Florida Trivia– Did You Know?

 Following are 25 facts about Florida taken from 50States.com.

Do you know?    

1. Saint Augustine is the oldest European settlement in North America.
2. Orlando attracts more visitors than any other amusement park destination in the United States.
3. New England Congregationalists who sought to bring their style of liberal arts education to the state founded Rollins College, the oldest college in Florida, in Winter Park in 1885.
4. Florida is not the southernmost state in the United States. Hawaii is farther south.
5. A museum in Sanibel owns 2 million shells and claims to be the world’s only museum devoted solely to mollusks.
6. Safety Harbor is the home of the historic Espiritu Santo Springs. Given this name in 1539 by the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. He was searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth. The natural springs have attracted attention worldwide for their curative powers.
7. The United States city with the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita is Clearwater.
8. Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators where the drink was first developed.
9. Dr. John Gorrie of Apalachicola invented mechanical refrigeration in 1851.
10. Miami Beach pharmacist Benjamin Green invented the first suntan cream in 1944. He accomplished this development by cooking cocoa butter in a granite coffee pot on his wife’s stove.
11. Key West has the highest average temperature in the United States.
12. The Saint John’s River is one of the few rivers that flows north instead of south.
13. May 20, 1970 Florida lawmakers passed and sent to the Governor a bill adopting the moonstone as the official state gem. Ironically, the moonstone is not found naturally in Florida…nor was it found on the moon.
14. In 1987 the Florida legislature designated the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) the official state reptile. Long an unofficial symbol of the state, the alligator originally symbolized Florida’s extensive untamed wilderness and swamps.
15. Miami installed the first bank automated teller machine especially for rollerbladers.
16. Ybor City was once known as the Cigar Capital of the World with nearly 12,000 tabaqueros (cigar-makers) employed in 200 factories. Ybor City produced an estimated 700 million cigars a year at the industry’s peak.
17. Plant City, the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World, holds the Guinness record for the world’s largest strawberry shortcake. The 827 square-foot, 6,000 pound cake was made on Feb. 19, 1999 in McCall Park.
18. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a cable-stayed concrete bridge. Opened in 1987 the bridge coasts through the clouds at 190 feet above water. Its bright yellow support cables spread from the two center pillars. The structure gives drivers unobstructed view of the water during the 4.1 mile trip over Tampa Bay.
19. Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America because the city has 185 miles of local waterways.
20. Fort Meade is the oldest settlement in Polk County. It dates back to 1849 when a settlement grew up around the United States Cavalry fort during the Seminole Indian Wars.
21. Islamorada is billed as the Sports fishing Capital of the World.
22. Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West was built between 1845 and 1866. Controlled by the Union during the Civil War, the fort was the home base for a successful blockade of Confederate ships that some historians say shortened the conflict by a full year. The fort also was active during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
23. During the 1991 Gulf War the busiest military port in the country was Jacksonville. From this location the military moved more supplies and people than any other port in the country.
24. When first completed in 1989 the Dame Point Bridge became the longest cable-stayed span in the United States, the longest concrete span of its type in the Western Hemisphere, and the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the world.
25. Venice is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World. Collecting prehistoric sharks teeth has been a favorite pastime of visitors and residents of the Venice area for years

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