Tarpon Springs, Florida: Spongeorama
See the movie, wander the museum, and learn about our blobby squishy friend, the natural sponge. Roadsideamerica.com Report... [11/18/2012]
Spongeorama: Diver's Nightmare
What happens when a deep sea diver ascends too quickly, then spends 45 years in a display at the free Sponge Museum? A photo collage. Roadsideamerica.com Report... [11/18/2012]
Visitor Tips and News About Spongeorama
After reading the Roadside America tips on this place, my sister and I knew we had to stop on our trip to Florida. The "museum" consists of a series of dark hallways full of dioramas telling the the history of the sponge industry in Florida. The deteriorated dioramas with life-size mannequins trapped in dusty cases could easily have been in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Then you notice the rotting wooden posts and termite-damaged frames holding the whole thing up. We got the feeling this place has been passed on to a generation who has no interest in keeping it up... so run, don't walk to to this place before it collapses into the sea.[Mary, 03/28/2016]
The past-its-expiration-date infrastructure of Spongeorama is part of its charm, and really does convey the shadowy terror of sponge diving.
Although the owner showed us the movie, and the building was open, the diorama/museum part was closed when we were there around December 20, 2014. I had called first to ask if they were open, but you need to ask, "Is the entire museum open with the dioramas, etc.?" The owner said they'd be re-opening some time after Christmas (I wanted to jump the rope to get into the museum to see the dramatization of the victim of "the bends").
The movie is a hoot -- it reminded me of a Roger Corman sci-fi flick -- but it was informative. The people are very nice there.
Tarpon Springs is a quaint little harbor town; a day trip is definitely suggested. They have lots of restaurants and gift shops. You can see the boats with sponges drying on lines. The people were very friendly. There were beautiful mosaic tile scenes of sponge divers.[Kim G., 01/04/2015]
A museum populated by aging mannequin dioramas that demonstrate random acts of sponginess. Walk through it alone, I dare you; it's scarier than any haunted house.
The first mannequin isn't doing much for women's lib; her job is to display how to deliver a husband's lunch. She is, however, unintentionally missing a hand and partially scalped (though her hipster glasses still make her look pretty).
Soon after there's a display full of... well, it doesn't matter, because I couldn't look past the wooden frame being devoured by termites.
Then there's the famous "Sponge Diver's Nightmare" -- a display of a diver mannequin dying from the bends. But let's be frank, the real "nightmare" is the mannequin's unfortunate fate of being trapped in this museum, slowly deteriorating, with no end to its tragic existence in sight.
This place is fantastic. Run, don't walk, get there now.[Geo, 08/10/2014]
For decades Spongeorama has inspired both fear and fascination among those who visit it. We hope it never changes.