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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

History

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Entrance Sign

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Entrance Sign

Established in 1963, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first undersea park created in the United States. The park, combined with the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, encompasses 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps. These areas were established to protect and preserve the only living coral reef in the continental United States.

Named for the late Miami newspaper editor John D. Pennekamp, who was also instrumental in preserving the land that would become the Everglades National Park, Coral Reef State Park now enjoys over a million visitors per year from around the world

Visitor Center and Aquarium

The Visitor Center features a 30, 000 gallon saltwater aquarium and other natural history exhibits interpreting the park’s unique marine environment. There is also a theater where visitors may watch nature videos. Hours are from 8am to 5pm daily.

Environmental Education

At Pennekamp Park, visitors can learn about the reef, reef animals, snorkeling, diving, and much, much more. Throughout the year, there are many environmental programs offered to park visitors on a wide range of natural and cultural history subjects. Guided nature walks along the Mangrove and Wild Tamarind trails are offered seasonally or upon request by individuals and organized groups. Current program schedules are available at the Park Ranger Station.

Park Activities

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Underwater

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park provides a perfect place to participate in a number of activities including camping, fishing, swimming, and picnicking.  Some of the most popular activities her include snorkeling and diving to observe the living, shallow water coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that are vibrant with color and activity.  If you are snorkeling or diving, do not miss out on seeing the Christ of the Abyss Statue, which is truly an amazing site to see underwater surrounded with sea life.

Park Information

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is located oceanside at mile marker 102.6 in Key Largo.  Here is some helpful contact information for the park:

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
102601 Overseas Highway (MM 102.6)
P.O. Box 1560
Key Largo, FL 33037

Glass Bottom Boat & Snorkel Boat Tour Reservations: (305) 451-6300

General State Park Information:  (305) 451-1202 (Front Gate)

State Park Camp Site Information: (800) 326-3521

Group Tour Reservations (25+ people): (305) 451-6316

Boat Slips & Mooring Rates: (305) 451-6325

 

For more information, you can visit their website.