Preserving a Key marvel

Southwest Life

Preserving a Key marvel

Coral reef, swamps thrive at Key Largo’s 50-year-old state park
The renowned “Christ of the Abyss” underwater statue seems to reach up toward snorkelers Katherine Wieland, left, and Cody Wagner, right, Sept. 12 at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Visitors on the Spirit of Pennekamp tour boat peer through viewing ports above the coral reef off Key Largo, Fla., on Nov. 27. The boat trip from a shoreside base at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a popular activity for tourists to observe underwater marine habitats without getting their feet wet.
A sea turtle swims amid the Florida Keys coral reef tract near John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the nation’s first underwater preserve.
In this 1966 photo, John Pennekamp, second from left, is shown an underwater camera at his namesake John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Fla. Standing with Pennekamp are, from left, former assistant park superintendent Johnny Johnston, former district supervisor Ellison Hardee, and former park manager Joe Fredricks.

Preserving a Key marvel

SPF
The renowned “Christ of the Abyss” underwater statue seems to reach up toward snorkelers Katherine Wieland, left, and Cody Wagner, right, Sept. 12 at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
SPF
Visitors on the Spirit of Pennekamp tour boat peer through viewing ports above the coral reef off Key Largo, Fla., on Nov. 27. The boat trip from a shoreside base at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a popular activity for tourists to observe underwater marine habitats without getting their feet wet.
SPF
A sea turtle swims amid the Florida Keys coral reef tract near John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the nation’s first underwater preserve.
SPF
In this 1966 photo, John Pennekamp, second from left, is shown an underwater camera at his namesake John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Fla. Standing with Pennekamp are, from left, former assistant park superintendent Johnny Johnston, former district supervisor Ellison Hardee, and former park manager Joe Fredricks.
If you go

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Key Largo, Fla., at mile marker 102.5 on U.S. Highway 1, roughly 60 miles south of Miami; www.floridastateparks.org/pennekamp/, open daily year-round. Entrance fees: $8 per car, plus 50 cents per person. Information about glass-bottomed boat ($24) and snorkel boat tours ($30, equipment charge extra): 305-451-6300. Park information: 305-451-1202.
Tips: If you dive or snorkel near the reef, remember that touching the reef, standing on the reef, and collecting coral are prohibited, as is the collection of tropical fish or lobster from the reef. Spearfishing is also prohibited; anglers need a saltwater fishing license.
Pennekamp 50th anniversary celebration: Began Wednesday, ends Dec. 11, www.fla-keys.com/pennekamp50/.

Reader Comments
click here to add your event
Area Events