50 Fun Florida Facts You Might Not Know

Fancy learning some interesting facts on Florida? Then keep reading to scrubbing up on your general knowledge. I’ve compiled 50 random fun facts about Florida, including information on dolphins, alligators, manatees, beaches, oranges, St. Augustine and much more.

 

50 Fun Facts About Florida

  1. Most flamingos sighted in southern Florida are thought to be from the Caribbean, Yucatan or genuine wanderers from Cuba.
  2. The life expectancy of a flamingo is 40 years, one of the longest for birds.
  3. Florida became a US Territory in 1821. General Andrew Jackson served as military governor until Congress ratified a territorial constitution.
  4. Snow is a rare occurrence in Florida. The most widespread snowfall in Florida history happened on 19th January, 1977.
  5. Ernest Hemmingway was said to have written A Farewell to Arms while living above a Key West Ford dealership awaiting delivery of a car in 1928.
  6. The age and size of the alligator determine the size of their prey from fish and snails to the largest as Florida panthers or bears.
  7. Florida has three million acres of freshwater lakes and 12,000 miles of streams and rivers.
  8. In 2006, 67% of all citrus came from Florida, including 74% of oranges for household consumption.
  9. In 1586, English corsair Sir Francis Drake attacked and burned the town of St. Augustine. Then in 1668, the pirate Captain John Davis plundered the town, killing 60 residents.
  10. Florida manatees may live more than 60 years in the wild. The biggest threat to Florida manatee is death from collision with recreational watercraft.
  11. A variety of water sports can be found along the beaches of Florida including parasailing, windsurfing, personal watercraft and many more.
  12. The dolphin’s sleep is very light due to the need to surface to breathe; some believe that the two halves of their brain take turns in sleeping and waking.
  13. More than 200 species of fish can be found in the bay and 25 species of birds make their year-round home here.
  14. After a 28-day incubation, the flamingo chick is raised by both parents for up to six years, when they reach maturity.
  15. The Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, extending from Brownsville, Texas to Carrabelle, Florida was to connect with its Atlantic sister but was not completed due to environmental concerns.
  16. Florida has no state motto. “In God We Trust” has been in wide use, but Florida legislators have never formally adopted it.
  17. Dr. John Gorrie of Apalachicola patented the process of making ice artificially in 1851.
  18. The original meaning of the term conch applies to someone with European ancestry that immigrated from the Bahamas; a conch is a native.
  19. Alligators are native only to the US and China.
  20. Florida is home to nearly 250 different species of freshwater game fish.
  21. The orange blossom is Florida’s state flower.
  22. St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest city known as the “Ancient City”.
  23. The manatee family unit consists of mother and calf, who stay together for up to two years.
  24. Some of the best seashell hunting can be found on the gulf beaches in Florida, with sand dollars, coquina, scallops, whelks and many more.
  25. A dolphin needs to rise to the surface every five to eight minutes to breathe through its blowhole.
  26. Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest open water estuary, extending over 1,031 square kilometres.
  27. The Caribbean Flamingo is the only species that are natural inhabits of North America.
  28. The Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway extends from Key West to Boston.
  29. On 3rd March, 1845, Florida was admitted to the United States, becoming the 27th state in the union.
  30. When it is time for a sunset, most native or visiting Floridians take a moment to watch the fire ball drop into the sea.
  31. The first European to visit was Juan Ponce de León in 1521. As Florida became a Spanish colony, a fishing and salvage village with a small garrison was established.
  32. The muscles that close the alligator’s jaw are exceptionally powerful for biting and gripping, however the muscles for opening the jaw are relatively weak. An adult man can hold it shut with his bare hands.
  33. Florida’s Freshwater Fisheries Management has constructed 100 freshwater fishing piers around the state for access to some of the best freshwater fishing in the world.
  34. About 95% of commercial orange production in the state is destined for processing, mostly as juice.
  35. Industrialist Henry Flagler brought the railroad to St. Augustine. It then became a winter resort for the wealthy. He continued the railroad on to Key West in 1912.
  36. The Florida manatee is approximately three metres long and weighs between 400 and 600 kilograms, while the largest can weigh up to 1,500 kilograms.
  37. The Port of Tampa is the largest port in Florida and ranks tenth in the nation.
  38. In the 2004 presidential election George W. Bush beat John Kerry by 380,978 votes.
  39. The Florida territory’s governor, William P. DuVal, named Tallahassee the state capital in 1824.
  40. The 2000 presidential election was decided by a vote recount in Florida, with George W. Bush winning by a margin of 537 votes.
  41. Pharmacist Benjamin Green, a Miami Beach resident, cooked cocoa butter in a coffee pot on his wife’s stove in 1944, resulting in the first suntan cream.
  42. Key West is known as the Southernmost City in the Continental US.
  43. The longest recorded length of an alligator in Florida was 17 feet, five inches. The heaviest weighed in at 1,043 pounds.
  44. The Skyway Fishing Pier State Park in Tampa Bay is the longest fishing pier in the world. The bridge is illuminated at night, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  45. Frozen citrus juice concentrates became a major player in the markets in 1950.
  46. Juan Ponce de León discovered Florida in 1513 and claimed Florida for Spain.
  47. The Florida manatee is found in fresh water rivers, in estuaries and the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
  48. There are 663 miles of beaches in Florida.
  49. The Bottlenose Dolphin range in length from 6 to 13 feet and 330 to 1,430 in pounds.
  50. In 1939, Amelia Earhart took off from Miami for an around the world flight and was never seen again.

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