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Restaurant Owner Buys Figures From Tampa Zoo For $30K

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Fairyland had been a staple at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo since the 1950s.

A nostalgic Tampa restaurant owner spent nearly $30,000 to preserve his most cherished childhood memories by buying nearly every fiberglass figure left from the Lowry Park Zoo's old Fairyland.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Richard Gonzmart, owner of the Columbia Restaurants, bought the figures Saturday.

Gonzmart purchased 11 fairytale scenes from the park that dazzled children when it opened in the 1950s. The only lot he didn't buy was a group of miscellaneous figures and pieces that didn't make up a complete scene or fairy tale.

Gonzmart came to the auction house on Saturday morning with a mission. He had already pledged to buy the figures with plans to restore and display them for free.

He hopes the city will let him put them along the Riverwalk once they're restored.

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