Fascinating Florida – Part 1

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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Fascinating Florida – Part 1

The more we visit Florida, the more we learn about this fascinating state. Obviously, it comes as no surprise that Florida, and Orlando itself, attracts more visitors than any other US destination which has theme parks. Walt Disney World entices more visitors to its gates than any other single attraction anywhere in the world.

Of course it has Cape Canaveral, the launch pad of so many space missions, including the Apollo shuttle launches. John Glenn became the first American in orbit when he blasted off from Cape Canaveral in 1962. He was followed, in 1969, by Neil Armstrong, who became the first man to walk on the surface of the moon.

But did you know that it is not, in fact, the most southernmost state of the USA? That honour goes to Hawaii, although it IS the southernmost state of mainland America.

Well, here are a few more fascinating facts about Florida:

1. Clearwater has the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita in the USA.
2. St. Augustine, on the northern Atlantic coast of Florida, is the oldest European settlement in North America.
3. Have you ever drunk Gatorade? Well, it was named for the University of Florida Gators where the drink was first developed.
4. Another inventor, Dr John Gorrie of Apalachicola, invented mechanical refrigeration in 1851.
5. The world’s first scheduled passenger service airline flight was made on January 1st, 1914 by a young aviator by the name of Tony Jannus. This flight flew from St Petersburg to Tampa.
6. If you enjoy seafood then it may interest you to know that nearly 80% of the states sweet Atlantic white shrimp is harvested in Amelia Island waters. Two million pounds of shrimp pass through Fernadina docks each year.
7. If you want to collect shark’s teeth then the place to go is Venice, which is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World. Here you can collect prehistoric sharks’ teeth.
8. If shells is more your hobby then visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum in Sanibel. It houses over 2 million shells and claims to be the only such museum in the world which is totally devoted to the shells of molluscs.
9. The historic Espiritu Santo Springs in Safety Harbour have attracted attention for their curative powers. These natural springs were given the name by the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto in 1539, when he was searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth.
10. Despite being neither found naturally in Florida, nor on the moon, the moonstone was adopted as the official state gem in 1970.

So there you are, just a few fascinating things about my favourite American state – Florida. For more interesting facts see my next article.

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