Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First U.S. Undersea Park Celebrates 50th Birthday

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, America’s first underwater preserve, turns 50 years old this year. Plans are underway for this milestone birthday celebration, which will take place Dec 1- Dec 11, 2010.

The park was dedicated on Dec. 10, 1960, capping efforts by the late “Miami Herald” editor John Pennekamp to create the Florida Keys jewel. The historic event is an ideal occasion for divers, snorkelers, and other underwater enthusiasts to discover, or perhaps rediscover, the Key Largo park. The State Park is located about 90 minutes drive from Miami. The park draws an estimated 1 million visitors annually, that come to explore its beaches, trails and abundant underwater wildlife.

Highlights of the celebration will include an underwater birthday celebration at the nine-foot “Christ of the Deep”, which rests 20 feet underwater, a planned world-record snorkel attempt, viewing the reef from a glass-bottom boat, canoeing, and kayaking. Several independently owned dive shops in the Key Largo area will offer special diving and snorkeling trips during the 11-day celebration.

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