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 spatulate bill of the roseate spoonbill has sensitive nerve endings that help it detect prey, and the shape helps the bird move sediment and catch the prey.

Learn More at AskFWC