John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Description:
This state park is renowned for its spectacular reefs and colorful marine life. Most of the park (53,000 acres) protects a segment of the only living shallow-water coral reef in the United States, but the 2,350 acres of uplands include a tropical hammock and a mangrove forest. The visitor center provides an excellent introduction to the park with its exhibits, slide program, and aquariums. A glass-bottom boat takes visitors out to view the reef. Other concession boats take visitors on snorkeling/scuba excursions on the reef. A boardwalk allows visitors to venture into the mangrove forest, while a nature trail winds through the hammock. Ranger-led canoe trips and nature walks are also offered.

Watchable wildlife:
The coral reef and tropical reef fish will thrill underwater explorers, while above ground black-whiskered vireos (summer and fall), mangrove cuckoos (summer and fall), and smooth-billed anis, as well as spring migrant birds, will raise the heart rates of birders.

Ownership:
Department of Environmental Protection

Contact:
(305) 451-1202

Directions:
The entrance to the park is off U.S. Highway 1 at Key Largo.

Related Sites:
Other Southeast Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks



FWC Facts:
The song of the wood thrush is so beautiful it inspired Handel to write a piece of music in the bird's honor. This songbird sings a loud, flute-like song, ending in a trill.

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