“under the sea!”
Welcome to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park The first undersea park in the U.S., John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses approximately 70 nautical square miles. While the mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks in the park's upland areas offer visitors a unique experience, it is the coral reefs and their associated marine life that bring most visitors to the park. Many enjoy the view of the reef from a glass-bottom boat tour, but visitors can get a closer look by scuba diving or snorkeling. Canoeing and kayaking through the park's waters are popular activities; fishing is permitted in designated areas. Visitors can enjoy walking on short trails, picnicking, or swimming at the beach. The Visitor Center has a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and nature videos are shown in its theater. Full-facility and Youth/Group campsites are available. Beach wheelchairs are available without cost. Free 24 hour WI-FI at Concession Building and Dive Shop Building. In 1962, the Underwater Society of America was given a Christ of the Deep statue. It was on display at Chicago's Navy Pier for a little bit, and then it was sent to Florida to be sunk in the reef. You can spot it while snorkeling in the reef, or get more up close to it by scuba diving down-- just make sure not to touch it, no matter how tempting it may be, because that can seriously hurt the fragile coral that the statue has supported. Otherwise, enjoy snorkeling through the holy waters!
Water clarity for snorkeling from shore was pretty bad but when good, abundant sea life to be seen. Will be back to go diving in future and managed to see two sharks and spotted rays while snorkeling on Molasses Reef. Two thumbs up for Ocean Divers team that took us out.
Nice family park, I just found the staff running the concession stands a bit rude and unhelpful. The Rangers were much more helpful. It's best to bring water shoes if you plan to just do swimming or snorkeling at the park.
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John Pennekamp State Park
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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