Facts about Florida for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
Florida has several organizations that are involved in Archaeology. The Lake Jackson mounds is an Archaeological State Park. The Underwater Archaeology Program includes historic shipwreck sites, and pre-Columbian sites that are among the oldest human sites in the world. The Crystal River State Archaeological site is an Indian Ceremonial Site. Skeletal remains of over individuals were found buried in the peat at the bottom of the Windover Archaeological Site. The Florida Department of State is responsible for promoting the historical, archaeological, museum and folk cultures resources in Florida. The state celebrates Archaeology Month.
Forida has many ART galleries. The Cummer Gallery of Art in Jacksonville displays work dating back to 400 B.C. Miami's Art Deco district has the biggest collection of Art Deco-style buildings in the world and is a National Register Historic District. Lake Placid is known as the town of murals. The state has a variety of architecture. The state has an Artists Hall of Fame.
Florida has hundreds of species of BIRDS, and most of them are native to the state. The State Bird is the Mockingbird. Birdwatching is popular in Florida and there are Birding Hotsposts, birding events, and Birding Trails. The Great Florida Birding Trail is a 2,000 mile long collection of more than 400 locations in the state. The pelican is the most popular bird and the state has a large population of bald eagles. The wetlands are home to resident waterfowl. The Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is home to 200 types of birds. Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary in Jacksonville cares for injured wild birds. Suncoast Bird Sanctuary protects seabirds. Parrot Jungle Island has more than 1,000 birds and offers educational programs.
Florida has thousands of BRIDGES. There are many Covered Bridges and 4 Suspension Bridges. There are 42 bridges connecting more than 100 islands in the Florida Keyes and 3 are historic sites. Seven Mile Bridge connects Knight's Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is popular for filming automobile commercials. The Historic Bridge Foundation was successful in saving the Bridge of Lions. Some bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in Florida.
Florida has several Scenic BYWAYS. Long stretches of beaches are on the drive along the eastern coast of the state. The Keys Scenic Highway is considered one of the best road trips in Florida. The state has a variety of trails including Birding Trails and celebrates National Trails Day. The Little Manatee River Hiking Trail has diversity, scenery, and botanical wonders. The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is part of the rails to trails program in the state. The Florida Mural Trail includes towns that have painted their histories on the facades of local buildings. The state has many Roadside Attractions.
Tallahassee is the CAPITAL of Florida. The name is a Muskogean Indian word often translated as "old fields" or "old town", and it likely stems from the Creek (later called Seminole) Indians. The capitol building is one of only 4 states capitols that are skyscrapers. The old and new capitol buildings stand side by side. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. Orlando is called the Theme Park Capital of the World. Islamorado is known as the Sports Fishing Capital of the World. Key Largo is know as the Dive Capital of the World. Plant City is known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the world. Venice is known as the Sharks Tooth Capital of the world, and there is a Sharks Tooth Festival. Haines City is known as the Heart of Florida. The Florida State Play, "Cross and Sword", tells the story of the Spanish colonization of this city.
Florida has all forms of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, radio, television, telephone, and internet. The state has many Telephone Area Codes. There are Internet Service Providers and Webcams throughout the state.
Florida has 67 COUNTIES. The largest county is Collier and Union is the smallest. Liberty has the smallest population and Miami-Date has the largest. Hernando County is the geographic center of the state. Jacksonville is the largest city in the lower 48 states and the westernmost city on the East Coast. Key West is the southernmost city of the continental United States. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states for the level of government below the state government.
There is no evidence of DINOSAURS in Florida because at the time they lived, the state was under water. However, a large variety of other fossils have been found in Florida, and a mastodon skeleton is in the Museum of Florida History. The Mulbery Phosphate Fossil Museum has fossils of prehistoric Florida and the phosphate industry. Dinosaur World is an outdoor museum. The State Stone is Agatized Coral(a fossil). The Thomas Farm Fossil Preserve has produced thousands of bones of extinct vertebrates. Plant fossils and petrified wood are found in the state.
EDUCATION in Florida is free and mandatory for ages 6 through 16. The Department of Education operates community colleges and vocational schools throughout the state. Homeschooling is popular. Florida also has a program for adult education and family literacy. Private education ranges from preschool to military academies to church-supported schools. The oldest wooden schoolhouse in the country is in St. Augustine. There is a Clown School in Lake Placid. Information about schools is available at GreatSchools and SchoolBug.
Florida has many EVENTS and festivals throughout the year including State and County Fairs. The Florida Folk Festival is one of the oldest official state festival in the country. Calle Ocho has been named the official State Festival. The Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center in White Springs has a Folk Festival. The Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival in Niceville features music, food, rides and a wide variety of arts and crafts. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens host a number of Japanese events during the year. Pascua Florida Day commemorates the discovery of Florida. The state observes Fixed Public Holidays and celebrates many other holidays. Trade Shows are held during the year.
The State FLAG has a red X on a white field with the state seal in the center. Florida has flown 5 national flags including the flag of Spain, France, and Great Britain. Some counties and municpalities have their own flag. There have been several versions of the State Seal. The present State Seal shows a Seminole Indian woman, a steamboat, and the State Tree. The Miccosoukee and the Seminole Tribes have a flag. Tweety Bird is the State Character.
The timeline for FOOD in Florida dates back to the arrival of the Spanish in 1500. A unique type of food in the state is Floribbean. This food is heavily influenced by visitors and immigrants from all over the world, but especially from the Caribbean. Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators. Edible State Symbols are Key Lime Pie and Large Mouth Bass. The State Beverage is Orange Juice. Florida has many Food Festivals, Shows, & Events. The Florida Association of Food Banks serves all the counties in the state. The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services is responsible for assuring the public of a safe, wholesome and properly represented food supply.
Florida has had many FORTS. Most of them are gone but some remain as parks or historic sites. Fort Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the country. Fort Pickens was the largest of a group of forts designed to fortify Pensecola Harbor and is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Fort Barracanas has been a harbor fortification since 1763 and is open for tours. Fort Christmas has a life size replica of the fort. Fort Clinch State Park is open to the public. Fort Desoto is now a State Park and the batteries are on the National Register of Historic Places. Fort Jefferson is the centerpiece of Dry Tortugas National Park It is a massive but unfinished coastal fortress and the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. Fort Matanzas is accessible only by guided boat tours. Fort Taylor was used by President Harry S. Truman for his winter house.
The GLOBAL POSITION of Florida is approximately 24-31 degrees north longitude and 80-87 degrees west latitude. Southernmost Point Buoy marks the southernmost point in the continental United States. The Gulf of Mexico is south and west of Florida. The topography of Florida ranges from sea level to 600 ft.. Geocaching is a high-tech sport using a Global Positioning System, and geocaches are located throughout the state.
The HISTORY of Florida can be traced back to when the first Native Americans began to inhabit the peninsula as early as 14,000 years ago. St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in North America. The first Thanksgiving took place in NE Florida and the first Christmas took place in the Tallahassee area. The state served the Confederate State of Americas during the Civil WAR. The Olustee Battlefield was the site of the largest Civil War battle in the state and is now a Historic State Park. Yellow Bluff Fort is not a fort but was an armed and fortified camp constucted during the Civil War and is now a Historic State Park. Many Civil War reenactments are held throughout the year. The Civil Air Patrol was organized to protect the coasts of Florida. Florida participates in National History Day.
The Florida Cracker HORSE is the State Horse. Florida has over 500,000 horses and more than 60% are used for competition and recreation. There are Horse Trails throughout the state. The Sunshine Horse Council promotes interest in equestrian activities. The Florida Horse Trails Association organizes educational activities. The state has several Horse Racing Tracks and betting on horse racing is legal in South Florida. The state also has Horse Shows and Rodeos.
Florida has a variety of bugs and other INSECTS including many species of butterflies. The State Butterfly is the Zebra Longwing. The rare Amethyst Hairstreak Butterfly has been found outside the Castellow Hammoch Preserve and Nature Center. Butterfly World in Coconut Creek has rare butterflies and insects from around the world. Native plants can be used to make a butterfly garden. There are about 39 species of spiders in Florida. The State Insect is the Praying Mantis.
Florida has hundreds of ISLANDS. Some are connected to the mainland by a bridge or causeway and some are on the U.S. Islands Directorybecause they have a ham radio. Pine Island is the largest island on the west coast of Florida. Flagler Monument Island is an artificial island. Sanibel Island calls itself one of the best shell collecting locations in the world. Dry Tortugas National Park is a 7 island archipelago and the site of a 19th century fort.
JAZZ is popular in Florida, and there are many Jazz Clubs. There is a variety of music Festivals including jazz festivals throughout the state. The Jazz Society of Pensacola promotes jazz music. The Florida Orchestra offers information about concerts and educational programs. The Sarasota Music Festival held every summer welcomes young musicians from all over the world to study and play. Florida has more than 30 professional dance troupes. The Florida Dance Festival offers dance companies, school groups, and independent choreographers and opportunity to perform. St. John's River City Band is the official band of the State of Florida and the city of Jacksonville. The state has many Opera Companies.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The state of Florida has a 4 tire court system - The Florida Supreme Court, Florida District Courts, Florida Circuit Courts, and Florida County Courts.
The Florida KEYES are a coral cay archipelago located off the southern coast of the state, forming the southernmost portion of the continental United States. It has 1,700 islands and is unique in that it consists almost entirely of water (estuaries or open marine waters). The basin is broken up into the upper Keys, middle Keys, and lower Keys. It is connected to the mainland by the Overseas Highway. Along the highway bridges connect more than 100 islands and 3 have been named National Historic Sites. Another 850 keys are connected by the road to Key West. The Florida Keyes National Marine Sanctuary has National Wildlife Refuges, Ecological Reserves, and Sanctuaries. The Aquarius is located near the Keys and is the only undersea laboratory in the world dedicated to marine science.
Many aspects of life in Florida focus on KIDS. The Florida Senate has a handbook for kids. The Florida Environmental Protection Agency and the Southwest Florida Water Management District each have information for kids. The Florida Citrus Land has information for kids about oranges plus games and recipies. The Farm Service Agency has activities and coloring pages for kids. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page.
Florida has a variety of LIBRARIES including public libraries and University Libraries. It also has law libraries and special libraries. The State Library is in Tallahassee. Florida has a Poet Laureate and celebrates National Poetry Month.
Florida has had many LIGHTHOUSES and many are active. Some of the them have keepers and some offer tours. Amelia Island Light is the oldest in the state. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of the oldest on the East Coast. The towers of offshore lighthouses had skeleton iron construction to resists huricanes. The American Shoal lighthouse was honored on a series of postage stamps on American lighthouses. The most important aspect of a lighthouse is the light that comes from the tower.
In certain areas of Florida, some MINERALS are of economic importance and are mined. Bone Valley is the most productive phosphate rock mining area in the world. Mulberry is considered the Phosphate Capital of the world. Florida has 3 major rock types - igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary, and much of the state is covered by sediment rocks. The Kennedy Space Center features a moon rock, and the State Gem is a Moonstone. The U.S. Geological Survey has programs in Florida and maps of the geology of the state.
Florida has many MUSEUMS. The Florida Department of State is responsible for promoting the historical, archaeological, museum, and folk cultures resources in Florida. The Museum of Florida History covers 12,000 years of the state's geology and history. It has Spanish, British, and Civil War exhibits, and native birds and animals roam the wilderness behind the museum. The state has several War Memorials. The Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum has treasures and historical objects.
The original inhabitants of Florida were NATIVE AMERICANS and several Paleo Indian sites are scattered around the state. Several centuries after Ponce de Leon arrived, most of the native people were gone. A new group of Indians began to arrive early in the 18th century. Florida has 2 federally recognized tribes - The Seminole and the Miccosukee . They live on reservations in South Florida. There are also several non-recognized tribes in the state. The state has several Indian Casinos.
The Atlantic OCEAN borders the east coast of Florida, and the state celebrates World Oceans Day. The Coral Reefs on the Atlantic coast are the only natural reefs off the continental United States. A coral reef on Pulley Ridge is the deepest coral reef off the shores of the country. There have been many Shipwrecks off the Florida coast and many of them shipwrecks have been found. The Benwood is known as one of the most dived shipwrecks in the world. The Florida Oceanographic Society works to protect the coastal ecosystem of the state. The state celebrates World Oceans Day. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has information about the ocean. The NOAA provides information about why the ocean is Salty.
Over 20 million PEOPLE live in Florida and residents are called Floridians. Famous people from Florida include Chris Evert, champion tennis player; Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General; and Tiger Woods, professional golf champion. John Gorrie is credited with inventing refrigeration. One of the earliest sunscreens was produced in 1944 for the US military by Benjamin Green a Miami Beach pharmacist. The International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale showcases the greatest swimmers in the world. The Astronaut Hall of Fame is part of the Kennedy Space Visitor Complex. Many older people have moved to Florida turning the state into a retirement haven.
Florida has many PORTS. The Port of Pensacola is the leading deep-water port in northwest Florida. Several ports host a number of cruise lines and the cruise industry effects virtually every industry in the country and the state. Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. Port Manatee is one the largest ports in Florida and is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal. Port Canaveral is the gateway to Walt Disney World Resort and home to the world-famous Kennedy Space Center.
Florida is home to many REPTILES and amphibians including crocodiles, frogs,lizards, salamanders, toads, turtles, and several species of poisonous snakes. Many of the reptiles are protected. The Everglades is home to more than 1,000 alligators and the American Alligator is the State Reptile. The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect Loggerhead and Green sea turtles.
Florida has nearly 2,000 RIVERS, streams, and creeks including 8 scenic rivers. The Loxahatchee, the Wekiva, and Myakka are wild and scenic rivers. The famous Suwanee River is the subject of the State Song. The St. Johns Riveris one of the few rivers that flows north instead of south. It is the longest river in the state and is designated an American Heritage River. The Perdido River marks Florida's western border with Alabama. The Mug Race is an annual sailboat race held on St. Johns River and is billed as the "World's Longest River Race". The Army Corps of Engineers maintains locks along the rivers.
Florida has many SPORTS teams and several sports stadiums. Many major league baseball teams hold spring training in Florida. The state hosts more college football games than any other state. Recreational sports include tennis, boating, fishing, swimming, and scuba diving. Golfing is a popular activity, & there are about 1,500 Public & Private Golf Courses. The Daytona International Speedway has professional auto races and is known as the World Center of Racing and calls itself the home of speed. The state hosts several golf tournaments throughout the year. Racing is a popular spectator sport and there are a variety of Race Tracks including Motor Speedways. The largest hotel pool in the continental U.S. is at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Florida has all forms of TRANSPORTATION. The Florida Department of Transportation impacts nearly every form of transportation in the state. The state has a wide variety of Specialty License Plates including two tribes - Miccosukee Indian and Seminole Indian. To celebrate its 50th birthday in 2002 Matchbox cars issued a vehicle for each state in the order in which it was admitted into the Union, for Florida was a Chevrolet Camaro SS. Florida has an Adopt-A-Highway Program. The Folkston Funnel is a double track which serves as the main artery for railroad traffic into and out of Florida. It is also known as the Gateway to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The first scheduled passenger service airline occurred in Florida.
Florida has a variety of TREES. Forests cover about half of Florida, and the state has several Forests. The State Tree is the Sabal Palm. Florida has more Champion Trees than any other state - 175 of the oldest, tallest, most majestic trees in the world. The Champion live oak near Gainesville has a crown whose shade covers half a football field. A bald cypress outside Orlando stands 118 feet tall, and has been nicknamed The Senator. Fifty percent of the state is covered in swamp - a wetland that is forested.
At least 6 United States Navy ships have been named USS FloridaThe 1st ship was a sloop that served on survey duty between 1824 and 1831. The 2nd USS Florida (1850) was a side-wheel steamer purchased in 1861 and sold after 1867. The 3rd USS Florida (1869) was originally the screw frigate Wampanoag renamed in 1869, and sold in 1885. The 4th USS Florida (BM-9) was a monitor commissioned in 1903, renamed to Tallahassee in 1908, and sold in 1922. The 5th USS Florida (BB-30) was a battleship commissioned 1911 and scrapped in 1932. The 6th USS Florida (SSBN-728) is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine commissioned in 1983.
The WILDLIFE of Florida is rich and varied. Many animals are protected by the state and some are considered endangered. The Panther is the State Animal. Florida has Opossums and Wasau is the Possum Capital of the world. The 1st Saturday in August is Possum Day in Wausau. Florida has 28 Wildlife Refuges. The state has a variety of endangered species and many live in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Animals found in scrub ecosystems are adapted to high temperatures and droughty conditions. Payne Prairie Reserve has alligators, bison, horses, and nearly 300 species of birds. Monkey Jungle takes part in an international program to breed wild animals and then release them into protected habitats.
Florida has many Wilderness Areas. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness is the largest Wilderness Area East of the Mississippi River. The Florida Keys Wilderness is almost entirely composed of large areas of ocean water with small keys. Pelican Island Wilderness is one of the smallest unit in the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Alexander Springs Wilderness does not have any trails or old roads so most people explore by boat.
Time ZONES are established by the Coordinated Universal Time.Most of Florida is in the Eastern Time ZONE, but a small part is in the Central Time Zone. The state has several plant hardiness zones. The entire state is considered to be within the coastal zone and it is considered a peninsula because it is surrounded on 3 sides by water.
Florida has many ZOOS and aquariumsaquariums. The Miami Metro Zoo is a cageless zoo and the only zoo in the country in a subtropical climate. The Lowry Park Zoological Garden in Tampa has 1,600 animals, rides, water play areas, and restaurants. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm began in the late 19th century as a small exhibition of Florida reptiles. Florida has aquariums