Get away from the mundane world or work or the cold temperatures of northern America at Ilsamorado, Florida. A string of Florida Keys island stretch from the Everglades National Park and the Florida Straits. Six separate island comprise the municipality of Ilsamorado; Upper Matecumbe Key, Plantation Key, Lignumvitae Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Indian Key and Windley Key. Ilsamorado is known as the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World.”
5 – History of Diving Museum
Take a tour and gain a better understanding of man’s quest to investigate the deepest depths of the sea. Browse display which exhibit the invention and progress of diving and snorkeling gear over the past 100 years. Learn what living and working underwater is like with the Aquarius Team research laboratory interactive program. Artifacts and photographs from more than 30 countries are on display at the museum.
4 – Founder’s Park
The outdoor recreational area features 40 acres of green space and hundreds of free activities year around. Plantation Harbor Marina is located inside the park’s boundaries and offers water sports and sightseeing charters. A white sandy beach and swimming area offers a family friendly environment with water shallow enough for young children to play safely in the waves. Founders Park Watersports Area features a picnic area with charcoal grills as well as pedal boat and kayak rentals. Additional park amenities include an outdoor swimming pool., sports courts and fields, dog park and a fishing jetty. Once a month movies are shown at night from a screen hoisted above the swimming pool. You can float around on a raft with the kids and catch a Disney or Pixar flick. Watch local and regional performers at the Amphitheater each weekend.
3 – Diving and Snorkeling Locations
Secure a private boat charter or join in a public tour of the natural and man-madeunderwater reefs which border the islands of Ilsamorado. The Eagle reef surrounds a nearly 300 foot long ship which was sunk in 110 feet below the surface. School of tarpon and grunt swim around the wreckage. Alligator Reef is located next to a historic lighthouse. After the USS Alligator sunk in 1822, the boat’s remains were claimed by underwater flora and sea creatures. Snorkel around Davis Reef and mingle with green morays and schools of snapper. Cast a line along the 450 foot long Crocker Wall and try your luck at snagging tournament size yellowtail and grouper.
2 – Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
The park was created by fossilized coral and limestone. The land once belonged to the Florida East Coast Railroad. A keystone quarry produced rocks which were shipped around the world to adorn yards and businesses. Strap on your hiking boots and traverse the rugged trail around the rim of the quarry walls and view antique machines once used to remove and transport massive rocks from the back country. The visitor’s center showcases educational exhibits and artifacts from the areas early history. Additional recreational opportunities include guided tours, picnic area and wildlife viewing areas.
1 – Theater of the Sea Marine Mammal Park
The park offers so many things to do, you may have to plan a second visit just to get to all of them. Choose your favorite marina animal and get in line to play with them in the water. The mammal park is home to dolphins, sting rays and sea lions. Take a dip in the salt water lagoon and communicate with dolphins before receiving a dorsal fin tow back to shore. All of the interactive animal encounters take place in no more than 15 feet of water. If getting into a swimsuit in public isn’t on the top of your “to do” list, opt for a glass bottom boat tour of the waterway instead. Four hour snorkeling cruises include a tour of Lignumvitae Key Botanical Park and Indian Key Historic State Park. Don’t forget to save time for the parrot show and a visit to the gift shop before departing.