Florida fun facts cover a wide variety of information. For example, in what year did Walt Disney World open its doors to visitors? What is one of the deepest natual springs in the world? How many islands are in the Florida Keys? And who in the world is Benjamin Green?
Florida is more than just a great vacation spot. It's filled with odd facts and fun happenings.
From people to places to names to watery delights, here's a list of things that you didn't know that you didn't know!
When did Walt Disney World open to the public?
Disney World (along with the world's most famouse mouse, Mickey) opened its doors to visitors on October 1, 1971. At the time, it was just the Magic Kingdom; the other theme parks (EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) came later.
Who is Benjamin Green & what was his claim to fame? Benjamin Green was the Miami Beach, Florida pharmacist who invented "suntan
cream" in 1944.
Where did Ray Charles begin his musical career? He began in
Tampa, Florida, playing dance-hall jobs.
What makes the John G. Riley house famous? Located in
Tallahassee, it is the only known house belonging to a former slave, that
still remains standing.
Did you know that the phrase "cool as a cucumber" originated in
Looking for sun? Try Clearwater, Florida which claims to
average 361 days of sunshine per year.
Kissimmee means "heaven's place". By the way, the name is
pronounced Ki-SIM-mee, not "KISS-i-mee".
Loxahatchee means "river of turtles".
Miami means (variously) "all beavers", "all friends", "cry of the crane"
and "people who live on the peninsula" and "very large". The name sure
does get around! In this case, it's thought to derive from Mayaimi,
referring to the very large nearby Lake Okeechobee.
Ocala means "heavily clouded".
Palata is derived from "ferry, ford or crossing" since it was a major
trading post on the St. John's River.
Punta Gorda means "fat point", referring to some land jutting out into
Steinhatchee translates to "dead man's creek". Don't guess I'm
going to be moving there anytime soon....
Tallahassee -- there are divided views on this one, but after some
research I'm going to have to go with the translation of the Muskogee Indian
word meaning "old town".
Wauchula is interesting, roughly meaning "cow house" -- a barn maybe. Of course there is always the fact that COW stands for County of Wauchula...could it be that's what got it all started?
Weeki Wachee (as in Weeki Wachee Springs) means "little spring".
Wewahitchka probably means "water eyes".
By the Shore (or River, or Spring....)
Florida has an amazing amount of shoreline -- more than any other state
except Alaska! Tidal shoreline, that is, which doesn't necessarily mean
beach (sorry about that). Want some more watery facts?
Go here, go there, but no matter where you are in Florida, you've never
more than 65 miles from the ocean (as the crow flies.
Key West's coral reef is the third largest in the world, and is also the
largest in North America.
Speaking of the Florida Keys, there are more than (count 'em) 800!
Many are teeny-tiny, and they stretch for 180 miles into the ocean.
The loggerhead turtles call Florida "home" -- more than 80% of the US
population nests on our beaches.
You know that Florida has miles and miles of beaches - want to know how
many? Try roughly 1,100 miles of sand and surf.
The deepest natural spring in the whole world is Wakulla Springs in the
The St. John's River in northeast Florida is one of the few rivers
in the world that flows north instead of south.
And although this is only kind of "water-y", the longest fishing pier in
the world is in Tampa Bay. It is a portion of the old (original)
collapsed Sunshine Skyway bridge.
Florida -- The Big Land
OK, what are some of the "big" things you might not know about Florida?
Palm Beach County is Florida's largest county, at 2,578 square miles -- bigger than Rhode Island or Delaware!
Jacksonville is Florida's largest city (in square miles). It pretty much takes up all of Duval county!
What's Florida's population? Well, as of the 2000 census, we were at 15,982,378 people. Last I (unofficially) heard, it was around 17 million. We're 4th in population, after California, Texas and New York.
Yes, Florida has a ton of attractions (as if you didn't already know). But what are some of the things you might not have known about these places to have fun?
What makes Disney's Animal Kingdom opening day different from the other Disney parks? The actual date! The other three Disney theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and MGM) all opened on the first day of the their respective months. Animal Kingdom opened on the 24th!
Name three of the Central Florida attractions that pre-date Disney: Gatorland, Busch Gardens, Cypress Gardens are three that were open before "The Mouse" came to town.
What's the oldest attraction in Florida? My vote is for Marineland, which opened in 1937.
What's the highest point in the Disney theme parks? If you said Cinderella's Castle, you are...wrong! It's actually Hollywood Studio's Tower of Terror that holds the high spot.
Let's Not Forget Official State...
Were you wondering where the Florida State bird, flower and all those other items? Here they are!
The Mockingbird is the Florida state bird. Now we who live here in Florida say it's really the mosquito...
And what about the official Florida state flower? It's the orange blossom. And although we don't have an official state perfume, my vote is for the orange blossom's -- heavenly!
And do you know what the Florida state tree is? It's the sabal palmetto, also known as a cabbage palmetto.
Do you know what "Old Folks at Home" is? It's the official Florida state song. Not familiar with it? Sure you are -- it's more commonly known as "Suwannee River".
And finally -- Florida was admitted as a state on March 3, 1845. We were the 27th state to enter the union.