If you are in Central Florida & especially in the Sarasota area, you should make the trip to the east to Ona. Out in the middle of fields & swamps is the small kingdom of Howard Solomon, where you can see Solomon’s Castle (Website).
Howard is a world renowned sculptor who decided to buy some land in Florida, during the dry season! After moving there, he found that during the rainy season most of his land was a swamp. To build up an area for his home he dug a very large hole
which became the “sea” for his very large pirate ship! It has cannons and a gang plank! It is also, now, a great place for some lunch and leads to the garden patio where parties are held and a band was playing the day I visited!
Howard’s sculptures are mostly made from everyday items that have been discarded, like old engines, washing machines, fans, etc. The “castle” is the biggest sculpture! It is his home, gallery & gift shop.
The exterior skin of Solomon’s Castle is made from used printing plates. There are a number of different stained glass windows all of which are part of various themes.
The galleries are full of all sorts of really interesting sculptures and there is a funny story behind each one of them which the guides share with the group as they take you through the collection. They have also included the sculptures of some of Howard’s friends.
You can wander around the grounds and there are additional buildings including Howard’s workshop, storage areas and even a replica of the Alamo! There are a couple of bridges he built that are on a Nature Trail through his land.
There all kinds of items for sale in the gift shops that Howard has made, small to large! The day I was there Howard was manning the shop & his wife was the tour guide through the galleries! She even took us through a part of their home to show us the custom cabinets in her kitchen that Howard had made. He even had a wall of planes in the hallway!
This is one of those strange but so very interesting roadside attractions Florida is known for. I would highly recommend a visit & lunch!!
Please check out my website for these and additional images.
That is all for now!