Linda and I took the hour ride north to the coral reef state park. The park was created to protect and preserve a portion of the only living coral reef in the continental US. The park extends three miles into the Atlantic Ocean, is approximately 21 miles in length and adjacent to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The park was named after one of the early proponents of the preservation of its reef, John Pennekamp. Pennekamp was a Miami newspaper editor who also helped establish Everglades National Park.
Inside the visitor center, they had an movie that went over all the different types of coral, vertebrates and sponges. It was pretty impressive....I've never seen so many different types of coral. They also have a 30,000 gallon saltwater aquarium, with many of the coral types on display and nature exhibits. They have nature trails and we took one of them through the mangroves.
They have snorkeling and glassbottom boat tours available. When we were walking along the shore, it was really sad to see all of the plastic crap that had washed up on the beach. Our tour guide, in Key West, told us about the plastic vortex out in the ocean where every piece of plastic winds up. We saw pictures today of that plastic junk pile in the visitor center...it's pretty disgusting. Many of these plastic items are harmful to sealife cause they get entangled in the plastic or they eat it and it kills them.
Another great day in the Keys....temp was close to 80 today. Got a sprinkle of rain mid-day. Maybe tomorrow we'll check out the pool here at the park. It's a new pool that they can heat or chill, keeping it just the perfect temperature. Hope everyone has a great weekend !