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Four Movies Starring Florida's Wild Side

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Creatures from the beyond, a Jim Carrey flick, and a star-studded, action-packed race thriller all feature components of the Florida Wildlife Corridor

Production set in Bill Baggs State park on the foot of the Cape Florida lighthouse.

With Florida’s varied natural offerings appearing in countless box office hits, it’s no surprise that the Sunshine State has become a favorite filming destination for many of Hollywood’s biggest names. From the scenic beaches on the coast to the exotic wildlife roaming inland, films of any category and type — action, comedy, sci-fi and more — can find a setting that sets the stage for the story. 

These four films are just a handful of those that co-star — or are near — the Corridor. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a famous actor or director to Live Wildly and make the Corridor part of your own Florida experience.

Cocoon (1985)

In this sci-fi classic, an alien race called the Antareans return to earth, to Florida specifically, after thousands of years to retrieve pods of their own kind. During their interactions with humans, a group of retirees find that swimming in the Antareans’ pool makes them younger, leading to both tension and cooperation between the two species. The senior citizens, imbued with this new life force, embrace their wild sides. 

Filmed in St. Petersburg, the movie is proximate to several Corridor locations in central Florida, including Crystal River State Preserve Park, the Manatee Capital of the World, and Silver Springs State Park — great spots for retirees and kids alike. 

Filmed in St. Petersburg, the movie is proximate to several Corridor locations in central Florida, including Crystal River State Preserve Park, the Manatee Capital of the World, and Silver Springs State Park — great spots for retirees and kids alike. 

The Truman Show (1998)

Unbeknownst to Truman Burbank, played by Jim Carrey, his entire life has been a 24/7 television show. The hometown he’s never left is an island-sized set. To create that seaside vibe, the movie was, in fact, filmed in a beachside Panhandle community called Seaside. If Truman had ever been given the chance to venture out, he could have explored the Corridor.  

Take advantage of what Truman — stuck on an island — couldn’t and get out to the nearby natural beauty of places such as Blackwater River State Forest just a two-hour drive from Seaside. 

Take advantage of what Truman — stuck on an island — couldn’t and get out to the nearby natural beauty of places such as Blackwater River State Forest just a two-hour drive from Seaside. 

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

This standard of the midcentury monster-movie genre may be set in the Amazon but was actually filmed in northeastern Florida throughout the Rice Creek Recreation Area, a favorite site in the Corridor.  

Don’t let the spookiness of the lurking Gill-man scare off a visit to the region: There are lots of spots where you can dive in (or stay on dry land) - including the Farles Lake Recreation Area and Grassy Pond. 

Don’t let the spookiness of the lurking Gill-man scare off a visit to the region: There are lots of spots where you can dive in (or stay on dry land) - including the Farles Lake Recreation Area and Grassy Pond. 

Days of Thunder (1990)

This box-office draw had it all: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, NASCAR. The two stars meet and fall for each other in Daytona Beach, following an accident by Cruise’s character, Cole Trickle, on the famous speedway, commencing a romance that eventually propels Trickle to win the Daytona 500.

Traveling the distance of about three laps around the track — or roughly eight miles — from the speedway is the Tiger Bay State Forest, wetlands that are home to species of birds native to the area, such as Bachman’s sparrows and wood storks. 

Traveling the distance of about three laps around the track — or roughly eight miles — from the speedway is the Tiger Bay State Forest, wetlands that are home to species of birds native to the area, such as Bachman’s sparrows and wood storks. 

So hop in the car, but don’t floor it, and explore everything the Corridor has to offer. 

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With your help, we can ensure that Floridian flora, fauna, and fun will thrive for many years to come.

Join the movement to save the Florida Wildlife Corridor.


Econfina Creek
Photo by Carlton Ward, Jr.
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