed. Make like actor Ricou Browning, who played the underwater Creature, and cut through the lush hydrilla.
Don’t miss a boat tour along the river starring gators, manatees, turtles and a variety of feathered friends. The amazing scenery has served as the backdrop for classic cinema, including “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” and “Tarzan’s New York Adventure.”
Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be had in the Ball Room Dining Room, which manages to retain a happy medium somewhere between Southern ease and elegance. Its classic soda fountain has been dubbed The Black Lagoon Parlour, where ice cream scoops reign during the day and cocktails come out at night.
The Black Lagoon Ball
On October 30, the lodge hosts The Black Lagoon Ball. This free event drops at 7 p.m. It begins with an unveiling of a cast from a mold the late Muppet creator Jim Henson made from the original Creature head designed by Millicent Patrick. “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” in 3D will screen in the parlour at 7:30 p.m.. The Bill Rigsby Band performs an outdoor concert while Bob Carey tickles the ivories in the lobby. If you come, cover those webbed feet with dancing shoes. Costumes are optional.
If You Go
When booking reservations at the lodge, ask the front desk representatives to comb through the guest book. They’ll be able to find out which rooms the cast members bunked in during filming, so you can lay your head in the same spot Browning or co-stars Richard Carlson and Julie Adams did during the shoot.
The Lodge at Wakulla Springs, 550 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla Springs. 850-421-2000, www.wakullaspringslodge.com.