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
I took a new group of people to see Sponge-O-Rama, the film, and view the Museum of Sponges. The film was all I remembered it to be (Two men... alone in a boat... with nothing but a bucket and hook... and the endless sea....) but when I went to go traipse down the decaying aisles of the museum, I was horrified to find it was closed. They'd put tropical-themed shower curtains over the doorway and blocked it with bins. We were told that it had been damaged in a hurricane in September (entirely possible given the amount of termites living in the displays) but would not tell us if they had plans to reopen. I am heartbroken.[Irene Ferris, 03/27/2017]
The museum was closed due to "hurricane damage." The staff seemed disgruntled when we stated that the museum was our main reason for stopping by. When we asked which hurricane, we were told that it was "the one in September." I wouldn't hold up high hopes for the museum's reopening. Side note: We selected a couple of sponges from the yellow (cheaper) sponge bin for purchase, but were told at the desk that they were really wool sponges that someone must have put in there erroneously, and were charged the higher price. Be forewarned to be a smart shopper![Jolly Padrida, 02/27/2017]
Spongeorama has a murky history of vaguely-explained closings and unsympathetic staff. Access to it may be tied to individual visitors' willingness to buy stuff.
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.