Florida Keys Things to Do Tips by Ericasmurf99
Florida Keys Things to Do: 92 reviews and 185 photos
Sea Lion show
It's certainly not as big as Sea World, but it is still a great way to spend an afternoon. The schedule of shows run right after the other, so you are always doing something. If you follow the exact order you'll begin with the guided tour of marine life exhibits (fish, sharks, turtles, aligators), the parrot show, the dolphin show, the sea lion show, and then the bottomless boat ride. It is so amazing what the animals have learned to do. Some of my favorite things were watching a parrot count, watching dolphins pretend to be sharks, and watching the sea lion stick out his tongue at the audience.
Theater of the Sea also offers swim with dolphin/sea lion programs. My mother and I participated with the dolphin swim and yes, it is worth the money. Dolphins are very gentle, yet strong.
Address: Mile Marker 84.5
Directions: 84721 Overseas Hwy.
Islamorada, FL 33036
Honors those who lost their lives in the September 2, 1935 hurricane. The skeletal bones and cremated remains of the many citizens, visitors, and veterans who passed that day are actually apart of the monument.
The plaque reads: "Dedicated to the memory of civilians and war veterans whose lives were lost in the hurricane of Spetember second 1935"
On the green ceramic tile is an etching of the upper keys. This is the top of the crypt.
Address: Mile Marker 81.5
End of the line, Key West Florida. I'm not going to cram everything you can do in Key West into this one little tip, just check out my entire Key West page for all your Key West information needs!
Directions: If driving down the FL Keys, just keep driving till you run out of road. : )
I measured it in my car; yep it really is 7 miles.
You can pull off into a small parking lot and walk the 2.2 miles on the old bridge that runs along the side of the new 7 mile bridge. I think this is the best way to get pictures. There are also stairs on each side so you can walk down and get good pictures that way too. If you do walk the 2.2 mile bridge, you will find yourself on a very small island named Pigeon Key. There is a museum about the bridge there ($11.00 entry fee).
Directions: If coming from Miami, it is just after Marathon.
Who doesn't like watching dolphins? They are so smart and seem to really enjoy being around humans. I believe I saw on Discovery that in terms of "intelligence" the dolphin is 4th in line (after #1 human, #2 chimp, and #3 gorilla). At the Dolphin Research Center you can pay the regular admission price and just watch the dolphin shows all day (the trainers have them jump, flip, zip through the water, play with toys, etc) or you can participate in the many programs. Some programs offer water time where you actually get in the water and play with the dolphin, other programs let you stay dry and pet the dolphin, or you can really shell out the $$$ and do trainer for the day programs.
Hours of Operation: Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed to the public on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day.
General admission: Adults-$19.50; Seniors 55 and over-$16.50; Children 4-12-$13.50; Children 3 and under-Free.
***military discount, but only during low season (fall/winter)****
Address: 58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL 33050
Directions: DRC is located at MM 59 on Grassy Key.
If coming from Miami, going south on US 1, look on the right, gulfside. You will see a 30 foot high statue of a mother dolphin and her calf.
Phone: (305) 289-0002
The Turtle Hospital is a really neat way to learn and get close to some turtles. They start the tour with a very nice power point presentation (not boring I promise) describing the various types of turtles found in FL waters. They also explain the history of the Turtle Hospital and describe what they do. We then got to tour the surgery room and even saw a turtle being examined for Fibormayouses (turtle cancer). The best part is going out to the turtle housing area to meet and feed the turtles. Those loggerheads are HUGE! They keep the really sick ones that require daily medicine in the circle pools, and the permemant residents live in the bigger pool area. If they are a perminant resident, that means something was so wrong that they wouldn't be safe if they were released back into the wild. Typically, all turtles that arrive at the hospital get released with a clean bill of health.
Kudos to all the volonteers to come over and share their vet skills and knowledge with these turtles!
Children (4-12 years old): $7.50
HOURS OF OPERATION
Tours run daily at 10am, 1pm and 4pm
Address: 2396 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida 33050
Directions: The Turtle Hospital is located in Marathon, Florida on Overseas highway at mile marker 48.5, Bayside.
My family and I really wanted to see the Christ of the Deep statue. If you've seen photos, you know what I mean. His arms are stretched out welcoming you to the bottom of the water and there is just a "strong at peace feeling" when you see it.
Alas, it was not meant to be for my family. We got on the boat and started heading out. When we finally reached our destination the captain/guide started describing the best places to see coral and fish. I thought it was strange that he had not mentioned the statue yet. That was the "big thing" was it not?
So when he said "does anyone have any questions?"
I asked him "where is the statue?"
He says "Can you swim pretty good? It's 7 miles that way (he points)"
I say nothing, though my face must be saying "Uhhhh what?"
He says "It's just a statue. What you want to see is the coral. The coral is what is amazing here, not some 'ol statue".
I am so speechless, as was my mother. She was really looking foward to seeing the statue too. A few of the other passengers give each other looks of surprise, but then seem not to care anymore and just begin gathering their snorkle gear. We too put on our snorkle gear, I mean, it's not like we can march away mad we were stuck on a boat for 2 hours. So we snorkled...and it was okay...I've seen wayyy better in the Dry Tortugas. Heck I live in KW I can go see coral anytime. It was the Christ of the Deep statue that I wanted to see. :(
I ended up writing an angry letter to JPK park about the situation. How they advertise and hype up the statue...they never mention that there is a chance they could take you to a different snorkle section. I used quotes from their own website. I was extremly angry with the captain who just said it was some 'ol statue that I should want to see the coral. Well captain, it's not some "dumb 'ol statue" to me. It meant something to me. And you took it from me. JPK ended up writing back and apologizing and refunding our trip. I was grateful for the refund, but I still would have rather seen the statue.
So if you are going to the park to see the statue, PLEASE mention to the ticket counter and the captain "we are going to see the statue right?" If they say no, then demand your money back. Unless you are fine with just regular snorkling, but you can experience better snorkling in Key West and Dry Tortugas.
The old bridge
If you are going to swim in the FL Keys, here is where I recommend it. The water is nice and a strong (but not too strong) current seems to keep all that smelly sea weed away.
The park is probably best known for the Old Bahia Honda Bridge. A small piece of it is still accessible, and offers a great view of the park and surrounding water.
The park also offers: boating, camping, lodging in 6 cabins, kayaking, snorkeling, bicycling, fishing, swimming, picnicking; and there is also a concession and gift shop.
Address: 36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Directions: Bahia Honda Key, between mile marker 36 and 37.
Other Contact: www.floridastateparks.org
Blue Hole is an old quarry filled with freshwater that the deer come to drink. However, there are other wildlife living here. Alligators and turtles mostly live in Blue Hole. Just stay on the observation platform!
Many trails are around to hike.
Directions: Big Pine Key
Phone: (305) 872-2239
Deer looking for food
Stop by the visitor center (it's along the highway 1 in Big Pine Key, can't miss it) and they will give you a map of the refuge. The map will show the best places to spot deer and other wildlife.
Key Deer are on the endangered species list.
Directions: Big Pine and No Name Key
Phone: (305) 872-2239
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