4 Fun Roadside Attractions in Florida

roadside attractions Florida | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

Florida has a wealth of fun, quirky, and eccentric roadside attractions. Here are four that will brighten up your next road trip through the Sunshine State.

The Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The Mermaids of Weeki Wachee in Spring Hills have been a popular attraction since 1947. These performers are as close as you can get to a real mermaid — the ladies dazzle guests with underwater acrobatics and choreographed routines. Photo-ops allow you to take the memories with you.

Spongeorama Sponge Factory

The Spongeorama Sponge Factory claims to be the Sponge Capital of the World. It boasts the world’s largest collection of natural sea sponges. Stop in at Tarpon Springs to learn all about sea sponges and the industry around them.

Skunk Ape Research Headquarters

In Ochopee, Dave Shealy has spent the majority of his life looking for the elusive and mysterious Skunk Ape. Known in the south by names like swampsquatch, stink ape, and swamp cabbage man, Shealy set up the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters so visitors could learn more about the mythical Florida creature.

Potter’s Wax Museum

Potter’s Wax Museum, located in St. Augustine, is the oldest wax museum in the country. Come and walk with presidents and first ladies, mingle with legends like Michael Jackson, see famous characters like Harry Potter and Jack Sparrow, and get your picture taken with Einstein or Babe Ruth.

And with all good roadside attractions, don’t forget to visit the gift shop before you leave to grab a souvenir!

Ready for adventure? Come to Tropical Ford, and we’ll help you find the perfect vehicle for your needs.

Fun Ford Inventions

Fun Ford Inventions | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

Ford has a history of designing creative inventions to aid with everyday life, many of which have nothing to do with cars. Each of these quirky designs demonstrates a technology feature the automaker has used to improve its vehicles.

The Self-Braking Shopping Cart

As Ford sees it, runaway shopping carts and overenthusiastic children can make a trip to the store potentially destructive. Kids can take the cart for a joy ride, or parents can lose control when distracted. To fix this dilemma, the engineers at Ford built a shopping cart with their Pre-Collision Assist technology installed. The sleek cart can sense obstacles ahead and brake before impact.

Max Motors Dream Cot

The old trick of taking a fussy baby for a drive to lull them to sleep comes condensed into a stylish, immobile cot. The Max Motors Dream Cot simulates an evening drive with soft engine noise, gentle movements like turns on the road, and soft orange lights to mimic passing streetlights.

Ford Kennel

Showcasing the Active Noise Control system used to reduce road noise, Ford developed a dog kennel to block out noises like fireworks to ease pets’ anxieties. The system, wrapped in an ultra-modern design, uses anti-vibration risers, noise-cancelling audio, and acoustic isolation panels to wrap pups in a cocoon of peace.

Want to see some Ford automotive innovations? Visit us at Tropical Ford.

New Trademark Filing Suggests Development of New “Baby Bronco”

2020 Ford Bronco | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

Recently, car enthusiasts of all varieties have been increasingly excited over the return of the legendary Ford Bronco in the form of the all-new 2020 Ford Bronco. For 30 years, the Bronco was one of the world’s leading 4×4 SUVs, boasting now-classic styling and incredible capability. And now Bronco fans have even more to get revved up about, as a new trademark request filed by Ford might suggest the coming of a new “Baby Bronco” called the Ford Bronco Scout.

Ford recently filed to trademark the “Scout” and “Bronco Scout” nameplates. And while it’s not unheard of for auto brands to apply for trademarks simply to have rights to them, it makes a lot of sense to speculate that a reveal might be close at hand for the Bronco Scout.

With reports that Ford will soon release a smaller crossover styled after the all-new Bronco being dubbed the “Baby Bronco,” it seems likely that the “Bronco Scout” nameplate could be used to designate just such a vehicle. After all, the Scout name is unmistakably reminiscent of the International Harvester Scout, another 4×4 smiler to the original Ford Bronco. For now, though, we’ll have to content ourselves with the coming release of the all-new 2020 Ford Bronco while keeping an ear to the ground for what’s to come next.

Come check out the latest Ford innovations at Tropical Ford!

Check out These Awesome Orlando Lakes on your Next Road Trip

Best Lakes Orlando | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

Incredible weather? Check. Amazing destination? Check. Huge variety? Check. The Orlando, Florida area has all of the ingredients needed for the perfect summer road trip. And now that you’ve for a new Ford to match, you’re all set. This summer, check out some of our favorite lakes near Orlando and get ready to fall back in love with the joy of driving.

Lake Eola

Whether you’re a yearlong resident or just visiting, Lake Eola is an Orlando mainstay, and for good reason. Located right in the heart of downtown Orlando, Lake Eola is surrounded by great restaurants and other fun activities the whole family will love.

Lake Killarney

Located in Winter Park, just north of Orlando, Lake Killarney is the perfect single-day road trip behind the wheel of your new Ford. Bring the whole family and rent some paddleboat for a day of fun on the water or relax with a glass of wine and take in the great view.

Lake Tohopekaliga

Lake Toho is one of the largest lakes in all of Florida and is a famous fishing spot amongst locals and traveling sportsmen alike. Adjacent to the beautiful Brinson Park, you could easily spend days at Lake Toho taking in all it has to offer.

Lake Kissimmee

Another excellent lake for fishing and boating, Lake Kissimmee in Osceola County is a great place to fish, float around, or unwind on the shore. With a public boat ramp, you’re welcome to bring your own boat, but fishing is also great right from the marina.

Ready to begin your next adventure? Find the perfect vehicle at Tropical Ford.

Take a Road Trip to Visit the Famed Cherry Smash Ice Cream Shop

Cherry Smash ice cream | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

Let’s say you stopped by our dealership at Tropical Ford and now you have a brand new set of wheels. Where do you take it? Treat yourself to a road trip by visiting one of the most popular old-fashioned ice cream parlors in Florida. The Cherry Smash ice cream shop treats its visitors to striking decor and old-timey nostalgia that is sure to delight every guest before they’ve even tried the ice cream itself.

With black and white checkered floors, wooden counters, neon lights, and Hollywood memorabilia, Cherry Smash is the place to go if you’re looking for a vintage ice cream shop experience. Famous for its massive and delicious ice cream sundaes, Cherry Smash won’t leave you wanting. Try signature treats like the Cherry Smash Sundae, the Elvis, or the Brownie Sundae. There are other nostalgic treats on the menu like a banana split or root beer float, too!

The Cherry Smash ice cream shop might even surprise you with its age. The store isn’t even ten years old, having opened its doors back in 2010. So if you’re looking for a place to drive your new Ford, head to Coral Springs to try some good old-fashioned ice cream sundaes at Cherry Smash.

Need maintenance before hitting the highway? Check out our service department at Tropical Ford.

European Market Welcomes New Ford Transit Sport Van

Ford Transit Sport van

The Ford Transit has long been a staple of the commercial vehicle market thanks to its awesome cargo and passenger capacity. Now, Ford is surprising its European market with new additions to the Transit lineup — three models under the Ford Transit Sport van name. The Custom Sport, Courier Sport, and Connect Sport offer changes like racing stripes, bolder wheel arches, and different powertrains for a more spirited driving experience.

Under the hood, all three variants of the Ford Transit Sport van offer diesel and gasoline engines, though their power output differs depending on the model itself. High-tech connectivity features like Ford Connect and Ford SYNC® 3 are available on the vans, with the Custom Sport capable of connecting up to 10 devices. Also, partial leather seats, a variety of body sizes, and updated semi-autonomous driver assist and alert safety systems allow for even more customization, comfort, and reassurance.

There’s a reason the new Ford Transit Sport van is coming to the European lineup rather than the U.S. market. Ford sells well over twice as many Transit vans in Europe as it does in the United States, with 2018 yielding over 380,000 units sold. With sales continuing on the rise, the introduction of new, sportier models may give those numbers even more of a boost.

Considering a Ford Transit for your fleet? Take a test drive at Tropical Ford.

Built Ford Tough: the Ford F-350 with Over One Million Miles

Ford F-350 with more than one million miles  | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

We know that Ford has pushed the limits on “possible” for quite some time, but even we can’t quite believe this most recent tale of automotive reliability from Ford — a 2002 Ford F-350 with more than one million miles on it.

The Ford in question belonged to Debbie Conner, who, along with her husband Norman, was in the business of transporting trailers and campers back-and-forth across the country. This profession is exactly how she was able to rack up just over 1,071,000 miles on her Ford truck between 2002 and 2018. That’s like driving to the moon and back nearly four and a half times.

Most truck owners would balk at such a high mileage, but it was a badge of honor to the Conners. It was a bittersweet moment for them both when they traded in their trusty F-350 for a 2011 Ford Super Duty F-350 in September. Currently, their new Ford is floating at around 90,000 miles and it’s doing just fine.

Gone are the days of the 100,000-mile death sentence — for Ford owners, at least.

Now, how did the Conners coax their 2002 Ford F-350 into earning more than one million miles? According to Norman, just by “doing what Ford says” and faithfully following the automaker’s suggested maintenance schedule.

 “If you want to get the miles out of it,” says Norman. “You have to take care of the truck.”

See what it means to be Built Ford Tough — check out our selection of vehicles at Tropical Ford.

The Ford Ranger Raptor Earns 4×4 of the Year in Australia

4x4 of the Year | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

We know what it takes to take on the off-roads here in the States, and apparently so do our friends down under — the Australian Motoring Awards recently announced that the Ford Ranger Raptor is Australia’s 2019 4×4 of the Year.

The Ford Ranger Raptor features a 210-horsepower 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, Fox racing shocks, BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires, and Ford’s advanced Terrain Management System. 4×4 Australia, the magazine responsible for selecting each year’s winner,says that the Ford Ranger Raptor is an “enormously fun-to-drive, competent, and capable” off-roading vehicle, perfect “on any back road — the rougher the better — or any 4×4 track.”

Unfortunately, the all-new Ford Ranger Raptor is still unavailable in the United States, but it’s been causing a ruckus across Australia, Europe, and Asia since its release last year. You can expect to see this innovative off-roader on American back roads — and here at Tropical Ford — in the next few years, likely with the release of the next generation of Ford Ranger trucks.

Coming in a close second for the 2019 4×4 of the Year was another Ford Ranger model, the Ford Ranger XLT Bi-Turbo. The last time the title went to a Ford vehicle was in 2015, when the Ford Everest snared the top prize.

Check out Ford’s tough and rugged truck lineup at Tropical Ford.

New Ford Mustang Hybrid Could Receive V8 Engine Option

new Ford Mustang Hybrid | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

The iconic Mustang is the latest well-known model to get a hybrid variant, but it plans to leave preconceived notions of what a “hybrid” is in the past by delivering fast, fun thrills. Much about the new Ford Mustang Hybrid is still shrouded in secret, save for the brief glance of what might be the new car during the recent “Future is Built” commercial. Still, there is one place we can look for more information about what might be coming from Ford — the company’s patents.

Ford recently filed a patent for a hybrid vehicle twin motor system, in which twin electric motors would power the front wheels while a more traditional engine powers the rear wheels. Though not specified in the patent itself, the illustration that goes along with the patent depicts a V8 engine.

That’s where speculation around the aforementioned commercial comes in – if you pause the video at just the right moment, viewers get a glimpse of what’s under the hood, which looks suspiciously like the diagram in the patent.

Experts are wondering if more information on the new Ford Mustang Hybrid will come out on the muscle car’s 55th anniversary this April. Until then, only rumors and patents can give us any insight to what the 2020 hybrid variant will offer.

While the new hybrid Mustang isn’t released yet, check out the rest of the Ford lineup here at Tropical Ford.

Plan a Vacation to This Underwater Hotel in Florida

underwater hotel in Florida | Tropical Ford Blog | Orlando, FL

So, you’ve just gotten your dream car from here at Tropical Ford, but you have nowhere to drive it. Why not pick out a totally unique place to go for your next vacation? There’s a hotel nearby that’s unlike any other found in the world. Jules’ Undersea Lodge is a totally underwater hotel in Florida, where visitors can spend the night feeling like they’re in a submarine.

Jules’ Undersea Lodge is the only hotel of its kind. Twenty feet under the surface, this hotel invites guests to rent rooms from 3 hours to 24 hours at a time, so you don’t even have to stay the night if you don’t want to. You can even enjoy the lodge’s famous pizza lunch, where an employee delivers a pizza to you underwater in an airtight container.

This location is also perfect for diving. If you like to scuba dive, Jules’ Undersea Lodge is a great place to head out with friends for some fun underwater exploration. Afterwards, you can all retire to your rooms and look out the round, 42-inch windows into the ocean.

Drive your new Ford to this underwater hotel in Florida for an experience you’ll never forget and won’t be able to find anywhere else!

At Tropical Ford, we’re proud to be a part of the Orlando community.